Review: Charming the Outback, by Leesa Bow


Part of a series? Yes, but it can be read as a standalone.

Cliffhanger? No.

Category: It’s qualified as a New Adult book, but I think it can be qualified as an Adult novel.

Genre: Contemporary with Romance.

Publisher: Destiny Romance.

Pages: 276


When jaded city girl Maddy McIntyre packs up and leaves Adelaide for a new job in the country, it’s not only a chance at a fresh start. Six months ago, the first guy she’d ever loved shattered her heart before moving home to Broken Hill. Deep down inside, Maddy is hoping that living in the same town will give her an opportunity to prove to Luke that she’s one temptation he can’t resist.

But when she arrives in Broken Hill, Luke White is not the same guy she knew in the city. And it soon seems very clear that he doesn’t want her there. Although Maddy settles in quickly, excelling at work and partying with her new friends, she can’t understand why Luke is remaining so distant. Particularly when all her instincts are telling her that they’re meant to be together – and that he feels the same burning attraction.

As Maddy learns more about Luke’s family and background, she begins to understand that his mixed messages are caused by balancing what’s expected of him with what he really wants. Maddy gave Luke her heart long ago and, despite their differences, she knows she’ll only ever be happy with her hot country boy. But how can she convince him that she’s the risk he needs to take?





I received this book via Netgalley for an honest review.

When I heard about this book, the blurb made me want to read it. I was expecting a sweet romance, something set in a small town and I was sure I would immediately connect with the characters. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to feel something for Maddy and Luke, and even then it was only half what I was expecting to feel.

I’m going to start with what I enjoyed. I like that the story takes place in Australia. It’s a nice change and while some lingo threw me off at first, I enjoyed this little glimpse into the Australian country. Mind you, I would have loved to see even more of the small town, feel more that difference between Maddy’s city life and the new life she’s trying to build now in the country.

I love some of the secondary characters, for example I’m very much intrigued and taken by Zane. His story should be quite great, or at least that’s how I feel right now. The other friends such as Kristen, Steele, Max and the others make an interesting group and I would have loved to see more details of their dynamic. I think the author should have went all out to show us how tight knit they are and it would have better anchored the small town vibe.

I enjoy the idea of the struggle between Luke, the country boy/man and Maddy, the city girl/woman. That’s always a nice thing and it’s obvious what type of struggles and twists it can bring in a story, but I think it’s not enough explored. It’s told to us, it’s supposedly shown, but unfortunately I couldn’t feel for Maddy. I never connected and I never truly understood Luke as I should have. In fact, for a long time I antagonized him, even when he was supposedly sweet, even when he was right.

It’s not often that I really don’t connect with characters and I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s because the romance isn’t very believable in a way. I can get their attachment, I get the attraction and lingering lust between them, but I never felt their love, never felt their pain, fears and hurt. So, yes I never fully connected with the main characters and I didn’t have as much a good time reading this book as I was expecting. I didn’t feel.

But, maybe it’s because I had other expectations.

The writing style itself is pretty good for this type of story, but I do think that the first few chapters are weak and the dialogues don’t flow all that well. Also, it’s probably because Luke’s introduction is not exactly that great. I don’t mind when the male character comes across as a jerk at first, but here I couldn’t understand his motivations, even later on. Not even now, to be honest. I lack empathy I guess.

But I do think this story is great for readers looking for a story not heavy on the romance, a story taking place in a small town, a story also about friendships. If you want something light and easy to read, then maybe this one is for you.

What do you think of Luke? Am I the only one not feeling anything for him?





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