Rating: 3.75 stars
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Pete Mackenzie has spent his academic life chasing a historical whisper – the rumor of an undiscovered gold cache in the Australian Outback. After years of pouring over maps and geological surveys and combing through history books, Pete finally thinks he’s discovered the treasure of a lifetime. It isn’t the prospect of gold that stirs him, but solving a riddle that has baffled historians for years.
However, the gold is on land run by station owner, Scottie Pearce. Scottie and his family have been ranching for generations under brutal conditions, but their love for the land is unshakeable. When Pete comes to stay as a guest, he’s immediately taken with the immensity of the Outback and with Scottie himself. Making a life from the drought stricken red earth of Queensland isn’t for the faint of heart, yet Pete can’t help imagining something more than a few short weeks with Scottie. But when Scottie discovers the real reason for Pete’s venture into the Outback, the betrayal might be too much for their fragile relationship to withstand.
Outback Treasure is the first in the Pearce Station Duet and introduces readers to Scottie and Pete. The characters are relatively well rounded, but the romance is pretty weak. While the story failed to fully grab my interest, there’s still plenty here to enjoy.
Outback Treasure is one of those books that falls into the “just fine” category for me. It’s not terrible, but the plot doesn’t exactly jump off the page. It starts off strong enough and while Pete’s obsession doesn’t make a ton of sense, the author gives enough foundation for believability. The author also does a great job of introducing Pete to the Outback and making his love of the land seem genuine. I know what it’s like to fall in love with a wild place and in Pete and Scottie, readers have two characters that truly love the world around them. I think it’s safe to say that the Outback itself is just an important to the book as any of the human characters.
After the initial set up, Outback Treasure turns into a story of convenience. Pete and Scottie seem to fall for one another almost immediately, but I didn’t sense any real spark between them. Instead, it felt as though it was just easy for both men to hook up under the circumstances. It was pretty uninspired. Additionally, I’m not sure why Pete’s reasoning for visiting the station in the first place ended up being so shocking. He applied for a license to prospect on the property, but just decided to visit the station before actually speaking to the owners? That didn’t make much sense and, as a result, the whole betrayal seemed like a huge stretch. Obviously plot contrivances are a fact of fiction, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them.
Outbreak Treasure does a good job of setting up believable characters whose vested interest in the land around them really resonated with me. The romance is weak and didn’t wow me and, while there is another book in the series, I’m not sure what kind of character growth might actually occur. If you enjoy books with a strong since of place, then Outback Treasure is worth checking out.