Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review: By the Currawong's Call by Welton B. Marsland

Book Review: By the Currawong's Call by Welton B. Marsland


A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful...

Victoria, Australia, 1891

Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.

A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.

Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?

5 Stars

Matthew Ottenshaw, an Anglican priest, receives his first job in a small town in Victoria, Australia in 1891, not knowing that this will change his life forever. There he strikes an easy friendship with the local police officer, marred by Matthew's growing feelings for Jonah, which comes to a head when after a bushfire threatens the church's buildings, Matthew kisses Jonah. 

The kiss shocks them both and the secret relationship that follows puts them in danger of losing their jobs, their friends, and even their lives. Will they find a way to make it work or is their love doomed? 

Okay, so you all know I love historical books, although I tend to gravitate towards Regency and Victorian books set in England, however, I just couldn't resist when I read the blurb and I'm very glad I didn't. 

Welton B. Marsland is a new author for me, but I really enjoyed her writing style. The book is interesting and I adored seeing it all happening through Matthew's eyes. The author managed to let me know Jonah through Matthew, enough that I could see what a good man he was. And Matthew, well, I couldn't do anything but sympathize with his feelings. It wasn't easy for him to find a balance between falling for Jonah and his faith and that's one of the things that made this book go from really good to stellar. It was a slow-burn, which needed an extreme situation as a catalyst, it was realistic and I could understand why Matthew wavered between giving in and pulling away. 

The friendship between Matthew and Jonah, however unconventional due to one being a priest and Jonah not being religious, worked well from the start. There was a spark between them that just grew into more. Jonah was more like a free spirit, content with giving in to his desires, no matter where they took him. Even so, it was nice to see how invested he became in their liaison the more time they spent together. The progression from friends to lovers was natural and organic and I adored that they didn't rush into anything. 

I loved the secondary characters, even if I wanted to throat-punch a character I thought was Jonah's friend and ended up being a bigoted fool. 

Overall, this was an enthralling read, giving a believable account of how life in Australia in that time period would be, with awesome main characters I couldn't help but root for. Highly recommendable! 

*** Copy provided to the reviewer via NetGalley, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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