Book Review

Book Review : Beneath Outback Skies by Alissa Callen.

BeneathOutbackSkiesA captivating rural romance featuring an indomitable young woman determined to save her family farm, and the city-boy who is not all he seems…

Paige Quinn will let nothing and no one distract her from caring for her crippled father, Connor, and fighting for her remote, drought-stricken property, Banora Downs. Least of all a surprise farm-stay guest named Tait Cavanaugh, whose smooth words are as lethal as his movie-star smile.

Except Paige can’t help noticing that, for a city-boy, Tait seems unexpectedly at home on the land. And he does ask a lot of questions…

It doesn’t matter how much he helps out or how much laughter he brings into her life, she soon suspects he is harbouring a big secret – the real reason he has come to Banora Downs…

The first romance books I ever read were written by Australian author Lucy Walker so when I was contacted by Random House Australia to ask if I’d be interested in reading any of the inaugural titles from their new digital-first list Random Romance I jumped at the chance. I chose to read Beneath Outback Skies because of its outback setting, the blurb reminded me a lot of the Lucy Walker stories I’d read as a teen which were often set in the outback.

There was something very nice about reading a book set in hot sunny Australia whilst the snow was falling over the UK, though the drought conditions did make me think about how the grass is always greener! The book is set on a remote property, Banora Downs, part of a small, very rural community. I liked the sense of community within the book, whilst Banora Downs is a way out of the town its happenings are known by everyone in the town – something I can identify with a little.

The main thing you want from a romance novel is for the romantic leads to be great characters, and for you to really believe in the relationship. Beneath Outback Skies really doesn’t disappoint, whilst this book doesn’t fall into the insta-love trope that many romances use there is a definite sizzle from the first time Paige and Tait meet. I really liked the way their relationship evolved over the course of the book, it felt natural and very believable.

I was a little concerned when it became clear that part of the plot hinged on a secret that Tait was keeping from Paige, I’ve read books where this isn’t handled well – I normally end up a bit of a nervous wreck by the end of the book. I didn’t need to have worried though, it’s handled really well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s one of the better romances I’ve read in the last couple of years. I shall definitely be keeping an eye on the other books brought out on the Random Romance list.

Beneath Outback Skies is published by Random Romance from 1st February 2013. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book via NetGalley.com all of the opinions expressed are my own.

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