Review copy provided by publisher
Allen & Unwin, 21st November 2012
Synopsis- Bridie Farrell and Shaun Broderick come from opposite sides of the tracks. Unlike Bridie’s family, who are perennial strugglers, the Brodericks are the wealthy owners of one of the most prestigious properties in the district. Still, all is not well in either family. Bridie’s father is doing time in prison and her younger brother has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Shaun has problems of a different kind, with his dictatorial father not allowing him to take his own direction in life. Shaun’s parents are dismayed when he eschews the charms of the district’s most eligible young women and falls in love with Bridie instead, and they make their feelings clear not just to their son but to Bridie as well. However, parental opposition is just the first of many troubles that Bridie will face.
Review- Karly Lane is a very talented Australian author drawing on her love of the land she creates complex, engaging characters against a backdrop of intrigue, conflict and rural communities.
Bridie Farrell has one goal in life- to get out of Tooncanny. For years she has set her hopes on leaving, getting far away from the small town that holds too many bad memories and a reputation she feels suffocated by. In her mid 20’s, Bridie works as a bartender at the local pub and is the primary caregiver of her teenage brother Luke whose behaviour is spiralling out of control. She hopes to keep him on the right track so he doesn’t wind up in gaol, like their father.
Shaun Broderick comes from a wealthy rural family and has dreamed of running his family’s farm, Jinjulu since he was a kid. Unfortunately, his father had other plans and never had faith in Shaun’s ability to take on such a huge responsibility. They have a relationship characterised by tension and Shaun is constantly critisized by his father. Even after escaping the clutches of his dysfunctional family for seven years, working and studying, he realises nothing has changed since his return twelve months prior. The only thing that remains the same is his attraction to Bridie, the girl he fell for 7 years ago before his family fell apart.
Shaun is such a likeable hero, he’s gentle-natured and open to experiences and he has had a hell of a time growing up with his overbearing father. When he sets his sights on Bridie again he attempts to ask her out. Bridie, who after many years of being seen as a no-good Farrell, is suspicious of his advances. Slowly, as they connect through their family difficulties, their hopes and their dreams, they become closer and take the tentative steps into a relationship. Only, Bridie still makes it clear she has no intention of sticking around Tooncanny once her brother heads off to the army. She hopes to finally put herself first and find out what she wants to do with her life. Her relationship with Shaun challenges her plans and she struggles to make a decision.
What I love about Bridie’s Choice is the slow unravelling of the characters, how they develop and grow and interact with one another. There’s such genuinity to Lane’s characters and everything about them is believable. She’s also not quick to wrap up the romance with a HEA (which is sometimes frustrating!) and this also adds to the authenticity of the character and relationship growth.
Something that I find I experience with each of Karly Lane’s rural novels is her ability to draw on the emotions of the reader and to create natural tension via the characters and dialogue. That very first bar fight scene at the beginning of the book had me diving my nose deeper into the book and noting my tense stomach with anticipation of what would happen next. I also did get a little teary at the end and I really think the emotional depth she creates in her characters, which I experienced as a reader is a real credit to Lane’s writing talent.
Karly Lane is certainly setting her mark in the rural lit/ romance genre and I can see myself collecting her stories and wanting to read them again. Having discovered Karly also writes romantic suspense under the pseudonym Karlene Blakemore-Mowle with various titles self-published and independently published, I intend to check these out!
Bridie’s Choice can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers
Stop back by tomorrow for a quick Q&A with the Karly Lane!
This book was read as part of the AWW2012 challenge: