Rating: 3 stars out of 5
It’s the mid 1800s and Colin Lancaster is being groomed to attend Cambridge and then come back to his family’s estate to take his rightful place. But Colin has a secret—he wants to be like the family’s stablemaster, Patrick Callahan, and not for his care of horses. Colin spied Patrick years earlier as Patrick mounted another man, and ever since then, Colin has dreamed of the same happening to him.
When Patrick is caught with his pants down, Colin’s father has no choice but to condemn him to death—the punishment for sodomy. But Colin intervenes, declaring himself as a sodomite and circumstances shift quickly. Both Colin and Patrick are given a reprieve of sorts, and instead of death, they are sentenced to serve their time in Australia. After an amazingly difficult sea voyage, during which Patrick survives typhoid due to Colin’s care, they are assigned to a widow who is heading inland to claim the land she and her husband purchased sight unseen.
This story is very rich in description of the Australian outback, so much so, that it was very easy to picture the conditions under which Colin became a stockman, learning to ride and rope, and later, learning to appreciate his new life circumstances. Patrick, on the other hand, resented being there and did not want to find the positives about the experience. He had resisted Colin on all fronts, until finally giving in and having sex with the younger man on shipboard, and later again in Australia, when they found opportunities to slip away from the others.
Patrick was the antihero in this story and not interested in romance at all, so it was difficult to like his character, and it was, therefore, difficult to label this a romance. The story was more of a sexual conquest with a lot of romantic angst on Colin’s part but quite a bit of indifference and simple sexual need on Patrick’s part.
There were also a few difficult-to-believe circumstances. Okay, there were a lot of difficult-to-believe circumstances and plot points—everything from the widow who drove three men and 500 herd of cattle onto land they’d never seen through a hostile neighbor’s property to their own—property marked by a simple red rag on a stick. Hypothetically, if the neighbor who owned a mega property didn’t really want them there—and we learn later that he didn’t—couldn’t he have yanked that rag off the stick?
Then there was the issue of Colin’s and Patrick’s status as criminals, or not, and more issues related to the widow and Robbie, the other stockman. I’m trying to be vague here so I don’t give away plot points, but the reality for me was that the story veered quite a bit from the realism I expected. And though I know this is fiction, I had to suspend belief quite a few times in the latter part of the story. Or perhaps I’m too much of a skeptic.
In any event, I loved Colin’s character, his joie de vivre, his persistent positive attitude, and appreciation for the land. Loyal and steadfast, he never veered from his heart’s desire. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Patrick. So, although I enjoyed the story, I didn’t enjoy it as much as previous stories from this author, and that was disappointing.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes historical romance and those who appreciate a story set in Australia during the time of the early settlers. But I caution this author’s followers, who like me, may have been expecting another Semper Fi or Beyond the Sea. This one isn’t it.
Cover art by Dar Albert features a sexy stockman standing in front of a grassy area populated by kangaroos, with a semi-transparent face superimposed over the background sky. This must represent Patrick as the stockman and Colin as the face in the background. Definitely not my favorite cover, I think it would have been better without that extra superimposed face.
Sales Link: Amazon
Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 188 pages
Published January 18th 2018 by KA Books (first published October 5th 2010)
Original TitleThe Station