Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology – Rhonda Forrest, Louise Forster, Leanne Lovegrove, Susan Mackie, Emma Powell

Five authors – Susan Mackie, Rhonda Forrest, Louise Forster, Leanne Lovegrove and Emma Powell – five small town stories, five chances for love.

Love in a Sunburnt Land will take you on a journey from the tropical coast to the fertile plains and magnificent high country, where quick thinking and endurance is a way of life and where second chance love might happen, right when it’s least expected.

Love on the Sweeping Plains by Leanne Lovegrove

Desperation drove Tori Christensen back to her childhood town, but that’s not why she stayed. Fleeing the end of her marriage, she vows never to be hurt again. But old flame Zac Coleman is the star on a reality TV dating show, problem is, Tori isn’t a contestant.

Love in the Ragged Mountain Ranges by Susan Mackie

Nik swore she’d never trust again. But the removal truck getting stuck in the driveway on the first day threw her into neighbour Robbie’s path. But Nik made a vow that it would just be her and daughter Lucy, and she would keep her promise. Always.

Far Horizons by Emma Powell

When a second chance at life gives Molly a second chance at love, will she take it? Local police sergeant Jack, reminds her what it feels like to be truly loved. But can she trust him? And when her past and present collide, she fights to save herself and her future.

Love by the Jewel Sea by Rhonda Forrest

Frankie knew one thing. She’d return to the city when the job was done. But will an accidental meeting with local farmer Simon, change her perspective on what is important in life and remind her of her ethics. Or will it send her running in the opposite direction?

Core of my Heart by Louise Forster

After a recent breakup, an exciting offer had Madeline moving back into town, definitely sworn off men. Then her teenage crush walks into her life. Ash’s intuitive and gentle questioning, help her come to terms with her past. But is that enough, can she trust and love again?

Will they take the beautiful gift, a second chance at love? Will they succeed in leaving their past behind, or does it follow them home?

Here is your next must read romance!

Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology is written by five Australian authors. Each story is set in a different Australian country town. I love a good romance novel and this one has five in the one book! Rhonda Forrest, Louise Forster, Leanne Lovegrove, Susan Mackie and Emma Powell each write stories that are unique, engaging and heartwarming.

Love on the Sweeping Plains follows the story of Tori who returns home and reconnects with the local vet, who is the star of a reality TV show to find a wife. It is a fun, feel good, small town romance.

Love in the Ragged Mountain Ranges is about fresh starts and learning to trust again. The Barrington Tops and surrounds are described beautifully. This story is tender and compassionate. It touched my heart.

Far Horizons Love Story had the teacher in me happy to read about Molly, a passionate school teacher. She meets Jack and teaches his son Lachlan. Powell writes about grief from an adult and child’s perspective with such care and sensitivity. Readers will experience romance, crime, drama and life altering decisions.

Love by the Jewel Sea is a meaningful, reflective and contemplative novella. Frankie is a self absorbed workaholic who must learn what is important in life. Dingo Beach and its people may just teach Frankie valuable life lessons. This was a blissful read and I felt like I had drifted away into the beautiful Dingo Beach location.

Core of My Heart is a passionate, whirlwind romance between Madeline and Ash. Madeline returns to her hometown to run the bakery she buys from her aunt and uncle.

Each and every story is enjoyable; filled with love, humour, passion, blissful locations, appreciation of the environment, romance, fun, life changing realisations, meaning and much more. I love each novella and I would highly recommend this anthology! What a blissful read.

For my full reviews on each novella please take a look at my prior posts and/or read my blog


Love on the Sweeping Plains by Leanne Lovegrove is the first novella in the Love in a Sunburnt Land anthology! I am excited to share my thoughts on each novella and review the anthology once I have read all of the small town love stories.

My review

Love on the Sweeping Plains is a fun story that centres around Tori, who moves back to her hometown, Cedar Creek Plains, with her daughter Mirabelle. Tori’s marriage is over and she must make a decision for her and her daughter about their future.

Considering this is a short story, I was pleasantly surprised by the character development and how Leanne Lovegrove made each character living in Cedar Creek Plains absolutely lovable. Tori’s grandma is a sweet lady with a heart of gold and the local vet Zac, took my breath away.

Zac is the star of a reality TV show to find him a wife. I loved this part of the storyline. Being introduced to the contestants and the antics that occur had me in stitches.

If you love a good country romance and/or Farmer wants a Wife, then this is a must read. This story has everything needed for a feel good, small town romance!

I look forward to reading more of Leanne Lovegrove’s writing.

Love in the Ragged Mountain Ranges by Susan Mackie @susanmackieauthor is the second story in the Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology.

