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Review: Outback Sisters by Rachael Johns

on February 25, 2016

Outback SistersOutback Sisters (Bunyip Bay #4)
Rachael Johns
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2016, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

A Bunyip Bay novel

Frankie and Simone are sisters and best friends. Could a new man in town drive a wedge between them for the first time ever?

Cafe owner Frankie has been unlucky in love all her life. It’s hard in a small town like Bunyip Bay to meet prospective partners. Her sister, Simone, lost the love of her live years before and is now devoted to raising their two teenage girls, leaving little time for romance. When Frankie is kissed by a handsome stranger who calls her Simone, it’s a case of mistaken identity – but who is this man and how does he know Simone?

Logan Knight is in town to meet up with a woman he has met online. Although raised on a farm with his brother Angus, he has travelled the world as a journalist and is now looking forward to meeting a girl and settling down. The girl in the cafe was an amazing kisser – but not the one he thought he was meeting!

Reclusive farmer Angus wants nothing to do with Logan’s plans for improving the property’s finances and finding a partner – until he meets the sisters at a wedding. Who is attracted to whom? More importantly, can Frankie and Simone sort out their feelings for the two brothers without destroying their very close bond.

This is the fourth novel in Rachael Johns’ highly successful Bunyip Bay series, basically written in response to popular demand from readers who wanted to revisit this small town in Western Australia after the original trilogy concluded. In Outback Sisters we get the double whammy of 2 for the price of 1 with heroines and sisters Simone and Frankie taking centre stage. Both were introduced and featured in the previous novels, with something of each of their stories being told so it was only fitting that they both got to find their own happy ever afters.

Frankie is working in her local cafe when a handsome man strides in and kisses her senseless – quite enjoyable, very enjoyable in fact until she realises that he thought she was her sister Simone. Disappointed, Frankie directs him on how to find Simone, who has been set up by her teenage daughters in what is a pretty funny (but not really for poor Simone) sort of situation. Luckily the handsome stranger, named Logan, is not a serial killer and is just as nice as he is good looking.

Simone and Frankie are about as close as two siblings can be but the arrival of Logan Knight definitely complicates their relationship a lot. Things get even more complicated when Logan and Simone decide to get Logan’s grumpy brother Angus to accompany Frankie to a wedding. The sparks are flying – but they’re not really the sparks you’d be expecting!

The two sisters are remarkably real and I really enjoyed the ups and downs their relationship goes through in this novel as they negotiate some really difficult times and heightened emotions. Simone has been a single mother for a long time and Frankie has always been there to help her (and keep her and the kids fed!). Not having a sister, I really love reading about the intricacies of this sort of relationship and this one definitely explores the connection they have but establishes them very firmly as individuals.

Both Logan and Angus have experienced a lot of loss and family tragedy. Logan has managed to maintain a very positive outlook on life but Angus has his “grumpy” moments, working the family farm and not often getting out and about. Logan’s job as a journalist takes him away from the farm on a regular basis but Angus’ life has become very insular and although he’s often portrayed as being gruff and brusque, there are times when he really connects with some of the characters, even Simone’s very difficult teenage daughter. I found that I really warmed to Angus – the reader hears about him before we meet him and you are prepared for him to be antisocial and grumpy and he’s the sort of character that really grows on you as you discover his hidden depths.

One of the best things about a series, is that feeling of ‘coming home’ with each new installment and this book definitely gives that feeling. Due to a special occasion taking place there’s a whole cast of characters that we’ve previously read about showing up and popping in and out of the narrative and it makes you feel like you kind of belong in this town, like they could all be your friends too. The Bunyip Bay books have always been like this for me – Rachael Johns has created the most amazing small town and filled it with wonderful characters and this book was heaven for people who love a glimpse of past characters and what they’re up to now which satisfies the need to know more in me.

Outback Sisters is another gem, definitely one for the keeper shelf!

9/10

Book #29 of 2016

AWWC2016

Outback Sisters is the 16th book of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016

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One response to “Review: Outback Sisters by Rachael Johns

  1. […] Outback Sisters by Rachael Johns. This one was way back in February! The 4th book in the super popular Bunyip Bay series, this was another one I really liked. […]

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