I was provided with an advance reader copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I received no financial incentives to review this book.
Published by Random Romance on May 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Rural Romance
Source: the publisher
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An enthralling rural love story. Sometimes you need to give yourself permission to fall in love.
Kree Garrett's younger brother Seth is all the family she has left, so when he goes missing in the Australian outback, she doesn't think twice about leaving her American home to find him. When Seth is rescued Kree vows to find a way to thank the small town of Glenalla. It isn't long before she falls in love with the tight-knit rural community. But is it really the town she's falling for?
Ewan Mackenzie has given up everything for his brother's family, but he can never give enough to assuage his guilt at what happened one dark night, years ago . . . Ewan knows he doesn't deserve a second chance at happiness, but when beautiful, open-hearted Kree stays to fight to save his home town, he finds it hard to keep his distance.
Can Kree and Ewan leave their pasts behind for long enough to find a future together?
The town of Glenalla, first introduced to us in Alissa Callen’s Beneath Outback Skies, is once again the focus of a fantastic rural romance. Down Outback Roads is set in the same world as Beneath Outback Skies, however if you haven’t read the first book, it won’t really be a problem as there are no intertwining storylines involved.
That being said, there is something really lovely and uplifting about reading rural-set romance, especially when they are set in small towns like Glenalla. My mother’s family is from a town in western NSW that reminds me so much of Glenalla, so it is like visiting with family in a way.
So, here are my thoughts on Down Outback Roads:
Kree may be American, but I loved that she wasn’t drawn as a caricature. Her kindness and desire to repay the community was real. I loved seeing her discover the town, its people and the joys of country life. I understand where she’s coming from with the lamingtons too – those are like catnip to me.
Ewan is such an honourable hero – he gives so much of himself and his love for the land & his family is genuine. Sometimes, he could have let up on the self-blame, but having not been in his situation, who am I to know what it would be like for him?
One of my favourite things about Down Outback Roads was the way in which Kree and Ewan’s relationship built. It may have been a slow burn on the surface, but beneath it, the tension and obvious attraction between them was really well done. Sometimes, when couples are denying themselves that romantic attachment, I find myself just saying “Get over it, you’ve got no real reason to stay apart”. Not in the case of Kree and Ewan – I could feel their struggle, and it seemed real to me.
The resolution to the mystery surrounding the past history of Marellen, the property in the story, and the gallery that Kree helps restore was one that I hadn’t been expecting. Alissa Callen has done a wonderful job of crafting this aspect of the story, so that it feels entirely realistic.
The secondary relationship that brews between Tish, Ewan’s sister-in-law, and his best mate Travis is just lovely – it adds its own magic to the story without threatening the main romance for page space.
I love the spirit and friendship of small towns, and Alissa has captured it very nicely in Down Outback Roads.