Nik and her daughter Lucy move to the country for a fresh start. They move in to the historic Copeland Courthouse with a view of the Barrington Tops. I could almost smell the country air. Susan Mackie’s descriptions of The Barrington Tops and surrounds are atmospheric and allowed me to feel that I was back in this beautiful part of the world, where I have personally visited.

The property Nik buys is a fixer upper. It has history and provides the opportunity to become a B & B. The neighbours are welcoming and very soon Nik and Lucy become friends with Robbie and his son Harry. Robbie helps Nik with the property, completing jobs and organising tradespeople. Nik and Lucy have a lot of fun together as they discuss the renovations and design ideas. I enjoyed reading about the renovations and the items that they find to restore. I love watching renovation shows and this aspect certainly was fun to read about.

One of the stand out elements of the story for me, was the emotional support that animals provide to help people to heal and recover from trauma. Nik and Lucy have experienced trauma in their lives. Susan Mackie deals with this topic with great sensitivity. Robbie introduces Nik and Lucy to his dog and horses. It is remarkable to read of the transformative affects and to feel the pure joy felt by Lucy.

This short story is a tender, compassionate and heartfelt country romance. I loved it and highly recommend this beautiful story. It touched my heart

The third story in the anthology is Far Horizons Love Story by Emma Powell. @emmapowell68

Far Horizons Love Story is a story of new beginnings. Molly leaves her life in Melbourne to return to her ‘mother’s childhood home and her birthplace’. She becomes the teacher of the local primary school and soon has a great impact on the students. I loved reading the scenes of the classroom, as Molly builds rapport with her students. They come to care about her and become part of the reason she considers staying in the town of Nhill. Molly is a loveable character.

Another reason why Nhill appeals to Molly is Seargant Jack. She meets him on her way into town and there is instant attraction. Their flirting and emotions when around each other are steamy to say the least! Jack is dealing with grief and loss, whilst Molly is running from a horrific past that she is concerned about catching up with her. Both characters must learn about trust and what it means to love again.

Emma Powell’s subtle references to signs from loved ones who have passed were beautiful. Jack’s son, Lachlan is grieving his mother and believes she visits him. Powell writes about grief from an adult and child’s perspective with such care and sensitivity.

In this short story, the reader will experience romance, crime, drama and life altering decisions. Far Horizons is an entertaining read that I would recommend to all romance lovers. If you enjoy Nicholas Sparks’ novels, you will love his short story!

‘And when you’re here, it’s like you could almost forget everything else in your life and just live for the moment.’

Love by the Jewel Sea is a reflective and contemplative story. Workaholic Frankie starts a new job with a company who decides to send her to Dingo Beach. Her journey there is just a bit *shit* (pardon the French), hilarious for the reader and unimpressive when she takes a wrong turn, ending up in a ditch where she meets local man Simon and his son, Eli.

Frankie is selfish and cares about fashion, labels and work. She hasn’t made much time for anything else in her life. Frankie is a character who immediately has me hoping she changes sooner or later. Fortunately, this story offers life changing advice and reflection on what we can all focus more on in life. Frankie learns some very important lessons in her time in Dingo Beach.

The romance and friendships made are heartfelt and I could have continued to read about Frankie and her life. I fell in love with the locals and wished to sit down and have a drink with them all at the pub. In such a short space of time, the characters were developed brilliantly.

The quote above is an example of why Rhonda Forrest is one of my favourite authors. Her stories have meaning. They provide life lessons and there is a focus on the environment around us. If we take the time to notice the little things, we certainly will appreciate our surroundings. Dingo Beach is painted beautifully and I felt that the author has a strong connection with the place. I felt the peace and solitude of the area, wishing I could take a flight to QLD then and there.

I loved this story and would highly recommend Love by the Jewel Sea. I suggest that you pick it up and drift away to Dingo Beach very soon. What a blissful read.

Core of my Heart, Louise Forster is the last romance story in the Love in a Sunburnt Land Anthology.

As I took a moment to sit at a cafe on a cold winter morning I enjoyed a hot chocolate, whilst reading this story.

Core of my Heart follows the story of Madeline who returns home. Madeline purchases her aunt and uncle’s bakery from them. I enjoyed reading about the bakery and the people who work there. The customers and the banter are very entertaining.

Madeline connects with Ash, who she has always had a crush on. Their romance begins soon into the story and is a whirlwind romance. They share great passion and attraction toward one another.

Core of my Heart includes many different themes and manages to fit a lot into the novella. Some sensitive issues were dealt with in a different manner than I expected, yet because of the size of the short story, would have made it difficult to delve deeper into certain issues that popped up.

Another great romance in such a fantastic book!! I look forward to sharing my thoughts on the anthology as a whole.

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