Title: Wish You Were Here
Author: Karly Lane
Published: December 2022
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Content warnings: Car accident (and injuries related to accident), death of sibling (cancer), mentions of suicide, firearms
I received a copy of Wish You Were Here from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A stunning new rural romance from the bestselling author with over 500,000 books sold.
Reggie McLeod is living the life she pursued overseas when she gets a phone call that her parents have been in a car accident. Racing back home to rural NSW to care for them, she and her brother take over the running of the family farm until the unthinkable happens to her brother. Three years later, Reggie’s still working on the farm, a far cry from the life that she first envisioned when she escaped the country life for the city. But when Tim Warbois rents one of the cabins on the farm property, she strikes up a friendship with the quiet man with his own demons in his past. As the two get closer, Reggie fights to prove to her family and her community that she has what it takes to manage the farm.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s always a great day when a new Karly Lane book is released. So much so that I saved reading this book for the first day when I knew I could sit and read, uninterrupted by life or work or any other thoughts that can often drag me out of book. Her books are always a reminder of a life very different to my own (city-slicker that I am) and way to experience that small town country life that I’ve only ever experienced in small doses.
Reggie was a great character to spend some time in the headspace of – she truly thought the career she pursued was the life she wanted to leave until she found herself back home. And, despite the tragedy and heartache-y reasons for why she came home, she’s found something she’s truly passionate about and wants to get better at. Even throughout all the frustrations she experiences throughout the story there’s a fighting spirit in her that I love to read about in female protagonists in books and made me want to see her succeed in all her great ideas for the farm. Similarly, learning about Tim, and his past, and his reasons for escaping into the wilderness was equally as compelling. He’s seen and lived through a lot and is dealing with grief for the loss of his found family and he finds peace in the countryside – something he didn’t think he would find. And for all the secrets he keeps, he’s willing to be there for Reggie when she needs a partner, which was fantastic.
Wish You Were Here has all the small town country vibes you could want in a closed door romance that has a whole lot of heart. (And yes, anytime the CWA was mentioned I started getting hungry, because what self-respecting Aussie wouldn’t?!) There’s an underlying mystery plot to do with the farm which provides most of the reason for the third act conflict – which was mostly an external conflict – and when all was said and I done I just wanted these characters to have their happily ever after because they deserved it.
I may have saved this book to read, but it was so worth it.