Fiona McArthur has written another wonderful outback romance which encompasses an outback opal mining town full of wonderful Aussie characters.
In this opal mining town of Lightning Ridge, some people live in the hope they will find the perfect opal, some, like Riley’s mum Adelaide, have become hooked on the whole opal mining process and love the freedom digging their mine gives them. I loved that Adelaide after retiring found something that interested her and decided to follow her heart and do something completely out of character; buying a property in Lightning Ridge with a tin shack and an old opal mine. I liked that she didn’t let her husband’s lack of interest stop her, she knew what she needed and she did it, hoping her husband would join her, but unwilling to live a life of boredom to stay with him.
Riley, an obstetrician and fertility specialist decides she needs to talk sense into her mum on behalf of her dad (never a good idea) and takes up a locum position for a month in Lightning Ridge whilst also using it as an opportunity to run fertility clinics for the women in the community and surrounds. Just as there is a lack of medical care and mental health services in the outback, Riley and the local GP Konrad find out just how needed her clinics are and how many families there are who want to start a family, but can’t and have no easy access to a fertility specialist.
Mel, a young local lady who is struggling with PTSD and has been given a safe space to heal and live by Konrad as his medical receptionist, pulled at my heartstrings with her story and her lack of belief in herself. Big changes are underway for her with a surprise pregnancy and unexpected support from the ladies. Riley and Konrad also both play important roles in helping Mel come into her own.
I really like the way Fiona McArthur brings attention to the needs and struggles of these remote communities, I always learn something new when I read her novels.
I really liked local GP Konrad Grey and liked the way Riley and Konrad connected and how they both changed in the short time they knew each other, each allowing the other to see and experience things they had been missing.
The cast of side characters in Lightning Ridge was wonderful, from crusty old Cyrus, a man who seems to have forgotten what personal hygiene is, to Desiree who knows everything that is going on and the ladies of the Friday night get-togethers who are there to support each other and the rest of the community and Toby, a young man who is going through a lot and barely keeping it together. All of these people make for a great read, one I couldn’t put down until the early hours of the morning.
Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.