Rating: 5 stars out of 5
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.
NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart series became an instant comfort read when I first read it when it first came out in 2014. I adored the characters, the setting (it was one of my first Australian location stories), the differences in our cultures and, yes, the similarities, just everything! I was wombat crazy and red dirt heart in love!
Time passed and NR Walker became an auto read, her books a must buy. The Red Dirt Heart series always floating fondly there in her library waiting to be rec’d. Then came the audio version of NR Walker’s Spencer Cohen stories and Joel Leslie’s perfect narration, Aussie voice included. What leapt to mind? That I needed to listen to Joel Leslie narrating Red Dirt Heart in the worst way.
So back to the outback I went. Back to the lives of all the people at the Sutton Ranch and the hot red dirt landscape that captures their hearts and souls. And the readers too so quickly. I always had pictures of how Charlie and Trav looked fixed so firmly in my head, but now? Oh, my, with Joel Leslie taking such a firm, absolute grasp of NR Walker’s characters and story, here every favorite person burst back into life once more. Charlie with his distinct broad Aussie accent comes immediately into play and just listening to Charlie, his many inner monologues to his exchanges with Ma and his ranch hands, who he is as a person becomes crystal clear. You know Charlie now, more than ever before.
And its not just Charlie’s accent, but a multitude of australian accents that Leslie comes p with, all genders, as well as all ages. Then Trav arrives. All slow, warm, southern Texas drawl flowing out of his mouth….and boom! It’s as though Trav has walked through our doors, lively, unable to sit still, and more Trav, more three dimensional than I can remember. Red Dirt Heart is singing to me. The characters are bright, lively, passionate, and so real it hurts at times.
And this story! I remember now why I loved it so. Love it so. There’s Matilda, Ma and George, even the horses Shelby and Texas, plus the ranch hands that become a family. And alway, always, that red dirt soil and landscape that spreads like another major character across the novel and series that digs just as deep into your heart as everyone else.
You know what I found? I loved these stories even more. Joel Leslie and NR Walker are perfection, literary mates mean to be. And now its on to the rest of the series because you just can’t stop here.
Whether it’s your first time or the upteenth, go immediately for the audio version of the amazing Red Dirt Heart series and fall in love again or all over again. Tis the holidays. Treat yourself or someone you love. I can’t think of a better gift.
Cover art for this series has stayed with me so yes, love it.
5 hrs 7 mins
Audible Audio, Unabridged, 6 pages
Published July 4th 2016 by Love Lane Books (first published February 20th 2014)
Edition Language English
SeriesRed Dirt #1
Characters Charles Sutton, Travis Craig