Book Club: Walking The Line

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Author: Mandy Magro
ISBN: 9781489210609
RRP: $29.99

Charlize Dawson is a talented Sydney reporter working through the fallout of an adulterous marriage. She is grieving, she is angry and she is sick of the constant attempts at contact by her cheating husband.  Charlize needs some space to work through her feelings and that is something Alistair won’t let her have. Her boss at The Insider also happens to be an old family friend and he puts her forward for a promotion, if she takes a week to head to a country town to interview cowboy Dallas Armstrong who is working towards becoming crowned the Australian Bull Riding Champion. She is a city girl through and through which makes the whole idea of living in the sticks for a week quite daunting for her, but this promotion is what she’s been working towards her entire career so she has to give it a shot.


Dallas Armstrong is a bull riding champion, farmer and loving son. We meet him early on as he struggles to digest things he has overheard and the tragic death of his father. He is suffering through his grief and his guilt as he tries to stay strong for his mum. He is kind and sensitive and not sure he likes the idea of being interviewed for a Sydney paper.

The characters are well drawn and I could feel their grief. There is an element of suspense running through the story and it isn’t resolved until close to the end. I kept waiting and waiting thinking it was about to be revealed but it was kept under wraps quite well.

I did find it all to be a little predictable and could see what was going to happen but I still enjoyed the slow unfolding. There was a scene quite close to the end that I found very difficult to suspend disbelief for and it did mar my enjoyment of the closing chapters. I don’t believe that these characters would actually have it play out like that so it didn’t feel genuine.

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The romance is all encompassing in Walking the Line; as well as the chemistry between Charlize and Dallas we are treated to the very sweet romances of other couples. Magro managed to tell the story of Reg and Nancy, Dallas’s grandfather and late grandmother, and Dallas’s parents. Both his mum and his grandfather are widowers still grieving the loss of their spouse, still feeling the loss intensely regardless of the passage of time and we are treated to their love stories and the enduring nature of some loves. The kind of love many of us aspire to and hope to find for ourselves.

I like the storyline and the flow of Walking the Line, the characters are endearing and watching city girl Charlize begin to embrace her time on the farm was a joy. She was sure she would struggle out of ‘civilisation’ but found that Grenfell wasn’t quite the end of the earth she was expecting. She found a sense of belonging and embraced the spaces, the animals and the people in a way she hadn’t expected.

I quite like Mandy Magro’s stories but there is something about them that makes it difficult for me to be completely enthralled and in love with her storytelling. I’m not quite sure I can explain what it is. The bones of the story are great, the characters I can completely feel but there’s something a little simplistic about the method of storytelling that holds me at a bit of a distance. I have loved all of the stories I have read that Magro has created but they haven’t completely enchanted me.

All in all Walking the Line is a beautiful story of love in all its forms, it’s also an interesting look at farming and rodeo with quite a bit of country music thrown in. Lovers of the rural genre are sure to get a kick out of the latest by bestselling Australian author Mandy Magro.

Walking the Line is published by Harlequin Mira and available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Mandy Magro can be followed on Facebook and her Website.

Walking the Line is book #61 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading Walking the Line so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

19 thoughts on “Book Club: Walking The Line

  1. Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the book Walking the Line by Mandy Magro.

    Dallas Armstrong is a farmer, and a rodeo bull rider who is aiming to become the Australian champion. Dallas discovers a secret about his father on the same day his father dies in a car accident. The farm needs money and his Mum agrees for a city journalist to come and stay and write an article on Dallas. Dallas is not happy about this as the journalist is female, he has a poor view of city women.

    Charlize Dawson is a successful city journalist whose marriage is a mess She needs to workout if she should give her cheating husband another chance. She doesn’t want this assignment, but the week away should help her come to a decision . She has a poor view of the country, the towns, the people and presumes Rodeo riders are arrogant cowboys.

    They are both in for a shock when they meet as they share a connection and chemistry.

    The book shows Australian country life as it is. The hardships, the close community and the friendliness and generosity of country people. It takes you to the Rodeo world.

    We follow the developing friendship between Charlize and Dallas, Will it develop into love? Will they overcome their city girl / country boy differences. What is the shocking secret about Dallas father ?

