All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Mr Right Now by Karly Lane

on July 17, 2019

Mr Right Now (The Callahans Of Stringy Bark Creek #2)
Karly Lane
Allen & Unwin
2019, 312p
Read from my Nan’s stash

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Griffin Callahan and Olivia Dawson were inseparable. Everyone in town knew it. But when Griff went off to Ag College, Liv told him it was over and fled her family’s farm to study law. Griff had never understood her reasons but eventually accepted that first loves don’t last. Until now.

Currently back on the farm to help her twin brother with the harvest, Liv is the same gorgeous, laughing, hazel-eyed girl he’d always loved. Yet Griff can sense a difference, an uncertainty playing beneath the surface that wasn’t there before.

Amidst crossed wires, drunken declarations, and families on a mission, will Griff and Liv finally have a second chance? Or will the old saying – If you love someone set them free – become their reality?

I read the first book in this series last year but somehow I missed the second one. Griffin featured prominently in the first book as a potential love interest for Cash but really she was destined for his older brother Linc, with whom Griff has a strained relationship. In this book, the return of Griff’s high school sweetheart Olivia complicates things but shows him a possible future.

Griff and Olivia dated for several years in high school. She’s the twin sister of his best friend (as an aside – twins called Oliver and Olivia? Really?) but inexplicably to Griff, Olivia ended things after he went away to university and before she could join him, being a bit younger than he was. Since then Olivia has gone on to have a high flying and ambitious career in the city and Griff has remained on his family farm. The two have crossed paths occasionally, most recently at Griff’s younger sister’s wedding but the two of them haven’t had a lot in the way of meaningful interaction. That changes when Olivia’s father has a farm accident and is hospitalised in the city. In order for things to get done on the farm and so her mother can remain by her father’s side, Olivia returns home to run the farm with her brother so that they don’t fall behind. Their neighbours rally around them too, including Griff, who is more than willing to lend a hand.

I had mixed feelings about this one. I liked it but there were aspects of it that I think I just didn’t like, or didn’t work for me. Olivia and Griff’s history is skimmed over but you are supposed to get the feeling they were teenagers deeply in love until Olivia abruptly ended it. Griff has always wondered why and Olivia finally does give him a reason and it’s a good one, that was taking him into consideration but because they were young, they didn’t talk about how to handle what was happening, how to move forward in a way that would protect their relationship but also give both of them what they needed in terms of education and career. Olivia goes on to live in Sydney and doesn’t seem to return to her hometown very often.

Back on the farm, she settles into quite a traditional female role, cooking and cleaning for her brother which kind of annoyed me a bit, as did her brother’s attitudes. She does do some things on the farm but there’s plenty she seems to want to do but doesn’t get to. This is a role her mother has filled probably her whole married life – she still cooks Oliver’s meals and washes his clothes despite the fact that he’s probably mid to late twenties, which is the sort of enabling a manchild behaviour that gets on my nerves. I know rural and farming life is different to my suburban life but every man should be able to work the washing machine (and do so, not let his mother clean his clothes) and knock up a meal when required or wield a vacuum. I really disliked Oliver for most of the book and it looks like he might be next, which makes me a bit wary. Especially as his story seems remarkably similar to this one in terms of relationship.

Griff was also a bit lacklustre as a character for me, he spent a large portion of the book after he and Olivia reconnect thinking that everything will just be perfect if she gives up her job and comes back ‘home’ ignoring the fact that it hasn’t been her home for some time and that she seemed to have no real desire to do that in any way before reconnecting with him and barely after. Olivia is very conflicted about things – she wants a future with Griff but it seems that she is the only person who would have to sacrifice things for that to be able to happen. No one suggests Griff hop off the family farm and come and get a job in Sydney to be with her – the very idea would be laughable! But Griff seems to think that it’s very reasonable and indeed expected, that Olivia do just that. He does improve towards the end of the book, but in a way that makes decisions for her, which didn’t really sit well with me. It was the same thing that Olivia did when they were teenagers, making executive decisions solo that affected the both of them. I understand what Griff was trying to do in giving her this freedom but it was in a way that presented her with a fait accompli rather than allowing her a discussion and choice. She was able to make a choice in the end but only after other things had kind of been presented to her.

The drama with Griff’s family rolls on in this – I am interested to read the fallout of that, because there’s some things revealed here to several characters but the wider family aren’t privy to the information yet and I want to see how that all happens. It looks as though the next book, if it’s the one I’m thinking it’ll be, could be very explosive and I really want to find out how things got to that stage and where it goes from here.

My review probably seems like I enjoyed this less than I did, because I talked about a few things that niggled with me, but it was still a book I enjoyed reading at the time, despite the frustrations with several aspects of it. What I think I liked best was the stuff about the farming – the difficulties after Olivia’s father has the accident, the race against time and weather to get stuff done, the dangers of cutting corners because of that, the community aspect of people helping as well. That part was really good.


Book #105 of 2019

Mr Right Now is book #49 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2019

One response to “Review: Mr Right Now by Karly Lane

  1. […] Mr Right Now by Karly Lane. My review. […]

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