About the Book:
The heart-warming new rural romance novel from the acclaimed author of Dear Banjo and True Blue.
There was something about Charlie. Something about the way he questioned and teased her, brought her outside of herself … the way he’d made her crash headlong into love just by singing to her.
At age seventeen, Beth Paterson was determined to study medicine at university, despite the heartache of losing her mother. Tutoring Charlie Campbell worked well with her plan – but falling in love with him sure didn’t, and neither did getting her heart broken when he abruptly left town.
Now Charlie is a big star on the alternative rock scene, while Beth is a respected doctor in her hometown. When Charlie comes back to fight for the tiny community where he was raised, neither one of them can ignore the resurgence of wild attraction they once shared.
Beth swore no man would ever hurt her again – least of all this man. But some love songs can never be forgotten, especially when they were written for you …
Love Song is the follow-up to Dear Banjo and True Blue, the rural romance ‘Daughters of the Outback’ series by Sasha Wasley, following the lives of three sisters who live in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Love Song is the eldest sister’s story, Beth, who is a busy GP in the town that lies 90 minutes drive from her family’s vast station, Paterson Downs. For those who have already read the first two books, you’ll find this a fitting conclusion to an overall great series. For those who haven’t read any of these novels, well at least you can binge the series now with all three out and available! While I’m not a fan of rural fiction, nor romance, I still found much to appreciate in this popular series, although I still think, now after reading all three books, that Dear Banjo was my favourite.
Now, onto Love Song. Sasha draws on some big themes within this novel, particularly focusing in on remote Aboriginal communities. She examines the health care options available, the education offered to residents, the cultural significance of remote communities, the land rights, and the voices that struggle to be heard against the noise of international resource companies and government bureaucracy. Through Beth’s experiences as a FIFO GP, we become privy to remote living and the ways in which many Aboriginal communities are preserving their culture with the hopes of carving out a better future for the next generation. We are also privy to the struggles they are faced with, so the novel does provide a balanced approach. While for the most part, Sasha presents all of these issues through a realistic lens, this social and cultural focus is somewhat let down by a rather cliché romantic storyline that overshadows the more deeper themes that the author clearly put so much research and effort into articulating.
I know I’m not a fan of romance, and really, I should steer clear of them, but this was a part of a series and I like to finish the things I’ve begun. Don’t get me wrong, this is a perfectly lovely story, and there are going to be readers swooning all over the pages about Charlie and Beth. I’m just not one of them. I found the whole premise a bit of a stretch, that two people who dated at the age of 17 for only a few months, would still both be holding a candle, a very exclusive and brightly burning candle, for the other when they’re 35. And then, when they meet up after nearly 18 years apart, Beth begins to act quite out of character, which was a shame for me because her level headedness was why I admired her so much. And Charlie was quite honestly a rude jerk in the beginning. It just didn’t work for me and the push and pull between them ended up irritating me more and more. I did like them both much later in the book, once all the immature not talking to each other and holding grudges settled down, but it took a bit of labouring to get to that point.
So where does this leave us? Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over decades of reading different types of books, it’s this: you can like a book without liking everything about it. In terms of Love Song, the romance was my only sticking point. I liked everything else, especially the supporting characters, who really coloured every scene they were in: Mary, Jill, and Pearl. And like I mentioned above, the really topical and important issues that were explored with compassion and intelligence are a credit to the author. Love Song is a novel I recommend, but not as a standalone. You really do want to read each of the books in this series, and in the order the author has intended. Looking forward to seeing how this series plays out on screen. It’s exciting to see an Australian book series picked up for production. I’ll support that any day!
Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of Love Song for review.
About the Author:
Sasha Wasley was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. She lives in the Swan Valley wine region with her two daughters. She writes commercial fiction, crossover new adult/YA mysteries and paranormal. Sasha Wasley’s debut novel, The Seventh, was published in January 2015. Her first new adult paranormal romance series, The Incorruptibles, debuted in 2016.
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released on 4th June 2019