Welcome to a weekly post, Throwback Thursday. This weekly book review post is a way to share some old favourites, books that were published over a year ago and most importantly those books that have been languishing on the to be read pile for far too long!
When a smooth–talking, sophisticated city girl comes striding into town on her stiletto heels, he’s the last person who wants to notice…
When Jenna McLean gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town, she holds no illusions of meeting the man of her dreams. A no–nonsense magazine editor, Jenna doesn’t believe in leaving love to chance, which is why she’s developed Marriage Material – a fool–proof framework for husband hunting. Shearers and farmhands need not apply.
Sheep grazier Luke Tanner has met women like Jenna before, and knows not to waste his time. With the drought dragging on and bushfire season around the corner, the last thing he needs is a spoiled city girl like Jenna adding to his problems. He’ll help out with the ball because it’s good for the community, but he won’t dance, he won’t flirt, and he definitely won’t be matched.
It’s been a long dry season, but everyone knows when it rains, it pours.
I am going back to where it all began for a favourite author of mine, Lisa Ireland. After dazzling me with her 2017 release The Shape of Us and blowing me away with The Art of Friendship most recently, I decided it was high time to catch up on Lisa’s debut novel, Breaking the Drought.
Breaking the Drought takes Jenna, a self confessed city girl with a love for stiletto heels to the country as part of a matchmaking ball. She does not intend on finding the love of her life in a place that is in the back of beyond. In fact, she has devised a careful plan, on what is considered ideal ‘marriage material’. No way does a farmer or a sheep shearer fall into this category. That is until Jenna meets country boy through and through, Luke Tanner. However, Luke knows it is best to steer clear of women like Jenna, city girls bring nothing but trouble! But, when these two people from opposite sides of the tracks meet, undeniable sparks fly! While Luke continues to deal with some personal issues, along with drought, bushfire threats and the decline of the community base in which he resides, love plays second fiddle. Or, will Jenna win over this true blue Aussie farmer?
What an absolute delight Breaking the Drought proved to be, for me, it was such a comforting and feel good read. While I love the direction of Lisa Ireland’s latest life lit books (The Shape of Us and The Art of Friendship), it is interesting to see where Lisa Ireland started her writing journey. Breaking the Drought falls into my favourite reading category, Australian rural romance. I couldn’t help but be reminded of an all time favourite rural romance novel of mine, Man Drought, by Rachael Johns, while I was reading this fun novel!
I loved the initial concept of Breaking the Drought, taking a strong heroine out of her comfort zone and placing her in unfamiliar territory. I can never get enough of these city come country girl tales and this one is no exception. Ireland presents her reader with a highly engaging story, complete with some very well rounded characters.
Ireland’s approach to her setting is marvellous. I liked the full representation of the small country community in which the action of the novel plays out. Ireland does a superb job of putting the limelight on the issues at the very core of these small bush based communities. She draws our attention to the impact of drought, the constant dangers of Mother Nature – including bushfires, the downfall of community resources in dwindling towns and the lack of social opportunities for both sexes. Ireland pairs these issues with authentic community members and problems, which are sure to strike a chord with all readers.
There is a fair amount of drama and emotion attached to Breaking the Drought. Ireland throws some curveballs at the reader so we are kept entertained for the duration of the novel. The romance in Breaking the Drought shifted from fun and light, to serious as the past catches up with the leads. I did wonder sometimes that the leads, Jenna and Luke, seemed to bicker so much in the first moments of their possible relationship that perhaps they may have been better off abandoning ship earlier on in the piece! However, the attraction and sizzle is so strong that Ireland chooses not to break their bond! I was pleased with the final status of this couple’s relationship and the significant character growth each displayed in the process.
It is with a happy heart that I very much endorse Lisa Ireland’s debut novel, Breaking the Drought, to fans of the rural romance genre. It is a classic Australian rural fiction title that is well worth your time to seek out!
Breaking the Drought by Lisa Ireland was on 1st July 2014 by Escape Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Breaking the Drought, Lisa Ireland, visit here.
Breaking the Drought is book #54 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge
*Book ‘I’ of the a-z author challenge 2018