Author: Karly Lane
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Karly Lane is an Australian author I quite enjoy. There are gaps in my reading of her work but they are certainly books that are on my radar to catch up on one day when I have some time.
Six Ways to Sunday is a book that stands out, to me, in that it is a single timeline story with only one narrator. No dual perspective and no story of the past catching up with events in the present. There is nothing wrong with that but it stood out as different because what I can remember of Karly’s work off the top of my head is that a lot of her stories combine a tale of the past with the present, but maybe it was just the last one.
Rilee is our unlikely heroine, a city girl with big dreams and an even bigger determination to see them through. She didn’t factor Dan Kincaid into her plans and when the two meet there are big changes afoot. A whirlwind, largely long distance, relationship follows and the next thing Rilee knows she’s living in the small town of Pallaburra on the Kincaid property with her new husband… and in-laws.
Things definitely aren’t how she imagined them but Rilee is determined to make her dream of opening a naturopathy practice a reality, it may not be in Sydney but even small town folk need healing; that’s the theory anyway.
Rilee finds herself way out of her league in Pallaburra, she knew it wasn’t Sydney but it certainly isn’t what she expected. It seems that there is a lot in Pallaburra that hasn’t quite kept up with the times. Naturopathy is yet to be embraced and there’s still a pretty distinct class hierarchy in place, which comes as a massive surprise to Rilee.
Dan and Rilee are head over heels in love with each other but they weren’t expecting the honeymoon to be over quite so soon. Rilee is not what the Kincaids had in mind for a daughter-in-law and they aren’t shy about letting her know it, and a large part of the town seem to agree.
Rilee is strong willed, outspoken and determined so when she sees an issue that needs to be addressed in the small rural town she isn’t about to back down until something is done about it, even if it sees her get even further off-side with everyone she is trying to gain acceptance from.
Pallaburra is a small town filled with conservative Christians doing charitable work, for places far away from their very own small town. Some people are quite stand offish or wary of Rilee now that she’s a Kincaid but there are also friendly faces, and an awful lot of gossip.
Six Ways To Sunday is an entertaining tale of a young woman in love determined to do what she can to make a change for the vulnerable teens in a small town, regardless of how much it adds to her difficulty fitting in. She is passionate about her dreams, natural remedies and helping people; even when everyone around her is telling her to let things lie. She can’t sit by and watch if she knows there is something she can do.
Small town life might be a whole new world and a naturopathy clinic may take a little more work than envisaged to get started but maybe Pallaburra and Rilee just need a little bit of time to get to know one another; and realise they are a perfect match.
As always Karly’s characters are vivid and relatable, even the nasty ones are redeemable and her narrative offers a cheeky giggle on more than one occasion. Her newlyweds love the honeymoon phase and sneaky lunches at home but never with graphic and over the top description. The friendships are enviable and the relationships relatable.
This was a story that engaged me early and I didn’t want to put down. I loved the way Lane highlighted the plight of teens in the small town and tried to illustrate that there are still options available and it is important for even small towns to have access to comprehensive medical, nursing and government assistance. The fact that the closest doctor is over an hour away makes appointment prohibitive for hard-working farmers but also for the infirm and the unlicensed, it is important that they can still access important agencies and there are ways, with some legwork and determination, to get those services to town regularly.
Six Ways to Sunday reminds me why I love the writing of Karly Lane and leaves me waiting semi-patiently for her next release.
Six Ways To Sunday is book #54 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.