Western romance lovers will fall in love with “The Stockman’s Daughter” even though it’s set in Australia instead of the U.S. The cultural differences add an interesting element to what might otherwise be just another romantic trope.
Maddy Carmichael’s life has been the family ranch. As one of four daughters, she has done every job and worked tirelessly, always assuming she is the likely heir apparent to take over when their father dies or can no longer do the work. But her uncle brings in Ryder Leckie to manage the ranch while her father recuperates from an accident. Maddy makes no secret of her initial resentment and tries to sabotage the changes Ryder makes. Eventually she sees the changes are actual improvements and she begins working in partnership with Ryder. Their partnership soon becomes a deeper relationship and even though they know her father insists on a no fraternization policy, they give into their mutual attraction. Are they prepared for Ryder’s imminent return to his hometown? How will her father react when they openly declare their love for each other?
Author Jacquie Underdown has created characters to fit seamlessly into their down under environment, while embracing the cultural differences that might otherwise make us western readers stumble. The characters come to life in such a way that it feels like they’re old friends. The plot is well developed and the pacing never falters. There were occasions when I wished the author had included a brief definition or explanation of some of the terminology but decided in the end it would be more distracting. Suffice it to say that I’m looking forward to reading more of Ms. Underdown’s work. Four stars.
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