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Schoolteacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.
When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the swarm of inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.
As Nat's school comes under threat of closure, and Billy's estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her life in Perth and the new community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she's really made of – and where she truly belongs.
Australian author Fiona Palmer has written a solid Aussie drama with, 'The Saddler Boys'. Set in a tiny West Australian rural town it covers so much more than just an easy, sweet romance. There are strong characters, a great sense of Aussie fun and some topical issues, all set against the backdrop of the Australian outback. Being a teacher myself, I was intrigued to read about this city girl taking the plunge with a year's teaching sabbatical in a remote community.
"Part of her welcomed that challenge. It was time for her to experience something out of her comfort zone."
This is the story of a struggling rural community facing regional school closures and how the locals and farmers in the surrounding areas will be affected. It is an easy to read tale that flows naturally to a fitting conclusion. What gives it substance above your average 'chick lit', is the serious issues explored like the rural issues, domestic violence and single parenting - all covered in the quintessentially Aussie, down to earth, way.
"It was fascinating to watch how a small community worked together. People cared. They loved their community, they were outraged over the government's decision and the effect it would have on their kids, the town and its future."
At times there were a few too many characters introduced at once that left my head spinning:
"Then she was introduced to Georgie, Gary's uncle Chris's new girlfriend".
However, on the whole, I enjoyed my escape into the Aussie outback and this book did not disappoint as a light weekend read.
"Sometimes the simple things in life were just what the doctor ordered."