Independently published, Australia, 2022
Cover design SGB Book Cover Designs
Images from Istock
It is cause for great celebration, I think, that the Canberra region is not only become home to a growing number of fine writers but also that the region itself has finally been accepted as a suitable place in which to set stories. The lamentable cultural cringe our writers have had to contend with for decades has, at last, abated.
Kelly Cameron’s rural romance is labelled Yass Valley Series Book 1. It is set in the Murrumbateman/Yass district and has all the hallmarks of this popular genre. The youthful feel of the book is reflected in the main romantic characters: Arabella, a lovely young farmer and horsewoman, and Dr Carter McCarthy, a newly arrived medico from Canada.
They share a history of loss – Arabella and her sister have inherited the family farm when their parents are tragically killed in a car accident. A freak accident has also taken the life of Carter’s former fiancée in his homeland.
Besides following the passage of this blossoming romance to its happy ending, the book offers us an insight into farming life. The author speaks from firsthand experience and so is able to bring a strong sense of realism to that aspect of the story.
A number of important social issues run as themes and plot strands through this tale – the hazardous and uncertain life of farming families; the not infrequent farming accidents that have to be dealt with, often when medical help is not too easily or quickly accessed; the ever-present risk of road accidents; domestic violence; dying well; grief; the importance of family and the relationship of the farmer to his or her land. So much more than romance!
Kelly writes with an easy, accessible style – the book has a freshness about it that will especially appeal to young adult readers and followers of the romance genre, always on the lookout for a new author and a new set of stories. There is also enough danger and mystery to take the reader down non-romantic paths for a time.
But for me it is the evocation of place that distinguishes this book. I know that it is because this region is my familiar and comfortable place that I feel a sense of belonging in some stories otherwise outside my reality. In this case, having visited this wider district for decades as a Canberra resident gives me an almost smug sense of familiarity with the author’s setting.
Kelly is already at work on the next in this series and hopes to have Book 2 out by Christmas 2022.
Dancing with Dandelions is available locally at Yass Book Store as well as online through Amazon, including as an e-book
Living Arts Canberra purchased its own copy of this book.
Thank you to Kelly for a delightful chat about farming and this book.