January 10, 2014

Review: Outback Dreams. Bunyip Bay #1 Rachael Johns

Book Cover Outback Dreams
Outback Dreams  
Rachael Johns
Published: Harlequin Australia  2013
Pages:  347
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Own book
Faith Forrester is at a crossroads. Single, thirty and living on a farm in a small Western Australian town, she’s sick of being treated like a kitchen slave by her brother and father. Ten years ago, her mother died of breast cancer, and Faith has been treading water ever since. She wants to get her hands dirty on the family farm. She wants to prove to herself that she’s done something worthwhile with her life. And she wants to find a man...

For as long as he can remember, Daniel ‘Monty’ Montgomery has been Faith’s best friend. When he was ten, his parents sold the family property and moved to Perth, and ever since, Monty’s dreamed of having his own farm. So for the last ten years, he’s been back on the land, working odd jobs and saving every dollar to put toward his dream. Now he finally has the deposit. But there’s still something missing...

So when Faith embarks on a mission to raise money for a charity close to her heart, and Monty’s dream property comes on the market, things seem like they are falling into place for them both. Until a drunken night out ends with them sleeping together. Suddenly, the best friends are faced with a new load of challenges...Monty and Faith are both ready to find a life partner and settle down, but have they both been looking in all the wrong places?

My thoughts
Firstly a big thank you to Sheree over at The Eclectic Reader, from where I won this book, which then came direct from the publisher. This was my second time only reading Rachael Johns, as I read a novella of hers late in 2013.  I enjoyed Outback Dreams very much and will be looking out for her coming Bunyip Bay books.

This book is set in a small outback town in Australia.  Faith feels she is stuck in a rut, her brother and Dad seem to be taking her for granted, she has no 'man' of her own, apart from best friend Monty.  The book begins and ends with Faith at a school reunion.  In between times Faith has gone on a rather significant journey of finding herself.  I like the way the book opens and closes at the same venue, yet Faith is in a completely 'space'.

Monty has grown up with a brother Will, who is autistic.  He has always loved his brother but also experienced losing some things in life that were important to him because of the decisions the family has had to make.  I liked this exploration of the impact on a sibling in a family with an autistic child.  Monty has always known what he wanted - or does he?  As the story progresses he finds his world is thrown into chaos and his perceptions and values change - just a little but the change brings with it notable adjustments in his life.

The part in the book I found most touching was a conversation Faith had with her Dad towards the end of the book.  Faith had been struggling with her relationship with her Dad; ever since her mother had died, she has found it really difficult to relate to him and this eats at her.  He has been struggling too, and has not really recovered from losing his wife - he harbours grief and a number of fears.

To me in many ways this was a gentle old fashioned romance.  While there were definite 'sparks' I think you could classify this book in the low sensual category.
4 stars


  1. so glad you enjoyed it Kathryn, Faith's relationship with her dad felt very real to me, not that my dad behaved like Faith's dad but a lot of things changed when my mum died. Looking forward to Outback Blaze in May :)

    1. Yes, losing a Mum does make a big gap in your life. And life changes in unexpected ways. I thought Rachael wrote this aspect of the novel really well.


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