    The book is easy to read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a romantic story!

  2. ‘Walking the line’ is an easy to read story with likeable characters. I thought the story was good, but not great. I know there is a formula for writing books (everything is happy and going well, then there is a problem and then a solution), but I found that this was a bit too formula based for me. As I was reading I kept thinking ‘the problem must be coming up soon everything’s going too good’. I know it’s just a story, but how many people meet the love of their lives and realise that and know everything about them and are willing to change their whole way of life after only knowing that person for a week? Apart from that, it was interesting to read about Charlize’s thoughts about country life, although once she got to the country she seemed to adapt pretty quickly. As for Dallas, it was interesting to read about the bull riding sign of things which is something I knew nothing about.

    I think this would be a good summer holiday read when you just want to read and relax and don’t have too many expectations for the storyline. Thank you Beauty and Lace for letting me review this book >:o)

  3. A great read and not your average “romance” novel.
    That is how I would describe Walking the Line by Mandy Magro.
    Our main characters are Dallas , who is a farmer and bull rider . Due to unfortunate circumstances Dallas finds out about a family secret and due to the farm desperately needing money agrees to an interview with a female journalist from the city.
    Charlize is that journalist .
    Neither has a great view of each others backgrounds but that changes after they meet each other.
    A great view into Australian rural life , Walking the Line is a lovely easy read that I would highly recommend to put on your Christmas holidays or Summer reading lists this year.
    Thankyou to Beauty and lace and Harlequin for allowing me to read and review this most enjoyable book.

  4. Charlize Dawson is recently separated from her cheating husband, Alistair.
    She is a fashion columnist, and her boss is a friend of the family from way back. He offers her a story that could potentially see Charlize get promoted to managing editor. But she will need to spend a week in Rollingstone Ridge, a rural property in the town of Grenfell, NSW, where cowboy Dallas Armstrong resides, with his mother and his grandfather.
    Dallas is a professional bull rider and will be featured in an upcoming nude calendar to raise funds for drought victims, and it is Charlize’s job to interview him about it.
    After a few hiccups along the way, Charlize arrives at the property and is welcomed warmly by Katherine, Dallas’s mother. Katherine was such a likeable character; definitely one of my favourites throughout the story.
    Katherine is grieving the death of her husband Mick, who was involved in a car accident only months ago, But there are secrets to be uncovered…

    Whilst it’s evident that Charlize and Dallas are attracted to each other very early on in the story, and felt highly predictable, it was still enjoyable to read.
    There were some parts in the story that I just didn’t like as they felt too fake, or too unlike what the character would do. For example, on the week away, Charlize only contacts her best friend/roommate once from memory, but at the beginning, and also the end of the story, Charlize is so close to her. I felt that Charlize would’ve made more of an effort to contact her best friend, especially being unfamiliar with the property and Dallas and his family.
    Overall, the story was rather enjoyable, escpecially if you are a fan of rural romance.

  5. Firstly a big shout out to Harlequin for donating ‘Walking the Line’ to Beauty and Lace which enabled me to be one of the lucky reviewers.

    It is with somewhat mixed feelings that I write this review. Mandy Magro tells a compelling love story in her ‘Walking the Line’ book. However I found the predictability of the story line very evident.

    Bubbly, capable and loyal city journalist Charlize Dawson is sent out to ‘the bush’ in NSW to do a feature on country boy and upcoming Australian Rodeo Champion in Dallas Armstrong. Charlize is recovering from a broken heart, being recently cheated on by her Dr husband.

    Sparks fly from their initial meeting and we’re left with the typical falling in love scenario, but this couple not committing to a relationship until Charlize reaches a decision on her troubled marriage.

    Emotional turmoil surrounds the Armstrong family due to the recent death of Dallas’ father.
    We also encounter the familiar story line of city girl meeting country boy and wondering how their differing lives could possibly gel to develop into a successful relationship. Hearts are torn, the tyranny of distance and fractured lives separate the two after Charlize’s initial one week sojourn to ‘the bush’.

