Published by Escape Publishing on July 1st 2014
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When Jenna McLean gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town, she holds no illusions of meeting the man of her dreams. A no-nonsense magazine editor, Jenna doesn’t believe in leaving love to chance, which is why she’s developed Marriage Material – a fool-proof framework for husband hunting. Shearers and farmhands need not apply.
Sheep grazier Luke Tanner has met women like Jenna before, and knows not to waste his time. With the drought dragging on and bushfire season around the corner, the last thing he needs is a spoiled city girl like Jenna adding to his problems. He'll help out with the ball because it's good for the community, but he won't dance, he won't flirt, and he definitely won't be matched.
It's been a long dry season, but everyone knows when it rains, it pours.
Short and sweet rural romance in a town where everyone knows everyone. Breaking the Drought brings together 2 people from 2 different worlds and much of the time is spent trying to reconcile these apparent differences. Luke isn’t just a simple farmboy and the secrets he hides eventually come to light as we hurtle along towards a surprising end. Jenna however, was another story. For all her worldly know-hows and her city-slick attitude, she comes across as frustratingly naive and bratty at times, declaring her love for Luke after their first sexual encounter together – and a few days after they’d first met – then getting angry when he isn’t able to sort himself out immediately or reciprocate when they’d both known the score from the beginning. With some effort, I can overlook accelerated sequence of events. That they are both flawed is too, understandable and even necessary character traits, but emotional stupidity and some caricature-like behaviour – abounding on Jenna’s part to a larger extent – would be something that will always deeply disappoint me at every occasion.
It’s clear that Lisa Ireland harbours a great love for the rural landscape and there’re details enough to interest urban dwellers who know nothing about the bush but don’t want to be bogged down in meticulous treatises about swamp and scrub. The human side takes precedence, as it always does in a contemporary romance novel like this and for that, I’d be interested in seeing what she comes up with next.