Review: Take Me Home by Karly Lane


Title: Take Me Home

Author: Karly Lane

Published: 4th May 2021, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read May 2021 courtesy Allen & Unwin

+++++++

My Thoughts:

Karly Lane travels from the heat and dust of rural Australia to the cool, green hills of Scotland in her newest novel, Take Me Home.

When Elspeth Kinnaird first hears her grandmother talking to her in the bathroom of Jessup’s Creek supermarket she thinks she must be going crazy given her beloved Gran died more than a week earlier. Iona may have passed on but she hasn’t quite yet let go. She wants her granddaughter to take her home to Scotland, and she’s left Elle the money in her will to do it. Despite her parents objections, Elle is determined to fulfil her Gran’s wishes to spread her ashes on the grounds of the family ancestral castle.

Touring Scotland with Elle, and her Gran, is a delight, it’s a country I’d love to visit and I enjoyed the vicarious experience of walking Edinburgh’s cobbled streets, exploring castle ruins, and visiting the locations used in television’s, Outlander. Lane’s rich descriptions of the country, and tidbits of history, are a wonderful element of the story.

A major theme of the novel is self-discovery. While Elles’s parents and three siblings are all high achievers, Elle has always been drawn to artistic pursuits. Introducing herself to what remains of her Gran’s family in Portsoy, Elle is welcomed with open arms and it’s among her cousins, who are artistic and red-haired like her, that Elle finds the confidence to make decisions about her future.

The story also includes a thread of mystery as Elle endeavours to learn why Iona emigrated to Australia at fifteen and had so little contact with her siblings. The only one with answers seems to be Iona’s older sister, but she is suffering from dementia.

Romance is the last thing on Elle’s mind until she meets lawyer turned farmer Stuart Buchannan in her search for Stormeil Castle on the Isle of Skye, where her grandmother wants her ashes to be scattered. I like that the attraction flares into a passionate fling between the two, but with Elle due to return to Australia, she can’t see a way for their relationship to move forward.

Take Me Home is a delight to read, I loved the change of scenery while still enjoying Karly Lane’s wonderful, familiar storytelling.

+++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin

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Review: Something Like This by Karly Lane


Title: Something Like This

Author: Karly Lane

Published: 1st December 2020, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read December 2020 courtesy Allen & Unwin

++++++

My Thoughts:

Despite the devastating loss of her husband, with hard work and the fortuitous inheritance of her grandparents farm, Tilly Hollis is now on the verge of fulfilling their shared dream to launch an equine therapy program for troubled teens. With just a few more weeks of work at a local cafe, she will finally have the funds to build the last of the infrastructure that will allow her to launch Healing Hooves Horse Therapy.

In need of solitude and a fresh start, retired army soldier and handyman Jason Weaver plans to renovate the old farmhouse he just purchased on the outskirts of Ben Tirran, and then move on. He is not expecting to have his head turned by a waitress in a small country town, and it surprises them both when a mutual attraction develops.

Something Like This from bestselling Australian author, Karly Lane, is a heartwarming rural romance set in the the New England highlands.

Tilly and Jason are well-realised, appealing characters. Tilly is a strong and resilient woman, particularly for having endured more than her share of tragedy including the loss of her father and brother in separate incidences as a teen, her husband’s untimely death, and most recently her mother’s slow demise from breast cancer. Jason is also no stranger to death, having served in the army he has lost several friends, and is especially haunted by the incident that cost him his lower leg. Still struggling with his past, falling for Tilly encourages him to look to the future.

I thought the relationship between the two characters was very well-handled, Lane allows them both time to adjust to their attraction to one another, and doesn’t rush the inevitable. I appreciated the lack of dramatic obstacles usually employed to keep a couple apart, which served to make this romance more realistic and relatable.

They say some people are horsey people, while others are not, but even non-horsey people will be moved by the touching goals of Tilly’s equine therapy program, and the history of the Guy Fawkes Heritage Horses Tilly uses at her farm. Guy Fawkes Heritage horses (previously referred to as wild Brumbies), found in the Guy Fawkes River National Park in north eastern NSW, were once subject to regular culls to protect the environment, but are now considered to be of significant historical, military and cultural value. The population of this spirited breed is now managed with a rehoming project, and in Something Like This, Tilly combines her therapy program with the need to acclimatise these horses to humans.