    One aspect I found particularly annoying in this book was the reference to the term cowboys to describe country men. Being a country girl myself this term is so ‘American’ and out here in the country the term cowboy tends to refer to an obnoxious womaniser. I also found the use of the word ‘yup’ really overdone. Again I relate it to being more of an ‘American’ term. In country NSW you’d say ‘yep’. Perhaps the author is trying to relate to overseas readers.

    Mandy Magro does a lovely job presenting in detail the lovely characters and their developing personalities; from the close nit family circle surrounding Dallas to the country people themselves of Grenfell.

    There was a twist to the story line towards the end of the book which created a much needed divergence and added interest to the book.

    Overall it was a nice read. Not one of my favourite books but Mandy Magro did present a believable aspect of life and living in the country.

  6. Walking the line was the first book I have read by Mandy Magro. It is a nice story about Charlize who is recently separated from her flirty unfaithful husband. She is a reporter for a newspaper and her boss sends her up country to supervise the creation of a Farmer’s Calendar. She is accommodated by Dallas Armstrong and his mother, and despite her initial reservations about going to do this story she is warmly welcomed by the family. Dallas is vying for the title of Australian bull riding champion, a title which his late father once held. His father died in a car accident and Dallas blames himself for the accident, but Charlize discovers that all is not what it seems, and being a reporter is keen to get to the truth.

    Sparks immediately fly between Charlize and Dallas, but as she is still married, she cannot betray her husband. I loved the storyline which was told very well by Mandy. Dallas’s mother Katherine and grandfather Reg both have lovely storylines as well.

    This will definitely appeal to any lovers of rural romance or womens fiction. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. I will definitely be seeking out more titles by this author!

  7. Walking the Line by Mandy Magro is another great read by this talented writer.
    City girl travels to the country tobwrite an artical she hopes will get her the promotion she has worked harx for years towards.
    She is doing an artical on a cowboy who is striving towards wining the Australian Bullriders Campionship. As was his father.
    The father with a dark secret that his son Dallas is doing his best to keep it that. A secret.
    While Charlize is reporting on what makes Dallas tick, the sparks fly between them.
    City girl – Country boy.
    Charlize unwittingly uncovers the secret that will rip Dallas family apart.
    Reveal the secret, lose the man.
    Keep quiet on the secret, potentially lose her job.
    Magro has written supurb descriptions of the scenery, country living, mateship, love, lust and betrayal.
    Great read for lovers of Rural Romance and this book will appeal to many.
    Thank you so much for allowing me to read this wonderful book.

  8. I have not read any books written by Mandy Magro before but will most definitely be reading more now as I really enjoyed this one, especially as it is set in Australia. I have also never been to a rodeo and thought that it was actually cruel to the bulls, but after reading this novel, have certainly changed my mind, as it is explained that the bulls are very well looked after and love performing.
    This story is about Charlize a journalist from Sydney who has discovered that her husband of 7 months Alistair is cheating on her and she is completely devastated by this. Her boss, who is also a good friend, sends her for a week to a farm at Grenfell, near Parkes in NSW, to give her time to sort out her future and also to interview a champion bull rider Dallas, who is aspiring to become the Australian bull riding champion. Mick the father of Dallas was killed in a tragic car accident several months earlier and Dallas is harboring a secret about his father and certainly does not want a journalist uncovering this, so is reluctant to be interviewed.
    I do not want to spoil the book for others by disclosing any more of the story.
    I most definitely recommend this novel which is full of mystery and suspense and would like to thank both Harlequin and Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read and review it.

  9. I really enjoyed “Walking the Line” and thank Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read and review it. Mandy Magro writes with such an easy to read style with characters who come to life that the reading is very enjoyable. I loved the way she created the characters so that you felt that you knew and loved all but one. Yes, reality did suspend itself at times but that didn’t stop the overall enjoyment of the book.

    I am always pleased when I am able to recommend a book by an Australian author, especially an Australian woman and while “Walking the Line” isn’t one of the best books I’ve read it is well worth reading. The female characters are lovely with some exceptions and the relationship between Charlize and Dallas’s Mum, Katherine is beautiful and believable. The love story of Reg, Dallas’s Grandfather who has lost his wife who was the love of his life is beautifully drawn as background. I really enjoyed the way the story flowed and ended with loose ends tied up. Charlize and Dallas become real and the situation with such different backgrounds is well done.

