Bellaroo Creek is a small Aussie town needing a fresh
injection of people. Three linked books by different
authors show us what happens when newcomers answer an
advertisement. In PATCHWORK FAMILY IN THE OUTBACK Poppy
Carter agrees to be the new teacher - since she'll be
renting a home for a dollar a week, what can go wrong? The
first parent she meets is a tanned rancher who comments
that he doubts she can go a week without needing a
hairdresser or beauty salon. Maybe it won't all be easy....
Harrison Black, the rancher, gets persuaded by his kids
Katie and Alex to come and help Poppy work at turning the
classroom from an institutional room to a fun environment.
His main contribution is bringing sausages and bread for
the grill, but the kids love helping to decorate. His wife
couldn't stand the isolation and left several years ago, so
he's now a single father, not that he mentions it to Poppy.
The experience has made him distrustful of women's stamina
for outback life.
A black cat first scrounges, then adopts Poppy, which she
takes as a good sign. She's been married and dumped too,
so she and Harrison have more in common than they first
realised. Actually, she's sworn off men. Then an
emergency obliges her to look after Harrison's son and
daughter while he's away. Poppy discovers that outback
life isn't quite as she'd expected....
I appreciated the dramatic weather; rain brings flooding so
the only way to reach people is by helicopter. Bellaroo
Creek is managing to cope, just losing its young people to
cities. While Poppy is understandably bitter about her
ex's stealing from their joint account and mortgaging her
house, I thought it was a good lesson that both partners
need to understand the family financial situation and see
the bank statements. The characters are surprisingly few
and we're told that an Aboriginal couple work on the ranch
but we only meet them right at the end. This means that
the tale doesn't develop a sense of community, perhaps so
that the three authors would not contradict one another.
PATCHWORK FAMILY IN THE OUTBACK by Soraya Lane is a
pleasant romance which places most emphasis on the growing
relationship and could be enjoyed by readers from teens to
Arriving in Bellaroo Creek, teacher Poppy Carter isn't quite
prepared for the hard task ahead of her. But a school under
threat and a class of unruly children is a breeze compared
to single father Harrison Black, who's proving more of a
challenge than she could ever have anticipated!
Since his wife abandoned him and their children, Harrison
has learned the art of keeping his distance—and new teacher
Poppy doesn't seem to understand boundaries! But when a
storm traps them both together, Harrison begins to wonder
whether Poppy just might make the perfect addition to their
little family .