The Sunburnt Country by Fiona Palmer: Review

February 26, 2013 Reviews 2

cover24014-mediumJonelle Baxter is a young woman in a man’s world – a tough, hardworking motor mechanic from an idyllic country family. But lately things in her perfect life have been changing, and her workshop isn’t the only local business that’s struggling.

Daniel Tyler is new in town, posted from the city to manage the community bank. As he tries to rein in the spiralling debts of Bundara, he uncovers all sorts of personal dramas and challenges. The last thing Jonny and Dan need is an unwanted attraction to each other.

It’s going to take more than a good drop of rain to break the drought and to keep this small but very colourful community thriving.

From the bestselling author of The Road Home comes a moving and heartwarming story about love, change and courage – and the beauty that’s found in the bush, even in the harshest of times.

After I had read a particular book that had left a sour taste in my mouth, I was hoping that something would pop up to cleanse my reading palate.

Having not read a great deal of rural romance, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I started reading it late one evening, reluctantly having to put it down to sleep. So the following morning when my daughter went down for her nap, I picked it back up. Oh, I’m glad I did….

(Cue good book noise)

This book was so good. I could tell from the way Fiona Palmer writes about these people and places that she knows her stuff. It was wonderful to see a book set somewhere other than NSW or Queensland as well.

Now lets get to the real reasons why I loved this book.

I have spent a bit of time in and around rural Australia, and it is full of wonderful people with deeply interesting and colourful lives. They inhabit landscapes that are both life-affirming and heartbreaking. Fiona Palmer doesn’t shy away from the issues that affect rural Australians, and how despite all that happens, the communities will band together to help someone or many who need it because that’s just how it’s done.

A speedway driving, beer drinking mechanic for a heroine? Jonelle came across as a normal girl who just happened to enjoy taking part in traditionally male pursuits. She still embraced being female, which is awesome. I am totally jealous of her car as well.

A fish out of water for a hero? I can definitely relate to Daniel here, having moved from the city to a country town to go to university. I knew no one and nothing about how small towns worked, just as he did. Despite the difficult and often thankless nature of his work, he made a real effort to become part of the community for the short time that he was there.

The romance was strong. Neither Jonelle or Daniel expected it to happen, or when it did, thought it would become permanent. They were a natural couple, the chemistry perfect.

As in a real rural town, the supporting characters in this story are part of what makes it such a wonderful book. My heart broke for some, I felt happy when others found love. It was like visiting with good friends.

I will definitely be seeking out some more of Fiona Palmer’s work on the back of this title. It was just one of those books I didn’t want to finish – just awesome!

My rating: 5 out of 5

Release Date: 27 February 2013

Purchase Links: Amazon – PenguinKobo

Note: I was provided with an advanced reader copy of this book by Penguin Books Australia via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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