Title: Book, Line, and Sinker
Author: LJ LaBarthe
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Ash and Jaxon
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Australiana
After seventeen years serving in the Australian Army, Ash returns to his childhood home in the outback town of Quorn. Filled with the desire to live a happy life in peace and with loved ones, Ash is grimly determined to beat his PTSD and tackle his flashbacks.
What Ash isn’t prepared for is Jaxon, the new librarian in Quorn. Jaxon is calm, gentle, kind, and a rock for Ash’s battered psyche. Ash finds himself falling for the handsome newcomer, even as his mind and memories of the past torment him.
When he has the idea for a mobile library to bring books and entertainment to remote communities in the far north, Ash is delighted that Jaxon is with him every step of the way. But though the library, called Book, Line, and Sinker, takes off, Ash’s past continues to plague him. Can Jaxon’s love be enough to keep them together until Ash is strong enough to stand on his own?
Book, Line, and Sinker is a sweet romance about two men in outback Australia whose love of both books and the outback lead to their establishing a mobile library as they fall in love. It also hooked me from the first page, drawing me back into memories of living in rural Australia (yes, the descriptions were that clear) as Ash saw Quorn again for the first time since he’d left the Australian Army. And like the outback, events in Book, Line, and Sinker happen very slowly and smoothly until suddenly they don’t.
Ash is struggling to adapt to civilian life, not helped by the fact his PTSD constantly looms in the background (and sometimes foreground). I loved the fact that while he takes steps to keep it from getting worse, he also treats it like it is one of the inescapable repercussions of serving in the armed forces, and how it wasn’t just the nightmares and flashbacks of PTSD that were covered. To be honest, Ash reminds me a lot of the laconic Aussies I’ve met.
Being as this story is from Ash’s point of view, you don’t get as close to Jaxon, but his role in Ash’s life is undeniable. Without Jaxon, Ash would likely not have adapted as well to civilian life, and he definitely would not have come up with the idea of a travelling library on his own.
I would recommend Book, Line, and Sinker for anyone who loves stories about military men adapting to civilian life, stories where you can almost smell and fell the environment, family centric stories, or sweet romances. Or, of course, all of the above. I have read several of the author’s other stories, and while I enjoyed them, Book, Line, and Sinker has a distinct flavour all its own.
Reviewed By: Alison
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