Author: Lisa Ireland
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Blurb: When a smooth-talking, sophisticated city girl comes striding into town on her stiletto heels, he’s the last person who wants to notice…
When Jenna McLean gets roped into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town, she holds no illusions of meeting the man of her dreams. A no-nonsense magazine editor, Jenna doesn’t believe in leaving love to chance, which is why she’s developed Marriage Material – a fool-proof framework for husband hunting. Shearers and farmhands need not apply.
Sheep grazier Luke Tanner has met women like Jenna before, and knows not to waste his time. With the drought dragging on and bushfire season around the corner, the last thing he needs is a spoiled city girl like Jenna adding to his problems. He’ll help out with the ball because it’s good for the community, but he won’t dance, he won’t flirt, and he definitely won’t be matched.
It’s been a long dry season, but everyone knows when it rains, it pours.
Thoughts: Jenna McLean is a magazine editor in Melbourne and a true city girl. When she learns that her ex is engaged, her best friend talks her into attending a matchmaking ball in a small country town. She knows that farmers aren’t marriage material and is under no illusion that she will be meeting the man of her dreams in the country.
Luke Tanner is helping his brother’s wife, Maggie, with the ball and willing to do whatever it takes to make it a success to help their dying local community. When Jenna and Luke meet, the attraction is instant, but Jenna assumes that Maggie is Luke’s wife and instantly dislikes him. Luke has tried to date city girls before and it never turns out well. When Maggie announces that the Tanners will be housing Jenna and her best friend for the weekend, Jenna and Luke are pushed together more than either of them expected.
The attraction between Jenna and Luke becomes more powerful each time they are together, but what can come of it other than a fling? Jenna is a city girl and Luke s connected to the farm. When things start to feel resolved, everything is thrown out the window when Jenna’s best friend is injured, Maggie goes into labor and bushfire season rears its ugly head.
I really enjoyed the immediate chemistry between Luke and Jenna. Jenna’s assumption about Maggie is understandable, but added an interesting spin. Jenna did get on my nerves at several points. I’m not a fan of country music either, but her reaction to Luke on stage in a country music band wasn’t pleasant. Luke and Jenna made their own barriers when all they really needed to do was talk to each other. I liked Maggie’s interference and pushing.
As an American, I can’t understand why Jenna’s best friend was hospitalized for so long. I am not sure if this is standard for Australia, but I was shocked at the need to keep her in hospital for a week for pretty minor injuries. This was a hmmm moment for me. It did seem like quite a bit was going on at the end and it felt chaotic.
I appreciated the way Jenna’s character was redeemed a bit in the end. She stepped up and did what was needed. I really liked Luke. He was hardworking, protective and caring the entire book. His back story was pretty interesting and he sacrificed a lot to make up for his “mistakes”. The same way that Maggie needed to emotionally evolve, Luke let go of his past in order to have a future.