An engaging story, set at a gentle pace, told with genuine warmth for her characters and setting, Something Like This is a lovely and eminently satisfying read.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$29.99

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia

Also by Karly Lane reviewed at Book’d Out

Review: Fool Me Once by Karly Lane

Title: Fool Me Once

Author: Karly Lane

Published: April 28th 2020, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read May 2020 courtesy Allen & Unwin

++++++

My Thoughts:

When cattle farm manager Georgie Henderson meets businessman Michael Delacourt at a B&S ball, she throws caution to the wind and accepts his invitation to spend the night. Barely a month later they are married during a holiday in Hawaii, but Georgie’s trust in her new husband is shattered just days later when she learns of his connection to the loss of her family’s farm, and her father’s subsequent suicide.

A story about loss, love, trust, and forgiveness, the tumultuous relationship between Georgie and Michael takes centre stage in Fool Me Once. Love-at-first-sight sours when Georgie believes Michael has lied to her, and refuses to let him to explain. Michael isn’t willing to give up on their marriage though, and waits patiently for his chance to convince her that what they feel for each other is true. I liked the whirlwind romance between the couple, and though a dramatic separation is predictable, their eventual reunion is satisfying.

Set in the New England region of NSW, I’m always impressed by the way Lane integrates the realities of farming life into her stories. In Fool Me Once she raises the issues of ‘corporate farming’ -where large company’s buy family farms, sometimes using underhand tactics in order to pressure a reluctant farmer to sell; and the increasing need for farmer’s to embrace technology and diversify in order to increase their operational incomes.

With it’s appealing characters, easy pace and happy ending, I found Fool Me Once to be another engaging and satisfying rural romance novel from bestselling author, Karly Lane.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$29.99

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

 

Also by Karly Lane reviewed at Book’d Out 

 

Review: Return to Stringybark Creek by Karly Lane

Title: Return to Stringybark Creek {The Callahans of Stringybark Creek #3}

Author: Karly Lane

Published: April 1st 2020, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read April 2020, courtesy Allen & Unwin

+++++++

My Thoughts:

The third book in The Callahans of Stringybark Creek trilogy by Karly Lane, is aptly named Return to Stringybark Creek and features the youngest Callahan sibling, foreign correspondent, Hadley Callahan.

When Hadley’s short marriage to on-air celebrity anchor Mitch Samuals implodes, she retreats to the family farm in Stringybark Creek to avoid the scrutiny of the media. She is glad to be home, even if she’s nervous about telling her parents the real reason for her impending divorce, but the last thing she expects is to fall in love with the boy next door.

Return to Stringybark Creek is, at its heart, a rural romance novel so it’s the relationship between Hadley and neighbour, Ollie Dawson, that takes centre stage. Ollie has been in love with Hadley since they were teenagers, while Hadley, whose focus has always been on her career, has never considered Ollie in a romantic light. I enjoyed their developing romance, with the friends to lovers trope being my favourite.

As always, the author’s personal experience of rural life lends an authenticity to her characters and setting. She touches on circumstances that challenge farmers such as injury, farm management, and the increasing need for diversification.

Arguably however, the most significant facet of the novel is the attention Lane brings to the issues of rural mental health, particularly among farmers. When a contemporary of Ollie’s suicides, he grows determined to raise awareness of the issue and create change within a culture that has difficulty admitting to struggles with mental health. The entire fictional community becomes involved in the effort, with Lane drawing inspiration from the real-life Naked Farmer campaign.

It’s not necessary to have read The Wrong Callahan (featuring Lincoln Callahan and Cash Sullivan) , or Mr. Right Now (featuring Griffin Callahan and Olivia Dawson) to enjoy this novel as the story stands well on its own. Told with humour and heart, Return to Stringybark Creek is an engaging read.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Also by Karly Lane reviewed at Book’d Out