All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

A Bush Christmas – Margareta Osborn

on December 17, 2012

Bush XmasA Bush Christmas
Margareta Osborn
Random House AU
2012, eBook
Bought for my Kindle

Jaime Josephine Hanrahan is a city girl through and through. Unfortunately this city girl is a bit down on her luck recently having lost her job, her swanky South Bank flat, her company car and her iPhone and iPad. When her manicurist sets her up with a holiday job housesitting, Jaime visualises sunbaking in a bikini somewhere down on the Mornington Peninsula. What she gets is a little different.

Jaime dislikes her name, public transport and Harley Davidsons. When she arrives in Lake Grace (via public transport), she looks for a taxi to take her to Burdekin’s Gap, where the house that she will be housesitting is located. Unfortunately, no taxis will go to Burdekin’s Gap due to the kangaroos and wombats that pose a danger and Jaime’s only option is throwing her leg over a motorbike behind taciturn local Stirling McEvoy. Reluctantly she accepts the lift, only to find herself the victim of mistaken identity and deposited at the general store-cum-petrol station, as Sterling believes her to be the owner’s latest backpacker worker arrived for a stint.

Instead of sunbaking and relaxation, Jaime gets working with cattle and holding a spotlight so Sterling can shoot the local pest rabbit population. Instead of peace and quiet and forgetting about Christmas and mourning her beloved dad, gone nearly a year, she gets a town that goes all out with lights and social gatherings and community spirit.

It’s a time of year that Jaime doesn’t want to be a part of. She just wants to be left alone to think about her beloved dad. Her mother has moved on and remarried and it feels to Jaime that she is the only one missing him and mourning his passing. She isn’t looking for love either but it seems like the tiny town of Burdekin’s Gap is going to heal her in more than one way.

A Bush Christmas is a holiday novella by rural lit author Margareta Osborn. I’ve been reading quite a lot of novellas while I’ve been on holidays – it’s like my brain isn’t really up to a full length novel! This one is absolutely fabulous – Jaime is a city girl in Sass n Bide cut offs, cute tops and inappropriate shoes when she arrives to ‘the bush’. She’s mistaken as being another backpacker worker for a local playboy due to her appearance. Stirling McEvoy has a distrust of city girls ever since one of them screwed him over some time ago. He’s none too happy to be charged with taking Jaime up to Burdekin’s Gap on the back of his bike, nor is he too pleased when he discovers that she is the man he thought was ‘Jamie’ to help him with the property while the owner Valerie is away.

Jaime and Stirling could not be more different. He’s country to the bone and she’s more at home on St Kilda beach than the back of a quad bike. One thing Jaime isn’t though, is a quitter and she tackles everything Stirling throws at her the best she can, such as separating steers that he wants from the herd and corralling them into a separate pen, going shotting and holding the spottie, even though she believes he’s murdering bunnies in cold blood, attempting to make sponges when bullied into it by the local lady brigade. She has varying levels of success but the point is that Jaime embraces her new life in the country even though it’s foreign to her and she’s far outside of her comfort zone. She uses the memory of her beloved father to get her through each challenge, often talking to him. Although they lived in the city, her father had a love of the outdoors, tending his garden and going fishing and he often took Jaime with him. When he died last Boxing Day, Jaime was left gutted and she feels like everyone else has moved on and left her behind. She has a new stepfather that she doesn’t want and she can’t bear to face him and her mother this Christmas, choosing to hide herself away from the world.

The chemistry between Jaime and Stirling is sizzling and so enjoyable to read. Stirling quite clearly can’t keep his eyes off her, even though he is sometimes embarrassed or reluctant, especially as he seems prejudiced against city girls given what happened to him with a previous romance. Jaime also is attracted to Stirling’s striking good looks and hardworking body although at times she is put off by his brusque manner. They hit several stumbles due to misunderstandings but also share some close moments, fuelling the attraction to scorching levels. Stirling is right into the Christmas spirit and he attempts to fire up Jaime’s.

Sometimes novellas/short stories don’t work for me because they feel rushed or unfinished – I’m used to time spent building an attraction or tension/conflict. However this one really does work on all levels – it’s quick and fun and filled with fully realised characters and a great story that is easily told in the time allocated. Jaime needs to be able to embrace Christmas again, not hide from it and her time spent in the most unlikely of places, Burdekin’s Gap, enables her to do that. I loved the growing relationship between her and Stirling – it wasn’t too swift and it didn’t come from nowhere and it felt very natural from their time spent together.

A great Christmas read to relax with.

9/10

Book #275 of 2012

awwc20121

A Bush Christmas is the 91st novel read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012


2 responses to “A Bush Christmas – Margareta Osborn

  1. Great review, Bree. I’m loving novellas at the moment too, especially after reading a couple of lengthy books! I’ll have to download a copy of this one. I met Margareta at the Mudgee Readers Festival this year and she was so lovely to talk to. I hope to pick up her other novel, Bella’s Run soon!

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