Breaking The Drought
Harlequin Escape Publishing
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Melbourne magazine editor Jenna McLean is a city girl, no doubt about that. So when she gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town by her best friend, it’s very reluctantly. Having just learned that her ex is engaged, Jenna could do with some distraction. However she knows she won’t meet the man of her dreams in the country. Jenna is not really cut out for farm life. And cowboys and farmers definitely don’t gain a good score on her Marriage Material scoresheet.
Luke Tanner is hosting Jenna and her best friend for the weekend and although he finds her attractive, he’s met city girls like her before and it never ends well. They can’t wait to get back to their apartments and lattes and aren’t interested in the land or the problems surrounding working it. Luke is helping out with the ball and willing to do whatever it takes to make it a success to help their dying local community. And also, he owes it to someone very close to him to make sure that everything goes smoothly from here on in.
But the attraction between Jenna and Luke becomes more powerful each time they are together. Despite the fact that Jenna can’t see herself trading in her city lifestyle for the farm and Luke has an obligation to his property, they can’t deny that they both feel it. But with bushfire season on the way and many other obstacles hindering their path, can two people living totally different lifestyles find a happily ever after?
Breaking The Drought is a fun novel that takes a city girl totally out of her comfort zone and places her in a small country farming town that is slowly dying for a multitude of reasons. Local woman Maggie Tanner has been instrumental in planning the matchmaking ball and trying to get women into the town to hopefully bring business and maybe even make a connection with one of the local men. Jenna is talked into attending by her friend Brooke, even though Jenna knows that none of the men she meets will be for her. She has a strict set of criteria that designates men husband material. Although to be honest, that didn’t work out so well with her previous boyfriend, who scored excellently on her Marriage Material sheet but turned out to be a prize jerk.
I really enjoyed the chemistry between Luke and Jenna which is almost immediate although it is complicated by an amusing misconception that Jenna makes – kind of an understandable one. I do enjoy the whole opposites attract thing even though deep down, this novel isn’t quite about that as it appears at first glance. Jenna is a very stereotypical city girl though, I find – all about Jimmy Choos and an inner-city lifestyle and she does display a pretty high degree of ignorance about country life. Given so much of Australia is rural, I did find this a bit unusual. I found Jenna’s best friend much more down to earth and aware. Her enthusiasm for the weekend in the country was really fun and she embraced it obviously in the way in which it was intended. I liked Brooke, at times she was a much more palatable character than Jenna who started off the novel whining about basically everything in the country town. However thankfully Jenna at some stage, did sort of “suck it up” and begin to appreciate what was around her and she really did dig in and help when a dangerous situation occurred.
I do have to say that there is quite a lot of drama packed into this book – there are several life threatening situations and nothing is straightforward at all. It did get a bit much as the second half of the book does feel quite crammed full with so many things happening and it’s almost like a race to the finish line after a much more sedate first half. There’s only so much drama and unexpected events I can take in so much time! But I did like the way that Jenna pulled herself together and really did kind of stand up and be counted when the time came. I think it served to show her the uncertainty of living in the bush, the sort of thing that these people can face everyday, threats which you don’t really have to worry about living in the inner-city. I liked Jenna’s evolution as a character and the way in which she came to realise what was important – without that arc of growth I’m not sure she would’ve been deserving of Luke. I really liked his character, he was very protective and caring and he had sacrificed much in order to right a wrong that he felt he had committed. He had to come to terms with his past and let it go in order to be able to embrace his future.
Book #131 of 2014
Breaking The Drought is book #49 of the 2014 Australian Women Writers Challenge