It’s taken me a while to write and publish this review. I’ve been sitting on it for some reason. I think it’s because Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton is quite outside my comfort zone. At least, these days it is. A long time ago I worked for a certain well-known romance publisher, and I read so much romance back then I was quite burnt out after I left. Then Annie herself completely won me over in the interview she did with us a while back. She writes passionately about environmental issues and is a wonderful advocate for the Australian landscape.
Kakadu Sunset was, frankly, more than I expected. I expected a light holiday read. And it was. I expected a fast-paced plot. And there was. I expected romance and what-do-you-know, there was.
Most romance novels are also very character-driven, and this one was too, but there was a depth to the plot I wasn’t expecting. Annie manages to deftly include environmental issues like mining and sustainability in a way that doesn’t try to teach, but still addresses the issues around owning large stretches of land in a country where land is sought and bought for the riches that lie beneath. These issues were woven into the story as a natural part of the plot-line, and I came out with a better understanding of fracking and its impact on the environment.
The main character, Ellie, is a helicopter pilot who flies tourists over the spectacular Kakadu National Park. She loves her job, and her simple life living on the tourist resort. When she flies over her old family property and sees deep gouges in the land her family had loved, she is horrified and curious. Who has been digging so close to protected land? So starts a journey that puts her in great danger, a danger born of human greed and the depths some will sink to in seeking wealth.
Along the way, Ellie meets Kane, a sullen co-pilot and ex-soldier who is dealing with some pretty hefty post-traumatic stress. This is another issue prevalent in our society today, and while Annie really only skims the surface of the psychological damage done to soldiers, it was interesting to read about a male character with a level of vulnerability. We all come into a relationship with baggage; for some it’s closer to the surface than for others.
While Kakadu Sunset is long-form romance, it’s a quick, light read and a great example of the genre, which is why it’s been shortlisted for the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) Romance Book of the Year 2016.
After reading this book, I will be happy to pick up another Australian romance every once in a while. I’ve realised that they’re great for when life is moving a little too quickly, and you want a break from the heavier, more literary novels (which I did at the time), or if you’re planning to lie by the beach for a while (and if you are I’m completely jealous). So I’m grateful to Annie for that.
We received a copy of Kakadu Sunset to review from Annie. Thanks Annie!