Two Heartbeats – Rhonda Forrest

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When Jess heads west for a fresh start in a small mining town, the dusty, outback plains are a far cry from her former life in the city. Despite having no knowledge of country life, she finds herself loving the isolation and local people who she lives with. All she has to do is keep her head down and work hard to create a better life for herself and Johnno, the only person she has ever truly cared about.

As relationships develop and change, Jess discovers the caring warmth of a welcoming family and a circle of friends who look out for her. She begins to feel that maybe for once, her life is heading in the right direction.

However, problems arise when her temper and stubborn nature collide with her new boss Daniel, who is suspicious of her background story. Has Jess told him everything, or is there a hidden secret to justify his earlier distrust of her?

With a cast of eclectic characters, set amidst the rugged outback of Australia, Two Heartbeats is a story of friendship, resilience and the hope that ultimately loving relationships may triumph over obstacles defined by the past.

My Review

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book for my honest review.

As I sit here and ponder on this novel I have just read, I realise that the book is just as it should be. The characters stay true to themselves throughout the entire novel. I love this. I did not expect the book to end on the note it did and took my time to process this before writing my review.

I could not put Two Heartbeats down. Rhonda Forrest (Lea Davey) has such a beautiful style and describes the Australian land in a way that makes me feel a closer connection and appreciation of the country I live in. The scenery described is breathtakingly realistic.

Jess is a young girl who has had to grow up too soon and learn to be independent from a young age, especially once her mother dies of a drug overdose. Her story, up until the moment the reader meets her, portrays her loyalty, courage and determination to succeed, even though she has experienced and witnessed extreme human suffering. I loved these qualities and soon loved her character too.

As an adult, our protagonist decides to take an interview that could be life changing. Her credentials are less than satisfactory, yet her determination to do well is clear. As Jess is given a chance to change her life, working as a courier in the mines in a small town in outback Australia, she soon finds herself a family of her own. There are many quirky characters living solitary lives at the isolated site that Jess prefers to live in, whilst working as a FIFO employee.

As the daughter of a FIFO father for a few years, I understand the financial benefits of such work, along with the week off to spend quality time with family. My dad also made connections with people who will no doubt be in his life for years to come. The community is something entirely different to that of the normal 9-5 position. I enjoyed reading about the way that the employees looked out for oneanother. The strain on FIFO workers, whilst they are away from their families is significant and I could only imagine what it would be like for someone with a young family.

This is my third Rhonda Forrest (Lea Davey) novel that I have read. It has been a while since I have read three novels from the same author that I have loved this much. The novels are all so very different and yet, are all thought provoking and realistic whilst being eloquently written. In Two Heartbeats Rhonda again describes the Australian nature and took me to the outback. Her descriptions gave me insight into a place of rugged, yet beautiful terrain. This is the first novel I have read set in the outback and as an Australian I loved how Rhonda shows appreciation for the Aboriginal culture and sites. Rhonda is one talented Aussie author and she deserves recognition for her talent.

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