Caine Neiheisel is stuck in a dead-end job at the end of a dead-end relationship when the chance of a lifetime falls in his lap. His mother inherits her uncle’s sheep station in New South Wales, Australia, and Caine sees it as the opportunity to start over, out on the range where his stutter won’t hold him back and his willingness to work will surely make up for his lack of knowledge.
Unfortunately, Macklin Armstrong, the foreman of Lang Downs who should be Caine’s biggest ally, alternates between being cool and downright dismissive, and the other hands are more amused by Caine’s American accent than they are moved by his plight… until they find out he’s gay and their amusement turns to scorn. It will take all of Caine’s determination—and an act of cruel sabotage by a hostile neighbor—to bring the men of Lang Downs together and give Caine and Macklin a chance at love.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: This is a gentle MM romance with realistic leads and a partnership but not earth-shattering romance.
The Set Up: Caine just got dumped by his boyfriend and is stuck at a dead-end job. His mother inherits her uncle’s sheep ranch in Australia and Caine sees this as his chance to make a life-change. Upon arriving in Australia, Caine meets his ranch foreman, Macklin. Macklin initially dismisses Caine but he can’t resist Caine’s dedication and hard-work. But can two gay men find love in the rugged Outback?
Why I Read this Book: Because I’ve always dreamed of being a 19th Century British convict deported to Australia and forced to become a rugged frontier-woman! (AKA, love Australian settings.)
What I Liked: I felt totally immersed in the Australian Outback. The descriptions of the sheep ranch and the landscape made me feel I was right there, which is saying something for this NYC girl! The author took great pains to include slang and then explain it and though a tad forced, I loved this since it added to the Australian flavor. The obligatory reference to vegemite made me chuckle too. But best of all was the “dingoes ate my ba-by” moment, except change “baby” to “sheep”.
What I Also Liked: This isn’t an earth-shattering romance but more of a realistic exploration of two people falling into love gently and figuring out a way to build a life together. After all the big drama romances I read this felt organic and like two of my real life friends becoming a couple. I suspect some readers may find this a tad boring but I thought it was tender. This isn’t to say Macklin and Caine don’t get very busy in the bedroom because they certainly do! But these aren’t too severely damaged heroes who fight their attraction; instead these are two mature people figuring out if they want to be a couple.
What I Didn’t Like: Well, this isn’t a book that will induce a huge emotional response. This is a gentle love story with realistic heroes who are just trying to find their way in the world. These aren’t emotionally-stunted playboys being reformed by the undying love of a good woman (or man as the case may be). None of this bothered me as it was a change of pace from the usual romances I read but it also won’t make me remember this romance.
IMO: This isn’t a keeper romance but was still a good one, especially because of the great Australian setting. Now, I’m off to throw some veggies on the barbie!