At 25 Hank owns a small parcel of land in Australia's rural southwest where he supplements his income from the property with seasonal shearing. Hank is a "shearing gun" - an ace shearer able to shear large numbers of sheep in a single day. His own father kicked him out when his sexuality was revealed, and since no one would ever hire a gay shearer, Hank has remained firmly closeted ever since.
Elliot is the newbie doctor in town - city born and somewhat shell-shocked from his transplant to the country. When a football injury brings Hank to Elliot's attention, an inappropriate sexual glance and the stuttered apology afterward kick-starts their friendship. Romance and love soon blossom, but it's hard for either of them to hope for anything permanent. As if the constant threat of being caught isn't enough, Elliot's contract runs out after only a year.
©2014 Renae Kaye (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
"It's practically perfect in every way!"
Okay so, full disclosure? I've now read this ten times. I know, I know...ten times?! Yes...well, nine actually reading and ten with the audio listen. For me, this gets better every time I read it. So what I'm trying to say here is I am not unbiased. At all. It's all about the bias up in here.
We'll start out with me gushing a bit about Dave Gillies' performance: I thought he did an excellent job with the many character voices, the timing, humor and heat. I'm looking forward to listening to this story again and again until I can quote it ad nauseam!
Don't look at me like that. Look, it's just that I love Hank and Elliot, ok?
Hank is a genuine down to earth, no pretense kind of guy. When he first meets Elliot he's not hugely impressed with either his looks or his bedside manner. When he returns for a follow-up he realizes the doc is a bit easier on the eyes than he first thought and catches Elliot checking him out. You know, in that way. When Elliot apologizes, Hank accepts (without revealing his own sexual preferences) and they strike up a friendship. Because Hank has one rule: No fishing in your own backyard.
It's only when Elliot catches Hank in a club in the city that Hank even admits to being gay.
He thrust his hands on his hips. “Perhaps a few words like, ‘Hey, I’m gay too,’ when someone comes and apologizes to you and begs you not to tell anyone. Shit! No wonder you took it so well. Were you laughing at me the whole time?”
I frowned. “Of course not. You’re gay—so what? It doesn’t have anything to do with me. Just the same as my queerness is none of your business.”
Once Hank's secret is out their friendship deepens, and then evolves. I'll admit this is a bit of a slow burn, which is actually part of what I love about it because it makes their relationship seem so genuine and real (and pretty honest for the area they're living). Once they finally "get together" there are several sexy scenes that are definitely fan-yourself worthy, which makes the wait totally worth it, and I love the humor and the supporting characters. All of this combined makes a recipe for a brilliant, sweet, romance. Nothing ever feels over the top or inauthentic.
In short...this is pretty close to perfection for me. Well, as close as "damnit" is to swearing.
It's practically perfect in every way.
This is a story that stays with me long after I read it, leaving only warm memories behind. I do not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wants to enjoy a low angst, sexy romance novel.
Warning: It may make you crave Pavlova.
"Such a fun story with fantastic narration!"
Hank gets hurt playing “footy” and meets Elliot. There is some instant attraction, but Hank ignores it because he doesn’t “fish where he lives”. Hank fears being gay bashed like his uncle was and only goes to the city for anonymous sex and has resigned himself to a life of hook-ups and no real relationships.
Elliot the Quack (called by Hank, then turned into Quack Elliot, then Quakel) comes out to Hank but accepts that Hank is “straight” and becomes a good friend. Even once Hank is accidentally outed to Quackel the two are reluctant to start something up in their small, rural town, though the attraction is simmering between them.
As time goes by the reasons for not “fishing” get murkier and murkier until suddenly Hank was thinking about “fishing” but in fact he was already “hooked”.
I can’t say enough positive things about this book. It is funny, sweet, sexy, touching, a teeny bit angsty and just fun to read.
The Australian dialect is hilarious in the hands of the wooley headed sheep farmer and even Elliot has to translate sometimes to keep things clear.
The fishing theme is so well done! It gives Hank this way to think about his attraction to Elliot in this non-sexual way that ends up being totally emotional. Lines like “Suddenly fishing was my favorite pastime” or “I was a born again fisherman. “ And “Although fishing wasn’t all smooth sailing. Fishing trips got canceled at the last minute…”or “It seemed that the fish in my backyard were leaping from the pond onto my fishing rod”. I just loved them! So well used and imaginative and absolutely in character for Hank who is secure in his sexuality, mostly, but can barely get the words “I’m gay” out when the time calls for them.