    All in all, I agree completely with Michelle’s excellent review with reality suspension in parts but still found the book completely enjoyable. I definitely recommend the reading and following up on other Mandy Mangro books.

  10. There are a great line up of female Aussie writers in the popular and ever expanding rural romance genre and Mandy Magro, author of Walking the Line, is a solid fixture on this genre.

    Magro’s eighth and latest novel, Walking the Line, combines journalism with country life and professional bull riding. The book opens with a cracking prologue, delivering a secret and a line of suspense that runs throughout the bulk of the novel, guaranteed to keep the pages turning. It involves the hero of the story, Dallas, who uncovers a shocking secret about his Father. Unfortunately, the very same day, Dallas’ Father tragically dies in a car crash. This secret is not divulged to the reader, which kept me invested in the storyline, until the big reveal at the close of the novel. Naturally, Dallas and his family are consumed by grief but they still need to keep their farm afloat. To raise much needed funds for their property, Dallas and his Mother agree to an interview written by a city journalist. In this article, the journalist delves into Dallas’ life as an aspiring bull riding champion. Dallas and some locals are also raising funds for drought relief by posing for a naked calendar. When city girl Charlize comes to cover the story, she gets more than she bargained for. The news article ends up taking a very different direction and sparks immediately fly between the still married Charlize and the sworn off city girls Dallas.

    Walking the Line immediately struck me as a rural fiction novel heavy on the romance, which really worked for me as a reader. I was in the mood for a light, undemanding, somewhat formulaic read from my favourite genre and this is what I got from Ms Magro. There are some gentle messages of love and different takes on love (and lust) in this book. These range from a heart-warming story thread involving the main character Dallas’ Grandfather, Dallas’ Mother’s devoted marriage to Dallas’ Father and the lusty love that sparks between Dallas and Charlize. It doesn’t matter which guise love takes in the book, I found each one endearing.

    Magro’s female protagonist Charlize, undergoes the typical fish out of water transformation from city to country girl that occurs in many other popular rural romance efforts. Despite this part of the book being fairly run of the mill, I still enjoyed Charlize’s journey immensely. I also appreciated the humour that came from these sections of the narrative.

    Magro always excels at bringing a slice of the country life alive, for the reader to appreciate. Walking the Line is no exception, it is brimming with great descriptions of the struggles and hardships of Australian farm life. The novel also exudes the strength of rural community and the rich beauty of the land. Added to Walking the Line is the focus on the rodeo circuit, which I knew little about prior to reading this book. I found this both highly interesting and enlightening. The bull riding theme certainly gave a sense of danger to the main character of Dallas, adding further appeal to this protagonist. Finally, no Mandy Magro book would be complete without a trademark reference to country music, fans will be pleased to know this is briefly included in Walking the Line.

    Walking the Line was the perfect holiday binge read for me, it was romantic, suspenseful in places and featured a readable narrative that had me gently turning the pages until the end. It will appeal to a wide audience, as well as diehard fans of the rural romance genre.

    *I wish to thank Beauty and Lace for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.

  11. Thank you for the opportunity to read this light and easy to read romantic novel. Mandy Magro depicts the warmth of country folk and the rodeo life very well. I enjoyed the depth of the main characters , especially Vivien, Katherine and Reg however, I would have preferred more exploration of the “murder mystery ” within because this was a little too scantily presented in my opinion. Overall though if looking for a relaxing and enjoyable distraction from the hustle and bustle of everyday life reading this novel is a good option.

  12. Walking the line was written mainly from the perspective of Charlize Dawson; an inner city journalist striving for success at a big name magazine, and Dallas Armstrong; a country boy who rides bulls for a living. Charlize is sent to the country on a big work assignment that could make or break her career, and the idea of spending a week out there is almost unfathomable to her. She does go however and it turns out significantly better than she could have imagined when she meets Dallas and his family.
    I liked that the book gave some information about bull riding and rodeos as I learnt a few things about them that I didn’t know. The landscapes were well illustrated by the author so I could picture the scenes in my mind.

    The style of the book was easy to read but unfortunately I found that the story didn’t really seem to go anywhere for a long time though as I realised that I was nearly three quarters of the way through and nothing too exciting had happened let alone Charlize discovering the big secret promised in the blurb. When the “big secret” does come out, it only goes on for a couple of chapters and it turns out the impact isn’t as huge as you might have expected.

