Right as Rain by Tricia Stringer

In brief: Mackenna returns home lovelorn from a big trip overseas to confront sudden changes in her family and the farm. Will things ever work out in her favour?

The good: Lovely Aussie rural feel and several men for Mackenna to choose from.

The not-so-good: I would have liked to have seen more of the subplot involving Cam, particularly the final parts.

Why I chose it: From Harlequin, who know I don’t mind an Aussie rural romance or two.

Year: 2013

Pages: 387

Publisher: Harlequin Mira

Setting: Australia and New Zealand

My rating: 8 out of 10

As you’ve probably guessed, my reading tastes vary rather wildly. Sometimes it’s in relation to other commitments (I can’t read heavy, sombre books when I have exams or am doing extra shifts for example) and sometimes you just want a read that looks after you. Right as Rain by Tricia Stringer is one of those comforting, solid reads that entertains you and holds your attention without making unreasonable demands. I should have known from the start that this was going to be an enjoyable read, as Stringer won the RUBY Romance Writers of Australia award for her first book, Queen of the Road.

As you may have guessed by the cover, Right as Rain is an Aussie rural romance – but with so much more to it. There’s almost a love triangle (three men who initially all seemed like suitable choices) but the heart of the book is family. Mackenna loves working on the farm with her father – she’s got a life she enjoys. Taking some time out for a great overseas trip, she meets Adam in Queenstown, New Zealand. Adam seems like the kind of guy she’d be happy to settle down with – until he leaves unexpected on his motorbike. Mackenna returns home early, a little worse for wear, to find that chaos has disrupted the household. Her father’s had a heart attack, there’s a new workman living with them and her mother is acting strangely. Her brother Patrick has even taken time out from his beloved marketing job to help at the farm. Things are completely different and it takes some time to get things sorted…

I found that Right as Rain was very true to farm life – it’s a constant demand that doesn’t allow time off just because you’d like it. Stringer explains enough about crutching and drenching for readers to understand farm life, but doesn’t make it boring for those who are already familiar with the scene. The accounts, gates and sheds all made it a realistic trip down memory lane for me. I really liked how Stringer told it how it is on a farm. The subplots involving theft and Mackenna’s dream of a small restaurant at the farm were interesting, particularly the restaurant. It’s not something you see paired with rural farming fiction! The thief was fairly obvious to me but it was fun watching the characters work it out.

As for characters, Mackenna is a heroine who knows what she wants, but has a feminine softness underneath so she doesn’t seem too harsh. I really liked her and was eagerly awaiting her to make her choice of men! The three all had unique characteristics: Adam turned out not to be a complete rogue, Hugh was sensible and steady and Cam was a wildcard. Hugh gets quite a few pages devoted to his own problems – is there another book in the series? In contrast to the other male characters, he had many more scenes from his point of view.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I liked Mackenna’s mother, Louise. I feel that Stringer drew her to be clueless and unpleasant. She has the outdated attitudes of a chauvinistic male and she really can’t express her feelings, preferring to clamp her mouth in distaste. Her actions towards Mackenna gravitated from the baldly nasty to cruelly calculating. Her big revelation at the end didn’t really make me warm to her – Louise is an unhappy woman, determined subconsciously to make her daughter the same way.

This book would be a sound introduction into the world of rural fiction. Give it a go.

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