Title: Love Song
Author: Sasha Wasley
Published: June 4th 2019
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Rural, Romance
Rating: 4.5 stars
The heart-warming new rural romance novel from the acclaimed author of Dear Banjo and True Blue.
There was something about Charlie. Something about the way he questioned and teased her, brought her outside of herself … the way he’d made her crash headlong into love just by singing to her.
At age seventeen, Beth Paterson was determined to study medicine at university, despite the heartache of losing her mother. Tutoring Charlie Campbell worked well with her plan – but falling in love with him sure didn’t, and neither did getting her heart broken when he abruptly left town.
Now Charlie is a big star on the alternative rock scene, while Beth is a respected doctor in her hometown. When Charlie comes back to fight for the tiny community where he was raised, neither one of them can ignore the resurgence of wild attraction they once shared.
Beth swore no man would ever hurt her again – least of all this man. But some love songs can never be forgotten, especially when they were written for you …
From the author of Dear Banjo comes a book to make your heart sing and your spirits soar.
Love Song, the third issue in the Daughters of the Outback series, comes to a close with the oldest Paterson sister Beth’s story. It is a bittersweet moment, as I have genuinely enjoyed overseeing the lives of these three sisters. Love Song is a story of complications, misunderstandings, trust, loss, faith, support and love. It is a soulful tale that will attract the attention of fans old and new to this brilliant outback based series.
Beth, the eldest sister in the Paterson family has appeared off and on in the previous two books. I didn’t go into Beth’s character completely blind, which was nice. There was a sense of familiarity about Beth and I felt comfortable as I settled into her shoes for the duration of Love Song. I was able to identify with Beth, being the eldest child in my family too. As a local GP dedicated to improving the health of the people in her community, Beth seems to have the world on her shoulders. She is also deeply passionate about her job, she wants the very best health outcomes for her region and this does come at a cost. Wasley does an excellent job of highlighting how in helping others with their health issues, medical practitioners can often neglect their own health and wellbeing. In Beth’s case, her mother’s family history of cancer plays heavily on her mind. I think Sasha did a great job with this aspect of the story, highlighting the pressures on remote area medical staff to keep their own health in check due and the general strain on health resources in isolated areas.
Love Song tracks nicely between the past and present, especially in dealing with the romance side of things, which is a strong feature of this novel. I enjoyed the flashbacks to Beth’s past as a high school student and her unfolding big romance with Charlie, the male lead of this story. By taking a trip back to the past, the reader is able to understand the feelings, misgivings, anxieties, reservations and history that plagues both Charlie and Beth. This must have been one life defining romance, as it haunts these poor two souls for a good part of their adult lives. Circumstances in the present thrust Beth and Charlie back together with some interesting will they/won’t they moments. Fans of rural romance fiction will definitely enjoy this aspect of the story.
There are some pertinent issues that underpin Love Song and I applaud Sasha Wasley for her approach to these hard hitting themes. There is a great deal of strength to the writing in all these areas. The level of research, the dedication to the indigenous population to getting these issues to the floor and the solid characterisation that accompanies these issues is to be commended. Local mining operations, land rights, displacement, protected indigenous land reservations, indigenous culture, health care issues and respect towards the indigenous and much more is covered within the frame of Love Song. The ‘Acknowledgements’ section of the book does give the reader a good indication of the dedication Wasley has shown to her craft in these areas.
As always, the rural setting featured in Love Song, situated in WA’s sparking north, shines thanks to Wasley’s vivid prose. The warmth of this patch of Australia which emanates from the pages of the book was a welcome experience. The descriptions of the local area provides the reader with a good understanding of the positives, as well as the negatives, of living in this region of our country. Isolation can work in both good and bad ways, as we witness during a number of sequences in the novel. However, the breathtaking beauty and the freedom of living in such a remote part of our nation also draws plenty of appeal.
So back to Beth and her sisters. It was definitely a very welcome experience to follow Beth on her journey to reconciling the past with the present, in order to build a happier future. It was also a delight to catch up with the other two sisters in the series, during their brief appearances in Love Song, it gave me a nice sense of closure to a series that I will miss.
I’m looking forward to what the future holds for Sasha Wasley now we have said our goodbyes to the Paterson sisters. With a screen version of this popular series to oversee, as well as her paranormal fiction writing, there are exciting times ahead for this talented Aussie storyteller!
Love Song by Sasha Wasley was published on 4th June 2019 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Love Song, Sasha Wasley, visit here.
*I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Love Song is book #82 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge