A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful…
Victoria, Australia, 1891
Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.
A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.
Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?
I was fascinated by the idea of a police man and a priest finding love in historical Australia. Especially when it was illegal for two men to be in a relationship with each other. The way Marsland worked them into the relationship, through their struggle of how to continue being with each other was beautifully written. It wasn’t just the imagery but their personalities that made this an enchanting reading. Johnah’s brashness and Matthew’s innocence, made me want to keep reading and find out where these two men ended up.
The romance aspect was tastefully done. It wasn’t just sex for the two men, it was more. The way Marsland wrote the intimate scenes showed that to her readers. It may have started out in a moment of stress but they time and the journey they took together proved that they found something in each other that you would only be lucky to find today.
I was worried about when the other shoe was going to drop but when it did, I was thankful for how ingenious Jonah was. The ending felt right and left me feeling hopeful for Jonah and Matthew. I so want to know how their lives ended up.
Would I recommend this to friends? Oh yes! So much so. This was beautifully written and full of love and hope. When I finished reading, I felt lighter. It was a great read and I would love to read more by Marsland in the future.
I received an ARC of By the Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Available for purchase November 20, 2017 Here