The relationship between Elliot and Hank is magical. It’s such a slow burn as seen through Hank’s eyes. At first Elliot barely blips on his radar. Then, bit by bit, he grows on him, and suddenly what was sort-of attractive becomes beautiful. He’s now worrying about Elliot leaving him and wondering how he’s going to live alone for the next 25 years without him. Gah! So touching and sweet!
Meanwhile Elliot is just quietly persistent, he may have an end game in mind, but you’d never know it. He just does his thing, not hiding, not pushing, just being there, until now he’s a vital part of the community, of Hank’s life, everything.
I have really enjoyed all of Renae Kaye’s other books and this one tops them all.
I highly recommend this and give it 6 of 5 hearts, because I just want to go back and re-read it already!
Having David Gillies read this was outstanding! He did an amazing job with it and I really loved listening to his accent since this book was so FULL of local flavor.
I absolutely think this added to the overall experience and made a great book that much more enjoyable!
6 of 5 stars
"Wonderful story and excellent performance"
Thank you -- an Australian performing a story based in Australia!!! This is another great story from Renae Kaye. Elliot and Hank are a wonderful couple and their story if filled with humor, romance and a little drama; all in perfect rhythm. It is told from Hank's POV and Hank is just a hoot. I love the way his mind works and his one liners had me laughing out loud. Hank is a farmer who is also a master sheep shearer or Shearing Gun. He is in the closet as he doesn't think it is safe to be "out" in his small town. Eliot is a new doctor who is trying to escape his rich, controlling mum and be his own man. Their journey together is wonderful. The narrator does an amazing job bringing these men to life. Highly recommended.
"Hank & El, Super Sweet"
Just love the narrator, love the accent, love the story line - Renae Kaye writes very well for this genre. Hank & El were just a natural fit from the beginning. I love how Renae makes you feel you could know these people.
Well, maybe to Red Dirt Hearts (N.R. Walker) my favorite series... as that is also set in Australia, is M/M genre and has Joel Leslie narrating so close to this narrator. I love the stories of ordinary people who feel deeply and how they work out happiness, as I said, I love the accent, love the people who come to love unexpectedly.
there are several...probably when Hank allowed El to love him.
The same scene, Hank and El both came to know that they truly needed each other in body and in spirit.
I like writers who don't explain every detail and yet, give you enough, I love authors that get inside your head and their writing just flows - N.R. Walker is such a Writer, Rhonda Riley, Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati, J.R. Ward, James Patterson in Sams Letters to Jennifer and several others I can think of, and now Renae Kaye - I may make it sound like it's not a rare quality, but I'm a voracious reader, and Audible listener - and Renae has it - the Blinding Light was beautiful and I love this one too!
"Loved this story"
I really love this author's work and I especially enjoyed this story about life in the bush, in Australia. It was very different, was entertaining, and I recommend it to anyone wanting a good story and nice romance.
"Aussie Aussie Aussie"
I bought this book 'cause the review promised an aussie story read by a real aussie. Turns out, I much prefer american's trying to do the aussie accent. My biggest gripe is the doctor's voice. Dr Elliot Stocktan Montgomery is voiced like a vapid little twink - totally at odds with the character in the book. Other than that, it's great. Swot up on your aussie slag, cause it's time to feed chooks mate.
"nice story, but the fake accent ... Fail"
The story itself was nice, Hank and Elliott were fun. But the narration... if you want an Australian accent, have a 'real' Australian do the narration. It may not be an issue if you're not an aussie, but for me, I spent half the book cringing. There were plenty of words mis-pronounced, and a lot of subtlety lost because the narrator was clearly unfamiliar with the correct intonation, cadence etc.
Sadly I spent most of the book almost managing to ignore the bad accent, until he said something else ridiculous, which either left me shaking my head or laughing in disbelief.
this was very cute and low on angst
the characters were very good.
the setting was good.
narration was ok too.
It would probably rank around the middle of the audiobooks I've listened to in this genre.
Renae is an amazing author. She has written some of my all time favorite books, so this one really doesn't stand up to those other ones.
His narration for this book is great, Elliot's voice was by far my favorite. Dave Gillies definitely does my favorite narration for Renae Kaye's books. His accent and character voices mesh perfectly with her writing style.
In general, I'm not a huge fan of the Rural/ Cowboy/ Farmer M/M story, so thats probably part of the reason this book wasn't really my cup of tea.
I will have to read this book I could not listen past the second chapter as the narrator was very distracting! : ( When I finish reading the book I will update my review.
"Sweet and Unexpected"
It's a lovely book, perfectly balanced and a great love story! The two men are the cutest and their responses are believable and considered, rather than stupid and there purely for story as some books can be.
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