    While this was a light easy read, I didn’t overly enjoy it as parts of the story seemed a bit fake and others were overly predictable – the ending in particular was very predictable. On a positive note though I did like that there was an epilogue even though this didn’t give enough information, as I found the small snippet of what Charlize was doing 5 months later a little unbelievable without more content.

    Overall I don’t highly rate this book but it is still worth a look especially if you like country settings as the scenes are set well. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review this book!

  13. What a beautifully, romantic and sexily written book. I love these types that get me hooked in straight away. I related to this book instantly and it had me hooked.
    Mandy Magro is a very expressive writer, and makes reading her book a breeze. I found it hard to put the book down.
    Its a kind of city meets country love story. Although I didnt find it so typical that it was boring.
    Charlize’s life is in some what of a mess and she has the opportunity to escape it and do a story on a rodeo rider and a nudy calendar. She realilzes that her marriage has been a sham and her husband is cheating on her, and what a wonderful distraction for her.
    In the country she meets Dallas and his mum, Katherine, and grandfather, Reg. What a beautiful, generous and heartwarming family they are. Dallas is the bull rider, and centre of Charlize’s story. She just expects that he will be arrogant and over confident, but she finds the exact opposite. Her story takes a turn when a nasty woman claims to have some dirt on the family. I will not spoil it, but there are a couple of twists and turns.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Mandy’s books
    The only thing bad I have to say, which is really nothing, and that is that it needed to be proof read a little closer. lol

  14. Mandy Magro has written another great book!

    It will make any city girl want to pack up bags and move to the country.

    The book is easy to read.

    Walking The Line is worth a read but it is a little predictable, didn’t leaving you hanging for the next page.

    It was still an enjoyable read.

  15. Charlize’s life is in some what of a mess and she has the opportunity to escape it and do a story on a rodeo rider and a nudy calendar. She realilzes that her marriage has been a sham and her husband is cheating on her, and what a wonderful distraction for her.
    In the country she meets Dallas and his mum, Katherine, and grandfather, Reg. What a beautiful, generous and heartwarming family they are. Dallas is the bull rider, and centre of Charlize’s story. She just expects that he will be arrogant and over confident, but she finds the exact opposite. Her story takes a turn when a nasty woman claims to have some dirt on the family. I will not spoil it, but there are a couple of twists and turns.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Mandy’s books
    i did notice there where a few errors in the spelling so maybe it needs a little bit more proof reading over all it was a well written story i enjoyed it

  16. ‘Walking The Lne’ by Mandy Magro is a great easy read. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found I didn’t want to put it’ down so I could find out if my predictions about what was to come were right. I love reading romances and this definitely did not disappoint.
    I loved the storyline of Charlize, the city girl and Dallas , the bullriding country boy. Couldn’t wait for them to end up together and for Charlize to send her cheating husband, Allistair, packing.
    A wonderful way to begin the summer holidays! Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin!

  17. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read the book Walking the Line by Mandy Magro.

    This was a very easy read and I liked the characters and detailed description of the scenery in the town of Grenfell, NSW. However, I don’t feel that the storyline was really that great. I expected a fair amount of suspense but instead this was more of a slow moving romance novel. Also, I don’t think this was proof-read correctly as there were quite a number of word errors..

    I enjoy reading books written by Australian authors and if you are after a romantic easy to read book to relax with and with a small measure of suspense thrown in, then this is a book I would recommend.

  18. so sorry really thought I had reviewed this .
    firstly thank you for allowing me to read this .
    I thoroughly enjoyed this one , loved the story line and the main characters in the book.
    Goes to show never judge a book by its cover so to speak .
    Nice to see an Australian author writing such a great book that was easy to read and to follow .
    yes would recommend , have now passed this on to my mum as she loves a good Aussie read.

  19. I read this book a while ago and forgot to submit review so sorry, i totally enjoyed this book and have actually got it out to read again. The characters in the book were awesome and so easy to get to know and like through the pages. I enjoyed the romance and the plots and twists that were in this novel. I really liked Charlizes character.

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