The Wrong Callahan Review

Title: The Wrong Callahan (The Callahan’s of Stringybark Creek #1)
Author: Karly Lane
Published: December 2018
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Adult
Genre: Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★
RRP: $29.99 AUD
Warnings: PTSD, assault

I received a copy of The Wrong Callahan from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It had been two long years since Lincoln Callahan had stood in front of the gates to Stringybark Creek. He was in the army then – a lifetime ago. Linc had always been the unsettled Callahan, looking for danger, the one who couldn’t wait to leave the family farm.

Linc’s little brother, Griffin, was the dependable son, the one who stayed at home, the one who did the right things. And, now, the one who has feelings for rebellious city girl, Cash Sullivan.

When Linc locks eyes with Cash at a family dinner, their swift attraction floors him. But Cash is his brother’s girlfriend … what is he thinking?

As Linc, Griff and Cash form an uneasy triangle, each of them have personal demons to face before they can open their hearts.

I can sum up The Wrong Callahan in a simple, but true Twitter story:

I sat down on a beautiful Saturday evening to read The Wrong Callahan, read the first chapter and immediately had to leave my apartment, go to the grocery store across the road and buy myself scones. Because how can you read about country afternoon tea with scones without eating scones?

(Simple answer, you can’t!)

Suffice to say, I enjoyed this book immensely.

I am the first to admit that I never would have thought I would be a good fit for books like this – Aussie rural romances – but I’ll be the first to eat my own words and say that I’ve really fallen in love with them. There’s just something about reading a book set in your own country, in land that you recognise, with characters that you’ve met over and over in your lifetime that just grips me from start to finish.

Lincoln Callahan returns to his family’s farm, Stringybark Creek, for Christmas and his younger sister’s wedding. Retired from the army and working in risk management assessment for travellers, he’s got the time off to spend with his family and help out his father and younger brother, Griffin, who stayed to manage the family’s property. While he’s home he meets Cash, the new neighbour that Griffin has developed feelings for, and the instant the two meet, there’s a connection, which threatens to destabilise Lincoln’s relationship with his brother.

Now, usually I’m not the biggest fan of the love triangle trope, but The Wrong Callahan lays everything on the table at the beginning of the novel and unpacks the way that adults deal with being caught between unwanted attention and mutual attraction, with all the characters exploring the way their actions will impact on others.

I also appreciated the complexity of all the characters, and the secrets they all have that they believe will undermine them in the eyes of their loved ones. It contrasts beautifully with the warm and openness of Lincoln’s parents (who I just wanted to hug the entire time) – who are pillars of their small-town community, running every volunteer organisation you can think of, while opening their home to family, friends and neighbours.

It was also great to see how Lincoln’s siblings were also complex and dealing with their own issues. Being an adult isn’t easy, and having spent a lot of time apart from his family, Lincoln notices that something is off between his siblings, but he’s almost an outsider to what’s going on and reading from his POV helps highlight how uncomfortable families can be at times.

As for Lincoln and Cash? I just love them. They’re both so eager to finally commit to something, and yet so scared to do it at the same time. They had chemistry in spades, and yet, they were constantly holding things back from each other. It certainly made for an interesting will-they-won’t-they? read.

I don’t have words to describe exactly how excited I am to read the second book in this trilogy next year. I loved being on Stringybark Creek with the Callahan family and just want to dive back into it.

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