All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Rose River by Margareta Osborn

on March 4, 2015

Rose RiverRose River
Margareta Osborn
Random House AUS
2015, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Often I like to know something about a book before I dive in but it’s not always the case. Sometimes I don’t need to know because the author is someone I trust to always give me a good story. Sometimes I’m just lazy and don’t read the blurb before reading. I kind of wish I did for this one.

I didn’t realise this was going to be about Jaime Hanrahan and Stirling McEvoy, the couple of Osborn’s novella A Bush Christmas a few years ago until I read the author note at the beginning of the book. Given that was quite short, I figured it might pick up from where that left off, giving us more of a glimpse into their future. But nope, the first 30-ish % of this book is simply the novella, which I have already read. Granted it was a couple years ago so not everything stuck in my mind but I remembered more than enough to make the re-read a bit unnecessary. I really loved the novella though so I persevered to get to the point where the novella had ended and the new part of this story would begin.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love where the story went. It introduced one of my new pet hates: the Clueless or Deliberately Ignorant Man. The Clueless or Deliberately Ignorant Man is generally a nice sort of bloke, perhaps a country boy who has been hurt in the past by a particularly nasty ex. He’s just beginning to move on when all of a sudden, nasty ex rolls back into town and wants him back! Nasty ex is nasty but the Clueless or Deliberately Ignorant Man either cannot or will not see it. He stands around passively unable to hear or act while the nasty ex makes disparaging remarks, acts cattily or pashes him in front of the entire town. He doesn’t do anything when the nasty ex is savage about the girl he has feelings for, leading that girl to believe that yep, he really will be getting back with his ex. The Clueless or Deliberately Ignorant Man has already experienced the nasty ex in all of her nastiness however cannot seem to extricate himself from her clutches or speak up to set the record straight or defend those which the nasty ex is basically being a grade A bitch to. And although Stirling, a character I loved in A Bush Christmas/the beginning of this book is such a decent guy, he really does turn into a bit of a dill in the second half of this story. I feel as though Stirling’s reasoning for spending so much time with his ex-girlfriend is pretty flimsy and also a bit out of character. He seemed a pretty no-nonsense sort of guy and although he is misled about Jaime’s connection to someone else, that sort of retaliatory behaviour seems a bit childish and hurtful. Because he really does hurt Jaime’s feelings and so often they could’ve just sat down and set the record straight but were both too stubborn.

My favourite part of this story was city girl Jaime learning to adapt to life in the bush. She worked in the heart of Melbourne, was connected to her iPad and iPhone, enjoyed eating out and shopping. When she came to house sit at the farm she was pretty much down and out. Stirling thought he was getting a stockhand named Jamie, and Jaime thought she was getting some time out. However she really does throw herself into learning as much about life on the land as she can. She makes mistakes – plenty of them. And she occasionally gets herself into embarrassing situations. But she learns and she soldiers on and she comes to realise how beautiful it is where she is and how much she’s actually enjoying being there, that it’s becoming home for her. It’s a steep curve at times – like the time Stirling takes her to shoot rabbits and she bawls because she thinks he’s doing it for fun. She does totally misjudge him and has to learn that things are much different out in the country. Rabbits are vermin who destroy the land. I do like the way Stirling and Jaime get to know each other and their chemistry was always pretty good. Even after Stirling’s ex rolls into town. Jaime lightens Stirling up – he has a tendency to be a little stern, hence Jaime calling him ‘Marble Man’ behind his back. And he calls her Princess, which I actually thought was kind of cute.

I don’t know how many people are like me and already read the novella two years ago but I think it might’ve been better if this book had picked up after it left off and guided the reader through the challenges Stirling and Jaime faced in a new relationship coming from different backgrounds and lives. The introduction of Stirling’s ex might’ve been a bit more interesting if he and Jaime were already an established couple, not still floundering around with how to move forward and where they both stood with each other.

6/10

Book #45 of 2015

aww-badge-2015

Rose River is book #17 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge

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One response to “Review: Rose River by Margareta Osborn

  1. Margareta says:

    Thank you for taking the time to review my book, Bree.

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