All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Lonely In Longreach by Eva Scott

on September 18, 2020

Lonely In Longreach
Eva Scott
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2020, 370p
Copy courtesy of the publisher/Harper Collins AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

In the red heart of Queensland, two teenagers playing matchmaker are about to turn more than one life upside-down.

Widower Sam Costello has no time for love. When he’s not working on his farm, he’s trying to figure out how to connect with his teenage son Levi.

But Levi is about to finish high school, and he has big plans to move to Sydney for University with his best friend Maddie. If only he didn’t feel so guilty about abandoning his dad. Maddie has her own reasons for wanting to go to Sydney and she’s not going to let Levi’s dad ruin her future happiness. Mr Costello needs a girlfriend and, with her talent for matchmaking, Maddie is the girl to make it happen. By the time Mr C figures out what she’s done, surely he’ll be too in love to be angry.

Journalist Sarah Lewis has a good job, a nice boyfriend and a safe life in Sydney. Though sometimes she wonders if life has more to offer than nice and safe. When she starts working on an article about finding love in the outback she finds herself asking whether journalists should become this invested in their research. But there’s just something about Lonely in Longreach. Could it be that the man behind the dating profile is the key to the passion she has been looking for?

Sleepless in Seattle meets rural Australia in this fresh romantic comedy about optimism, online dating and love at first sight.

This was a really fun read billed as a mash up of Sleepless In Seattle (which I am actually kinda ashamed to say I haven’t seen) and Farmer Wants A Wife (which I also haven’t seen because I’m not into “reality” tv). But I know the basics enough! Sam has been a widower for 7 years. Sam is also raising his teenage son Levi and Levi has big plans to move away to Sydney for university but he doesn’t want to leave his father alone on the farm. His best friend Maddie comes up with an elaborate scheme to create a personal profile for Sam on an outback/country dating site and so the Lonely in Longreach profile is born! It catches the attention of Sarah, a journalist in Sydney trapped in a boring and unfulfilling relationship. Sarah, although born in Newcastle and having lived in Sydney for most of her working life, feels a country girl at heart and part of her longs for the bush. When she sees Sam’s profile, she taps out a message and all of a sudden the two are corresponding…..and she’s planning a visit for ‘work’ but also to see if this might go somewhere. But Sarah and Sam are in for a bit of a shock…..when they realise what two meddling teenagers have done.

I enjoyed a lot about this! It’s kind of a dual story because Levi and his best friend Maddie probably get almost as much page time as Sam and Sarah. Levi and Maddie are at that teen stage where their friendship is changing and evolving and it’s confusing for both of them. Maddie has grand plans to go to Sydney for university (thinks she’s going to live in Bondi, I have a feeling the price of Bondi rents would probably shock her silly!) and she wants Levi to come too. Maddie is a dreamer, with grand plans and ideas and sometimes, that means not seeing (or not wanting to see) what’s right in front of her. She’s definitely the brains of the operation whereas Levi kind of goes along with her schemes, easily talked into things by Maddie, who is confident that everything will just work out for the best.

Sam was a lovely character, I thought his love for Levi came through so constantly and also his worry as well, about whether or not their relationship still had the same connection now that Levi was in his teens. Sam hasn’t dated at all since he lost his wife and his local friends are more than willing to help him get back into the scene. They definitely all want him to be happy – and Levi wants that too. He wants his dad to not be alone when he graduates school and leaves for further education and although he’s gone along with Maddie’s idea of the dating profile, Levi isn’t happy for his dad to date just anyone.

For Sarah, she was attracted to Sam upon first seeing his picture and their ‘communication’ just makes her more invested. She hasn’t been fulfilled in her romantic life for quite a while it seems, she wants more. Using a story about love in the bush, she travels to Longreach and is pleased when she and Sam hit it off in person just as much. The attraction is there between them and Sarah can really see this going somewhere – until she witnesses something and realises something that makes her question everything about Sam and how she’s been treated.

I really liked both stories in this book – Sam and Sarah’s and Levi and Maddie’s as well. I really appreciated how much the teens were involved in the story – they had their own story as well as being kind of the catalyst for Sam and Sarah’s. I would’ve liked it to be a little heavier on the romance for the adults – a little more interaction for Sam and Sarah, some of it did feel a bit instantaneous and I suppose your feelings about that will depend on how much you believe in love at first sight.

But overall this was an excellent way to pass an afternoon and I’ll definitely read Eva Scott’s next book!

7/10

Book #184 of 2020

Lonely In Longreach is book #72 of The Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2020


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