Title: Her Outback Surprise (Prickle Creek #2)
Author: Annie Seaton
Published: October 9th 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Australian, Rural, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Angie Edmonds is content with life in her small town. Being alone doesn’t bother her. Really. Until Liam Smythe, the man who broke her heart, shows up at her vet clinic with an injured puppy. Unfortunately, he’s just as irresistible as she remembers. In an attempt to prove to him that she’s moved on, somehow a little white lie begins…
When Liam returns to help run the family farm, his enjoyment of the slow life in Spring Downs surprises him. After all, he’s used to the thrill of chasing the next big story. Running into the girl he’s never been able to forget is unexpected, and he’s shocked to learn she’s getting married–to someone who’s not him. She’s off-limits, but Liam can’t stop thinking about the gorgeous vet and what could have been. But convincing her he’s changed will be harder than finding a needle in a haystack.
Annie Seaton’s second instalment, Her Outback Surprise in the charming Australian rural romance series, Prickle Creek, is a charming second chance love story. It takes the reader from the heart of London, through to the outback, with two attractive lead characters, vet Angie Edmonds and journalist come farm manager, Liam Smythe.
The hooking prologue of Her Outback Surprise begins with the sad demise of a two year relationship between an Australian couple that met in London. When Angie’s work visa in the UK runs out, it leaves her with no option but to return to Australia, leaving behind her boyfriend, Liam. Career driven journalist Liam is an Aussie expat and decides to stay put in London. Liam wishes to continue building his career as a budding journalist, rather than follow girlfriend Angie back to Australia. It is a decision that comes back to haunt the couple a year later, in the most unexpected way. Back in Australia, Angie has recently purchased a local veterinary practice of her own, in a small country town. Meanwhile, Liam has had to return back home to Australia at his beloved gran’s request. Liam’s grandparents manage the family farm, Spring Downs and Liam’s grandfather’s ailing health cannot keep up with the demands of running a property full time. Liam decides to take his time at Spring Downs as a working holiday, vowing to return to his career in journalism once the family farm is back on track. A chance but very coincidental encounter at the local vets, when Liam rescues an abandoned puppy, results in a reunion between the former lovers. There is no denying there is still a spark between this former couple but a series of misunderstandings threatens to derail Angie and Liam’s chances of a renewed relationship.
Although I am yet to read the first book in the Prickle Creek series, which revolves around four cousins who are recalled to their grandparent’s outback property, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Her Outback Surprise. I am a big fan of Annie Seaton’s work after reading The Porter Sisters series recently. I was more than keen to be introduced to a new outback series from an author I have come to appreciate. Her Outback Surprise was a delight from start to finish, offering the reader a great combination of a vivid outback setting, a well written storyline, a complicated pathway to a happy ever after romance and two completely agreeable lead characters.
The prologue, set in London, where we witness the upsetting disintegration of a two year relationship between two Aussie expats, quickly worked to draw me into Her Outback Surprise. The action soon moves forward a year later and to a very different location, the outback of Australia. We learn Liam, the male lead of Her Outback Surprise, has had to put his career as a journalist in London on hold to attend to some pressing family matters. It was a great opener, setting the scene perfectly.
What I immediately appreciated about the narrative of Her Outback Surprise was Seaton’s commitment to airing the viewpoints of both leads, Angie and Liam. It gives the reader a well rounded sense of the inner thoughts and feelings of each protagonist. I also liked how Seaton chose to include flashbacks within the current day storyline, offering an explanation to happened to this couple in the UK. This aspect of the narrative provides the reader with a solid background as to how the past has shaped the current state of this couple’s relationship.
Seaton’s leads, Angie and Liam, are both likeable and have some interesting personality traits. They are also guarded about delving into a relationship again, for different reasons. I liked the individual journey Seaton sets both Liam and Angie on. Through the progression of the novel, Liam makes the transition from a high flying career man in London, to an everyday hardworking farmer. Angie’s journey on the other hand is just as interesting. Firstly, Angie takes the plunge and purchases her own vet practice. Then Angie must make the adjustment from city to country living. Finally, for a young woman who sadly hasn’t has a place to call home, or a sense of family to embrace her, Angie finds what she needs both professionally and personally in her move to the outback. The character growth these two leads go through makes for an endearing and interesting read. Angie and Liam are also supported along the way by a handful of memorable and integral secondary characters, These include Liam’s cousin Lucy, who extends the hand of friendship to Angie, through to Liam’s adopted puppy Willow, who helps bring this couple together again.
The romance element in Her Outback Surprise obviously takes centre stage. Readers will find this romance leans more on the sweet side, rather than a hot and heavy style relationship. Angie and Liam’s pathway to love again is filled with a past history, misunderstandings, lack of communication and individual fears of rejection. A few times I did feel myself wishing these two to just talk face to face in an honest manner to resolve their issues and find future happiness! However, the pathway we tread with these two leads is well worth the journey and the promise of a possible second chance happy ever after is what encouraged me to stay with this novel until the end.
For international readers of our great Aussie rural fiction novels, such as Her Outback Surprise, will be pleased to find an added extra to this novel. Located at the back of this novel is a glossary of terms, which explains some of the words and expressions that are distinctly Australian and therefore will be unfamiliar to non Australian readers. What a great idea!
Her Outback Surprise is the perfect rural escape novel, for fans of both rural fiction and romance novels. I enjoyed my time at Prickle Creek, so I will be making the effort to catch up on the first book in this fine series, Her Outback Cowboy, which follows Liam cousin’s Lucy’s story. I will also be on the lookout for future additions to Annie Seaton’s appealing series.
To learn more about the author of Her Outback Surprise by Annie Seaton, visit here.