Review copy provided by publisher/ netgalley
Escape Publishing, August 2013
Synopsis- An action adventure novel set in the Australian jungle where two unlikely people prove just how attractive opposites can be…
It’s pretentious socialite Abigail Mulholland’s worst nightmare when her plane crashes into an ancient Australian wilderness. Things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. As she battles to survive in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful, Abigail finds herself also fighting her unlikely attraction to Mackenzie — another survivor, and a much younger man.
Mackenzie Steel is devastated by his partner’s death in the crash, the only person with whom he shared his painful past. Now, as he confronts his own demons, he finds he has a new battle on his hands: his growing feelings for Abigail, a woman who’s as frustratingly naïve as she is funny.
Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dead man hold the key to their survival?
Review- Lost in Kakadu is Australian author Kendall Talbot’s debut novel with Escape Publishing. This novel defied my expectations at every turn. The synopsis leads the reader to believe that it’s an ‘action adventure novel’- but it’s not. It also indicates it’s a romance… and for most of the book, it’s not really. I actually had to go back and read the synopsis and a few reviews when I was 20% in just to remind myself this was a romance title. I hadn’t expected the heroine to already be married. I hadn’t expected the hero to be bisexual. And I certainly hadn’t expected the gritty, dark circumstances to which Abigail and Mackenzie are thrown together.
But somehow it all worked. The author skilfully managed to endear me to a heroine who I initially despised. At the outset, Abigail Mulholland is a selfish, immature woman whom I could not relate to at all. She behaved in a way I’d have expected of her sixteen year old daughter but not that of a 39 year old woman. I was surprised after the plane crash when she actually didn’t even think about her daughter until Mackenzie mentioned her. I couldn’t help but think she was a terrible, selfish mother!
Fortunately, Lost in Kakadu is a character-driven novel and there’s a remarkable arc of growth in Abi and Mackenzie. I was glad the story pushed forward from the first week following the crash until a couple of months later as they continue to survive in the wilderness. This allows the romantic development to be believable following a period of grief over the loss of their loved ones. I was empathetic toward Mackenzie and his difficult childhood and even more challenging adolescence. He evolved from a man who had depended on his ex-partner to a man that exuberated masculinity, sensitivity and perseverance. While the start of their journey placed them at worlds apart, this unlikely duo form a strong emotional bond and passionate relationship.
I also enjoyed the voice of Charlie, who continues to live on after the plane wreck through his journal and the letters he’d written to his daughter. He’s a secondary character that plays an important role in this story, even though he’s not physically present.
Though the story wasn’t as fast-paced and suspenseful as I’d hoped, the character-driven Lost in Kakadu managed to win me over with a well-developed hero and heroine that overcome adversity with love and determination. I also loved the Aussie jungle setting!
“I really liked this”
Lost in Kakadu can be purchased via Escape Publishing and other leading ebook retailers
This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge: