Title: Fool Me Once
Author: Karly Lane
Published: April 28th 2020
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Rural, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Farmer Georgie Henderson manages a cattle property in the New England region of New South Wales, but her dream has always been to buy back her family farm, Tamban.
When an unlikely meeting with Michael Delacourt at a rowdy B&S Ball sends them on a whirlwind romance, Georgie can’t believe it’s possible for life to be this good. For the first time ever, her dream of buying back Tamban takes a backseat to her happiness.
But her world shatters when she discovers the shocking secret Michael has been trying to keep from her.
Can Michael convince her they still have a future? And after having her heart so thoroughly broken, can Georgie ever trust anyone again?
Karly Lane first penned a version of Fool Me Once when she began writing books, some ten years ago now. Fool Me Once was put to one side and it has now been revived, thanks to some reworking and editing. A story of love, loss, endurance, determination and land entitlement, Fool Me Once is a relayed with plenty of intuition, along with compassionate understanding.
Fool Me Once introduces hardworking farmer Georgie Henderson. Georgie manages a cattle property, which is located in the New England area of New South Wales. While Georgie toils on the land for her employer, she longs to reclaim her family’s farming property. This is only a dream for Georgie. Things change for Georgie when she attends a local B & S ball. There she meets Michael Delacourt. It is love at first sight for these two and a passionate affair ensues, followed by a swift marriage proposal. Georgie’s new love helps her to forget the plans she made to buy back her family home. However, Georgie’s life is shattered when she discovers that her new love is carrying a dark secret that strikes at the very heart of the pain she feels about losing her family home. What follows is an emotional road, where Lane’s leads must to learn to trust again and accept mistakes from the past, in order to rebuild their lives.
Fool Me Once is a story born from the author’s treasured memories of the dearly loved farm owned by her family. Karly Lane recently came to the tough realisation that although she wanted to buy back the farm inhabited by her grandparents, the lingering memories of her grandparents that she desperately wanted to recapture were no longer there. Lane’s return visit to this special location allowed her to see that the farm had changed, it wasn’t the same and she now needed to set this dream free. Memories can be so affecting and powerful, but often we need to summon the courage to say goodbye and move on with our lives. I think this is a heartfelt approach to a novel and I admired Lane’s ability to channel her own personal feelings into the creation of her latest novel.
Fool Me Once is a held together by the strength of Georgie Henderson, Lane’s chosen heroine of her new novel. Georgie immediately struck me as durable, determined, resilient and enterprising. Although I would say Georgie is a strong character, she still lets her guard down and at times Lane allows us to see her vulnerabilities. Georgie’s plans and dreams of reclaiming her family farm remain firm throughout the novel, despite some distractions. I admired Georgie’s resolve. When the male love interest of the story enters things begin to look up for Georgie and some changes take place in her life. However, in true rural romance style the honeymoon moments do not last long, the peace is shattered and there are problems to overcome.
In the front of Karly Lane’s mind in her approach to her novels is the rich focus on farming life. Lane knows of the strains placed on farmers to support our country. She also knows of the pressures and conditions they must deal with day in day out, especially with the impact of drought. Bushfires earlier this year have also brought to the forefront additional stresses placed on the rural farming community. These are incredibly trying times, which Lane addresses very well within Fool Me Once. The opportunity to see this through the eyes of a female farm manager was also enlightening. My heart goes out to all the farmers like Georgie out there, who so deserve our thanks. Lane presents issues of unrelenting drought, economic pressures, shortages in the industry and the influence of big corporations encroaching on local farming properties in their fight to stay afloat. It is both eye opening and devastating.
An additional focus on finding love in the country, the past, family memories, legacies, personal crisis, financial pressure, suicide, gender inequality in farming and forward thinking farming practices also play a part in Fool Me Once. Lane touches on these issues with first hand credibility. Lane’s passion for helping her readers to better understand the everyday predicaments faced by our rural community is very clear. It definitely kept me fully engaged in this story.
Fool Me Once sits firmly in the rural romance category and I enjoyed surrendering myself to the New England community for a couple of evenings. A pleasing end is reached by the close of Fool Me Once that will be sure to warm the hearts of fans of Lane’s books and readers who love the rural romance genre.
Fool Me Once by Karly Lane was published on April 28th 2020 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Fool Me Once, Karly Lane, visit here.
*I wish to thank Allen & Unwin for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Fool Me Once is book #60 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge