Title: The Wrong Callahan
Author: Karly Lane
Published: November 28th 2018
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Rural
Rating: 4.5 stars
THE CALLAHANS OF STRINGYBARK CREEK – Book 1
It had been two long years since Lincoln Callahan had stood in front of the gates to Stringybark Creek. He was in the army then – a lifetime ago. Linc had always been the unsettled Callahan, looking for danger, the one who couldn’t wait to leave the family farm.
Linc’s little brother, Griffin, was the dependable son, the one who stayed at home, the one who did the right things. And, now, the one who has feelings for rebellious city girl, Cash Sullivan.
When Linc locks eyes with Cash at a family dinner, their swift attraction floors him. But Cash is his brother’s girlfriend … what is he thinking?
As Linc, Griff and Cash form an uneasy triangle, each of them have personal demons to face before they can open their hearts.
So begins a highly anticipated new trilogy from one of Australia’s top notch rural romance storytellers, Karly Lane. The Wrong Callahan marks the beginning of a brand new contemporary themed romance series set in the arid heartland region of the New South Wales Riverina, in close proximity to Rankin Springs. Stringybark Creek is the centre of attention in Karly Lane’s latest release and it has been the home to the Callahan family for over five generations. The Callahans are firmly rooted in Stringybark, they are a tight knit clan, but when matters of the heart get in the way, the Callahan clan are sent to breaking point.
At the front and centre of The Wrong Callahan, the twelfth novel from rural romance extraordinaire Karly Lane, is Lincoln Callahan. When the story begins, Linc is returning to his family home after more than two years away. Linc’s career in the army has taken him far away from Stringybark Creek in rural New South Wales, to the other side of the world in Afghanistan. Linc is the one Callahan child that has been unable to settle down. Now Linc feels he owes it to his struggling family to return home to the farm. On the other hand, younger brother Griff is trustworthy and kind hearted . Griff chose to stay put and support the family farm, even though it has been struggle for the Callahans. Griff has feelings for the new girl in town Cash and they have been slowly developing a low key relationship. When Linc comes on the scene all this changes. There is an instant attraction between Cash and Linc. Cash initially tries to resist the urge to indulge in any kind of romantic relationship with Linc, as she just has a feeling that he is wrong for her. Then there is the added complication of Griff and his feelings for Cash. This is culminates into a complicated love triangle. The Wrong Callahan examines love, honour, commitment, trust, family and the emotional baggage we all bear.
Just in time for Christmas Karly Lane returns with another winning read. Not only has Karly Lane blessed us with a book that would make the perfect Christmas gift for any booklover, she has also released a novel that forms part of a new addictive series. Lane’s latest book introduces the reader to the Callahans. With patriarch Bob at the helm, along with his dear wife Lavinia and their offspring, it was a true pleasure to become acquainted with this genuine Aussie family, who define the meaning ‘Aussie battler’.
As I have witnessed in many of Karly Lane novels, her characterisation is always of a high standard. It was great to see very different occupation for the leading lady of the story, Cash. It was added extra to learn more about the health, wellness, beauty and massage, via Cash’s career. The pampering and work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure bridal parties are ready for their big day is explored between the pages of The Wrong Callahan. There are hints of Cash’s troubled upbringing and I did feel like I wanted a little more on this line of the story, it was an interesting one. In Lincoln Callahan, we receive a solid insight into the world of our returned soldiers. I felt this story thread was well researched and thoughtful. Lane works hard to ensure each and every member of the Callahan family are outlined to perfection. The entire Callahan family feel so very real and genuine. It is almost like Lane has taken a typical real life farming family and modelled the Callahans on this firsthand knowledge. I have a great deal of admiration for Lane and her inherent ability to inject so much life into her character set.
