While The Burnt Country is the sequel to Joy Rhoades’s 2018 debut novel, The Woolgrower’s Companion, it can be read as a stand-alone book. After the death of her father, Kate Dowd is running her beloved sheep station Amiens alone, a difficult task at any time but even more so in post-war Australia where every man in the district is happy to tell her it’s no job for a woman.
However, the constant sexism is the least of her worries, with bush fires looming, her abusive estranged husband attempting to blackmail her, and the threat of the loss of the make-shift little family she has built for herself. If life is not complicated enough already, the lovely Luca has returned from Italy hoping to rekindle their fiery romance.
Rhoades really racks up the tension this time as the troubles mount up for Kate. The chapters are short and I stayed up late constantly telling myself “Just one more” as the farm teetered on the edge of disaster. Add in a dose of small town intrigue and a mystery to be solved and you’ll find The Burnt Country an excellent summer read.
GBC Reader Reviews