Monday, March 24, 2014

Review: Red Dirt Heart by N.R. Walker

Red Dirt Heart
by N.R. Walker
Published February 20th 2014
Formats Available: Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi), Adobe Acrobat

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Welcome to Sutton Station: One of the world’s largest working farms in the middle of Australia – where if the animals and heat don’t kill you first, your heart just might. 
Charlie Sutton runs Sutton Station the only way he knows how; the way his father did before him. Determined to keep his head down and his heart in check, Charlie swears the red dirt that surrounds him – isolates him – runs through his veins.
American agronomy student Travis Craig arrives at Sutton Station to see how farmers make a living from one of the harshest environments on earth. But it’s not the barren, brutal and totally beautiful landscapes that capture him so completely.
It’s the man with the red dirt heart.
Please note: This book is set in Australia, using Australian English and lingo.

I just loved this.

Red Dirt Heart is a cowboy story set in Australia and it reads the way an Aussie speaks. The language and slang are familiar and yet not, they have different terms for everything - well, at least to us. The way this was written, though, made it easy to follow and understand. Maybe because I am so used to Ms Walker's style of writing?

This is a story about a young man, Charlie Sutton, who owns and operates one of the largest stations on the planet. It is almost as big as or larger than some countries and there are only a few people to operate it. This is huge country and lonely, too. 

Charlie is lonely and alone. He chose to be this way because he was brainwashed to be so by his father. Thinking that no gay man can ever be man enough to be a real man of the outback, he had resigned himself to a life of lonely misery when Travis Craig, agronomy graduate, walks into the station and Charlie's heart.

Travis loves the land and he studied because of it. Hailing from Texas, he comes from a family who had lived and worked in cattle ranches for generations so he was no stranger to the saddle, dust and the huge beasts. He knew his way around and was confident. He was not as confident when it came to Charlie.

As the two men get to know each other in the allotted four weeks study program, they slowly come to realize they may loose more than gain from their hidden affair. Travis' leaving is a fact that Charlie refuses to face. When he nearly loses Travis, all coherent thought of hiding is blown with the wind and lost in the arid red dust of the Australian outback.

The two men's personalities are complete opposites. Charlie is quiet, reserved and a tough boss. Travis loves to laugh, has no filter to his thoughts and gets along well with the rest of the hands. When Travis enters the scene, it is only when the hands see that Charlie is not what he seems to be. Imagine! He actually laughs! What a strange thing!

True to the N.R. Walker style, there is no sappiness here, no cheesy morantic words that can set the heart to flutter and the body to cringe. It is always a matter of fact romance with a bit of drama and maybe a bit of angst to spice the tale. At the end of the tale, it is just pure romance where two men finally see the light and just accept their love for each other. I especially loved the symbolism of the hat hooks at the end of the read. It was perfect!

I am just a sucker for romances written in such a lazy and yet engrossing manner. I just loved the thought of these two young men meeting and finding love in the middle of a harsh land. It pushes the right buttons that sends me to smile secretly and I just feel deeply satisfied. It does not need to be a sappy book, it does not need to be an overly graphic erotic book, it just needs to be Just Right. 

Definitely a recommended read.

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