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Monday, May 12, 2008

Review: First Step

First Step
by Guilietta Jones

The Australian outback produces its share of characters. Known for his kind heart and bad habits, old-timer Ray is no exception. So when Ray decides to play matchmaker for his bachelor friend Jack, trouble won’t be far behind. Crafty old Ray isn’t satisfied simply thrusting Jack into the arms of Natalie, the district’s pretty new agricultural officer. Oh, no. He’s got a more devious scheme in mind for these two young people, and he’s not afraid to stretch the truth sideways to get them there. Natalie and Jack are in danger. From an old rogue on a mission.

Dust off your boots for a trip to the wilds of Australia in Guiletta Jones' "First Step."

This adventure/romance packs plenty of action and personality into a pretty tight frame. Brand-new Agricultural -inspector Natalie Jones assures herself that she'll adjust to the heat, the bugs, and the glare - but coping with the farm folks might be something of a challenge. Handsome Jack Savage, struggling to make a go of a ranch in rough times, seems completely inaccessible. Even the respected locals have trouble reaching him; why would Natalie think anything she did would make a difference? Still, she can't help thinking about him.

Real-time issues of drought and perhaps just a teensy bit of small town meddling give this tale an authentic ring. Jones' straightforward style and terse descriptions offer a very focused view of a certain kind of life, and the place. The place and the people as individuals are so believable, one wants the interactions between the two to be, perhaps, a trifle more plausible. Still, that aside, this is a very good read, and I'll be watching for Jones' next effort.

Review by Snapdragon