“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.” ― Samuel Johnson
Author: Jack Byrne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 70
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Having long ago lost his wife and children, cattleman Jim Kelly works the family farm in the harsh 1800s Australian outback, most days wondering why he bothers. That question is foremost in his mind when a venomous snake takes him by surprise. Another surprise comes when a skilled doctor is in the vicinity to save his life. But the third, and biggest, surprise for Jim is falling hard and fast for that man.
Life on the lam is tough, and bushranger Mark Turner simply wants to maintain his freedom as long as he’s able. Unfortunately, being a doctor, his conscience won’t let him leave a snakebite victim to die. Before he thinks about the consequences of his humanitarian actions, he’s both saved Jim and become smitten with him. But considering how Mark’s past could negatively impact any possibility of a future, maybe falling in love wasn’t such a great idea after all.
Review: Billabong – a small pond of water, often isolated, sometimes fed by a seasonal stream.
Normally, I don’t like historicals; although, lately I’m beginning to change my mind about them as long as they’re not Regency or Victorian. This one is set in the late 1800s Australia. What caught my interest was when Jim is bitten by a snake. Back in a time when ERs weren’t readily available, I found the treatment for venomous snake bites quite interesting. Luckily for Jim, Wade Turner happens to know how to treat snake bites and while recovering from this near death experience, the two men form a friendship. These two men are quite likable, and the angst thrown in wasn’t so unbearable that it took away from these two getting to know each other.
While trying to figure out the terms used to describe certain things (there is a glossary—Example: what I call fencing is called yards), it took me a few moments to figure out what Jim Kelly was up to in the beginning before he was bitten. Ok, so I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack, but that’s what I liked about this one, learning about a time and place, and still finding a romance in the wilds of Australia.
I’m giving this one a solid 4 Star rating. I would love to read a sequel, if it’s a possibility, as I can’t help but feel that Jim’s and Wade’s story has only just begun.