Family politics form a significant part of this novel. There is plenty of tension that arrives for the Callahan family early on in the novel, stemming from the sibling rivalry issues between Lincoln and his younger brother Griffin. Immediately we learn of the sense of resentment that surrounds these two brothers. Griffin seems to have the weight of the struggling family farm on his shoulders, as he is the dependable one, determined to do the right thing by his hardworking parents. Meanwhile, you can pick up on Griff’s frustration and feelings of jealousy immediately. As Lincoln was able to leave the family farm and forge an exciting career abroad in the army, Griff feels left behind. Adding further problems to the Callahans is the pressure of the upcoming big wedding of daughter Hadley, which brings Linc back to Stringybark. Lane handles this aspect of her novel incredibly well and there are some fantastic interactions, along with scenes that are thick with tension, which accompanies some great dialogue.
Romance is the order of the day in The Wrong Callahan. When the book beings we are made aware of the tentative relationship that is beginning to form between Cash, the new girl in town and Griff Callahan. Cash is aware that Griff is the type of guy she should fall in love with. Griff is dependable, loyal and sweet, but there is no spark between the two. When Linc arrives on the scene things quickly spiral out of control. Cash turns her attentions to the wrong Callahan brother. Cash knows in her heart that Linc is bad news, but she cannot help but fall head over heels for him. Linc feels the same way about Cash, but he knows he would betray his brother and break his heart if he were to engage in a relationship with Cash. I just adored this relationship dynamic, Lane really sinks her teeth into this complicated love triangle, highlighting the shifting emotions that swirl around the characters. There are plenty of roadblocks that stand in the way of this relationship dynamic. Lane also turns up the heat in the love stakes, Linc and Cash sizzle, which is virtually from the very moment they lock eyes. But, as we know with all rural romance novels, the path to love is never an easy one. There is a powerful scene composed beautifully by Lane that explores the confrontation and realisation of this complicated love triangle. It is both heartbreaking and addictive following this love story, but I guarantee readers will be pleased with the eventual resolution. Without spoiling matters too much, I hope to see a happy ever after for one of the main characters of the story who missed out. I also hope that Lane explores the history of Stringybark in a future instalment, tracking back to the generations that worked on Callahan land before the present day occupants.
When Karly Lane was made an Australia Day Ambassador in 2017, she was invited to a region close the where The Wrong Callahan is set, the Riverina district in New South Wales. This was a life changing experience for Karly Lane, which has clearly been channelled into her latest novel. The landscape of the region took her breath away and it also encouraged her resolve to a write story that highlights the expansive practices of our farming sector. Karly Lane has made it her priority to make Australian readers aware of the blood, sweat and tears that go into our farming industry. This is demonstrated to full capacity in The Wrong Callahan, through the tireless work of each member of the family. With each scene in the novel, the setting is considered carefully and presented to the highest degree of authenticity. Although The Wrong Callahan is here to entertain rural romance readers, Karly Lane would love the audience to take away a small sense of appreciation of the work our agricultural workers commit to, day in day out. It truly is tremendous and worthy of our attention in this current challenging environment for our Aussie farmers.
It was sad to say goodbye to a family that I seemed to embrace for the whole three hundred plus pages of The Wrong Callahan. However, with a sneak peak in the form of a synopsis of book two of the next chapter of The Callahans of Stringybark Creek, I could think of no better consolation prize! I can’t wait to revisit Stringybark. The Wrong Callahan embodies Karly Lane’s passionate rural voice, reminding us of the value she is to Australian fiction. A must buy for all Aussie readers.
The Wrong Callahan by Karly Lane was published on 28th November 2018 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Wrong Callahan, Karly Lane visit here.
*I wish to thank Allen & Unwin for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
The Wrong Callahan is book #147 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge
Kickstart your holiday reading, just in time for Christmas. Allen and Unwin are kindly offering 1 lucky reader an opportunity to win a copy of The Wrong Callahan, Karly Lane’s latest release. Simply subscribe by email to my blog and leave a comment below on why you love summer to be entered into this great competition!
*Competition open to Australian postal addresses only. Closes 12th December 2018, 11pm (WST).