Author: Cathryn Hein
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Cathryn Hein is a talented Australian who writes bittersweet romance with more than a touch of heartbreak. She writes characters that suffer and work hard for their shot at a happily ever after, and characters that only think they’re human.
The Country Girl has all of these elements and I read it while I was still on holidays….a lifetime ago. I know that I really enjoyed the book, and the characters, but now I have to think a little further than that because it is finally time to write the review.
Tash Ranger is a small town girl who swapped her saddle for a transit pass when she moved to Melbourne. Originally she headed to the city for uni but in the end stayed and made a name for herself in her chosen field. Tash has put a lot of time and effort into building a loyal following for her internet business The Urban Ranger, a food and lifestyle blog and social media presence. Finally she has secured a contract to publish a cookbook and The Urban Ranger is going country as Tash returns to her small country hometown to work on the book, and continue to build her social media presence.
Digital media is a fickle game and it seems like every week there’s a new sensation but it certainly seems to be a big money game if you know how to play it, and Tash is making a career out of playing it. She’s cluey enough to realise that the wheels turn fast in digital media and with every new success story there is someone falling off the radar. She knows that her social media super stardom has an expiration date and she plans to make her mark and move off the web before her star wanes, ensuring that she can continue to move her career forward.
I actually really enjoyed going behind the scenes of a food and lifestyle blog to see how it all comes together into a bill paying commercial enterprise.
Tash is an energetic, vibrant character whose optimism shines from the pages. She is also a realistic, down-to-earth woman who doesn’t give herself enough credit. She has a gorgeous heart and seems to be a little on the curvy side; which is something she accepts about herself and has no desire to change but it also sees her doubting her appeal to others.
It may be that her home will always be in the country but Tash has built a life and some pretty special friendships in Melbourne so there will always be a citified side to her now.
Patrick is a childhood friend of Tash, and the fiancé of her best friend Maddie. He is struggling to find a happy place in his life with the constant despair of knowing that his future plans have all been wiped away. He made a promise to Maddie when he proposed and he intends to honour it, except that Maddie suffered a horrific injury in a horseriding accident and will never be the same again. He is young and he has a long future ahead of him but is determined to stand by and look after Maddie.
The Country Girl is the story of Tash and her dedication to making The Urban Ranger a hit, her passion for food and her love of her hometown. It’s also the story of Patrick, his hopelessness and despair. His struggle to uphold his promise to his lover while everyone around him is trying to push him to move forward and to move on while he can’t be sure what it is that Maddie wants. It’s also the story of Khan, the gorgeous horse cast as a villain by the part he played in Maddie’s accident.
The Country Girl is a rural romance that ties together many elements in a complete package that will offer you tears of heartbreak and tears of laughter as you ache with longing for these characters to finally catch a break. Hein tells a story of friendship, guilt, moving forward and letting go; but not always in the sense that you would expect.
As always the secondary cast of characters is filled with colour and vibrancy; from Tash’s friends Thom and Ceci to Tash’s lovable octogenarian grandfather ‘Pa’.
Pa may be long in the tooth and a little unsure of what all the digital media fuss is about but that doesn’t stop him from agreeing to help Tash out, on camera, with the gardening segments of her blog. He is witty, genuine and great fun.
Hein’s animal characters are always beautifully drawn and easy to fall in love with, and the menagerie of four-legged and furry characters in The Country Girl are no different.
The Country Girl is definitely well worth a read and it was a story that I devoured on my holiday.