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Outback Secrets (Bunyip Bay #5) by Rachael Johns -a review

outback secretsOutback Secrets (Bunyip Bay #5) by Rachael Johns

Keeping secrets comes naturally to him … but will it ruin his chance at love?

Liam Castle knows the secrets of everyone in Bunyip Bay. As the owner of the pub, he’s heard it all – from marriage proposals and farming disasters to family rifts and everything in between. The locals love to confide in him, but no one knows he’s hiding a tragic past.

And he wants to keep it that way.

Agricultural pilot Henrietta Forward lives for her job, choosing work over romance. But when an incident in the air brings Henri home to Bunyip Bay earlier than planned, she finds herself questioning everything she believes about herself.

But Henri’s secret isn’t her only problem.

Her mother will stop at nothing to have her settled down back in the Bay, and while Henri had always known domesticity wasn’t the life for her, now she wonders what her future holds. So when Liam – always the first to lend a hand to those in need – agrees to play along with Henri’s scheme to ward off her mother, she has mixed feelings. What happens when a pretend romance starts to feel like the real thing?

Will Henri’s demons and Liam’s traumatic past prove too great a barrier to love?

Published 27 October 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

While I don’t read many rural romances, I do have a penchant for them. Outback Ghost (book 3 of Bunyip Bay) was my one of my first reads of this genre and I enjoyed it very much that I bought Outback Dreams (book 1). This is one of the rare times that I have read out of order but you know, I didn’t know any better back then. The only one in the series I skipped is book 4 because it’s a trope I absolutely cannot stand but I can’t help myself with this most recent instalment; I had to get back to Bunyip Bay.

Fans of the series will be familiar with Liam Castle, the enigmatic pub owner, and his story has been a long time coming! Of course, earlier on, I’d have put him with another Bunyip Bay character but it’s not to be and while I’m a little bit put out, Henrietta Forward easily becomes a new favourite character.

A lot of the times, I nit-picked certain details that aren’t quite pertinent to the story but it frustrates me a lot of the time that author mentioned it in passing but didn’t follow through. In Outback Secrets though, as soon as I thought of the question, it was resolved. My OCD-self appreciates this so very very much.

My favourite romance trope is BFF to lover but fake-dating is my second and I just love how Rachael Johns weaved that through Outback Secrets; and pssst, that’s not the only secret in town! Oh, it is also set around Christmas time so if you’re after a Christmas feel good read, pick this one!

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Review: Outback Ghost

outback ghost
Outback Ghost by Rachael Johns

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher

My first ever Rachael Johns and yes, I realised it’s the third instalment but as is the norm with rural romance, it really doesn’t signify too much if I don’t read the earlier books noting different characters. The series rather refer to the rural area in terms of setting. The reason that I picked this one up is because I can’t resist ghostly romances –so yes, totally judging the book by its title 😉

Stella is a very strong female character. She’s a single working mum to a Down Syndrome child who is continually feeling blessed with her beautiful little girl, Heidi. She’s looking forward to spoiling all her attention to Heidi this holiday but what she didn’t know was that none of the previous guests of the cottage had stayed for a full length of time. Each of them complained of inexplicable strange noises in the night. Stella grew up in rural setting herself and is made of sterner stuff until she heard the name of her daughter’s newest invisible friend…

Adam’s little sister went missing 20 years ago and he has never forgiven himself. This unsolved mystery has driven his family to the breaking point and there doesn’t seem to be a way back. It appears, however, that she insisted on being heard…

The romance was very very sweet and I love that. The one thing that I wasn’t keen on was what actually happened to Adam’s sister. It really wasn’t a great mystery if you’re a crime buff like me but I took objection to coming across this type of sad thing in a romance novel where I look for a light read. Despite this, I have enjoyed my first Rachael Johns’ and look forward to another!

Thanks, Harlequin Books Australia for copy of eARC via NetGalley

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