All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Fool Me Once by Karly Lane

on May 7, 2020

Fool Me Once
Karly Lane
Allen & Unwin
2020, 318p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Farmer Georgie Henderson manages a cattle farm in the New England region of NSW, but her dream has always been to buy back her family property, Tamban. Her every waking hour for years, has revolved around planning to make this dream become a reality.

When an unlikely meeting with Michael Delacourt at a rowdy B&S Ball sends them on a whirlwind romance, Georgie can’t believe it’s possible for life to be this good and her dream of buying back Tamban has, for the first time, taken a backseat to happiness.

But her world shatters when she discovers the shocking secret Michael has been trying to keep from her.

Can Michael convince her they still have a future? And after having her heart so thoroughly broken, can Georgie ever trust anyone again?

Karly Lane’s 10th book takes readers to country New South Wales – the New England region. Georgie Henderson has experienced the very lows of farming when her father sold their family farm to a large corporation for a pittance when she was at university. It’s been her dream to buy it back but until that opportunity presents itself, she works as a manager on another property where the owner, an elderly gentleman, is no longer able to maintain a physical role. Georgie saves as much as she can in order to fulfil her goal but she knows that she’s still some time away from it being realistic. And that’s even if she can convince the current owners to ever sell, a moneymaking machine known for buying up family properties during hard times for rock bottom prices. They’re changing the face of farming in Australia and Georgie has a lot of feelings about it.

Her friend convinces her to let her hair down at a B&S ball and there she meets Michael and it’s the start of a whirlwind fast romance. Michael has a terrible secret though and when Georgie finds out, she ends what they have….but there’s still one thing tying them together and Michael refuses to let things go easily. He’s determined to make Georgie see her mistake, to hear him out….no matter what it takes. And Georgie is just as determined to stick to her guns and protect her heart. The two of them couldn’t possibly make this work.

There was a lot I enjoyed about this, namely Georgie, her role and love of farming and also the analysis of the changing landscape of farming in Australia. A lot of properties are being bought out by corporations and run as part of an overall business. There are employees but no owners live and work the land, passing it down to the next generation. Georgie grew up on a farm and it’s in her blood, she can’t imagine her life being anything but living off and working the land. She has never recovered from her grieving father selling the family farm after the death of her mother when he got into financial trouble. He didn’t want that life for Georgie, the worry and the debt but he didn’t consult her about what she wanted either and it’s been a source of pain and resentment for Georgie ever since. All she wants is that piece of land back and the chance to make it hers. As she feels it should have been.

Although I didn’t mind the character of Michael at first, I do have to admit that after their whirlwind romance and Georgie discovers the secret he’s been keeping from her, the way that Michael acts in order to try and win her back, was not really for me. It harked back to those Harlequin Presents books and heroes who think they know the heroine better than she knows herself and “she says no but she means yes” type of thing. I found him to be very forceful and arrogant and in terms of the secret, he was basically like “well I know I should’ve told you but I didn’t and it’s not important anyway for this reason, so this is why it shouldn’t matter”. I’m not sure why Michael thought it was a good idea to keep that secret – well, I suppose I do know. It was fear. He knew that she wouldn’t react well and I think he was just hoping for a time when Georgie would find him so incredible that it wouldn’t matter. But instead of coming clean to her and explaining from the very get go, he let it slide and eventually she found out in another way, because secrets always come out and that just made it a million times worse, because for Georgie, that was an ultimate betrayal. I found that the things Michael did, like turning up as a paying guest at Georgie’s business to be so cocky, rather than contrite. He always seemed like he had zero responsibility for the demise of their relationship and if Georgie would just see reason like she hadn’t explained to him a thousand times her feelings on such things, there’d be no issue. It wasn’t until right near the end that I thought Michael actually came across as feeling the loss of her, and devastated and the thought that he might not be able to fix it.

Although there was quite a portion of the book where I didn’t really enjoy Michael’s actions he kind of did redeem himself for me in the end. But what I really enjoyed about this story was Georgie and her determination to find a place for herself in the world of farming. She was lucky to discover a person that appreciated her skills, who was willing to give her a go and entrust more and more responsibility to her as his own ability to maintain his property waned. They had obviously formed quite a strong bond and the way his family treated Georgie was really admirable as well. This was a pleasant, mostly engaging read consistent with Lane’s prior exploration of the ups and downs facing Australian farmers.


Book #85 of 2020

Fool Me Once is book #28 of The Australian Women Writer’s Challenge for 2020

One response to “Review: Fool Me Once by Karly Lane

  1. Mic says:

    great review as always.

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