#aww2018 · 2018 Reviews · Australian · contemporary fiction · romance · rural fiction · short stories

Book Review: Our Country Christmas by Darry Fraser, Penelope Janu, Fiona Lowe, Eva Scott and Jacquie Underdown

Title: Our Country Christmasour country christmas small

Author: Darry Fraser, Penelope Janu, Fiona Lowe, Eva Scott and Jacquie Underdown

Published: September 24th 2018

Publisher: Harlequin  – Mira AU

Pages: 640

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Australia, Romance, Rural

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 4 stars

A feel-good collection of Australian Christmas stories that will warm your heart with the magic of the holiday season.

The Drover Comes Home for Christmas by Darry Fraser [BRAND NEW STORY]
1889. To save his drought-stricken farm, Shep Miller is droving his remaining cattle in a desperate bid to reach the last sale before Christmas. Widow Jenny Wickley is glad to take in his two children, hoping to help the neighbour she has long admired. But when peculiar swaggies turn up with a touch of magic, a mystery is uncovered that will put all their lives in danger. Will the drover make it home in time?

The Six Rules of Christmas by Penelope Janu [BRAND NEW STORY]
Picking up the reins of her father’s law practice, Ariella Blake has made a place for herself in small-town Warrandale. But when stand-in farrier Jack Adamson blows in for the holidays, with his good looks and infuriating evasiveness, he challenges her to embrace the rules of Christmas. Step by step, will Christmas – and Jack – get under her skin?

Newborn Baby for Christmas by Fiona Lowe
Georgie and Hamish have been best friends forever. So Hamish can’t refuse when Georgie asks him for the Christmas present she’s spent her whole life waiting for – a baby! But seeing a very pregnant Georgie changes everything. Not only is Hamish going to be a father, suddenly he’s falling for the mother of his child…

A Tale of Three Christmases by Eva Scott [BRAND NEW STORY]
Turning her small farm into a B&B seems the perfect way for Lexie to make ends meet after the death of her husband. Not having to face Christmas alone is a bonus. But when attractive businessman Geoff arrives, everything she thought she needed changes. Can strangers from different worlds find lasting love? Or does fate have surprising plans?

The Christmas Wish by Jacquie Underdown [BRAND NEW STORY]
Returning home, schoolteacher Brielle hopes a quiet Christmas will quash the ever-present feeling that she no longer belongs anywhere. For single dad Luke, romance is off the agenda – no matter how appealing his one-time antagonist Brielle has become. It’s not only his heart that’s at risk – it’s that of his young daughter too. But after a Christmas wish is cast, the spirit of Christmas conspires to create some holiday magic.

Review:

Our Country Christmas is a 2018 Harlequin Mira AU publication, which I recently enjoyed over the Christmas and Boxing Day break. Our Country Christmas is a jovial collection of five different festive infused stories, rich in Australian bush flavour. This stunning compilation gathers some of the best and leading Australian women writers in the field of romance. Expect your heart to skip a few beats while reading this endearing selection of stories.

The Drover Comes Home for Christmas by Darry Fraser.

This story represents the only historical romance within the collection. Set in the late 1800s, it revolves around a struggling drover, his two children, a widower and some swaggies. With not only romance on the cards, this is a good old fashioned story of magic and mystery. The Drover Comes Home for Christmas, written by Australian historical fiction novelist Darry Fraser, delivered a cracking start to a wonderful collection. It was a personal highlight for me to return to the work of Darry Fraser, an author I admire, in a short story format.

The Six Rules of Christmas by Penelope Janu.

Set in the small town of Warrandale, this is a genuine and heartfelt story of a farrier, named Jack and his potential love interest, Ariella Blake, who has just taken over her father’s law practice. Jack epitomises the hero role, he is completely swoonworthy! The crux of the story revolves around Jack’s challenge to Ariella to embrace ‘the six rules of Christmas’. Following this journey is just so engaging and it reminded me why I love the writing of Penelope Janu.

Newborn Baby For Christmas by Fiona Lowe

If you have weakness for best friends to lovers romance stories, Newborn Baby for Christmas will definitely appeal. When Georgie asks her best friend Hamish for the one gift she truly longs for, a baby of her own, it is a tough call that delivers plenty of emotional turmoil. Feelings begin to surface for both Hamish and Georgie, feelings they have tried so hard to keep buried deep within their hearts as their baby grows. Can these friends unite as they hurdle towards impending parenthood? Fiona Lowe is an author I am familiar with, I have enjoyed two previous full length family saga books by this talented writer. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the conflicting emotions, as well as the will they/won’t they aspect of this tale, which also offers a great side focus on the pull of motherhood.

A Tale of Three Christmases by Eva Scott

A short but very sweet tale of Lexie, a widower, who turns her small farm into a new business venture, a country stay B & B. Love comes calling for Lexie in the form of a handsome businessman Geoff. Although this hero and heroine appear poles apart, love makes its presence known, as does fate for this couple. A Tale of Three Christmases marks my introduction to the work of Australian writer Eva Scott. However, based on my enjoyment of this tale, I am sure this is just the start of my reading relationship with Eva Scott.

The Christmas Wish by Jacquie Underdown

The final and my personal favourite of the collection, The Christmas Wish, centres on main protagonist Brielle, a schoolteacher with a habit of turning up late. With no clear direction and no sense of belonging, Brielle has drifted through life. When Brielle is given a teaching post based at her old primary school in the bush, she is reminded of what counts in life. It takes a single dad, who is the brother of her best friend, Luke, to get this lost young woman’s heart beating again. A truly beautiful tale of love, friendship, community and of course the true Christmas spirit, The Christmas Wish will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. I just love Jacquie Underdown’s tone and I will be making an effort to seek out more of her work in the coming new year.

If you enjoy and like to support the work of our talented crop of Australian women writers in the field of rural romance, add Our Country Christmas to your list today. I am confident you will not be disappointed, only elated!

Our Country Christmas was published on 24th September 2018 by Harlequin –  Mira AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the authors of Our Country Christmasvisit:

Darry Fraser

Penelope Janu

Fiona Lowe

Eva Scott

Jacquie Underdown

Our Country Christmas is book #153 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge

 

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Our Country Christmas by Darry Fraser, Penelope Janu, Fiona Lowe, Eva Scott and Jacquie Underdown

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