I thoroughly enjoyed this unique, laugh-out-loud funny and insightful novel by Australian author Paddy O’Reilly.

From the back cover:

Set in the Australian bush, a wryly funny, beautifully observed novel about friendship, motherhood, love, and the importance of fighting for things that matter.

Loretta Boskovic never dreamed she would end up a single mother with two kids in a dusty Australian country town. She never imagined she’d have to campaign to save the local primary school. She certainly had no idea her best friend would turn out to be the crusty old junk man. All in all, she’s starting to wonder if she took a wrong turn somewhere. If only she could drop the kids at the orphanage and start over . . . But now, thanks to her protest letters, the education minister is coming to Gunapan, and she has to convince him to change his mind about the school closure. And as if facing down the government isn’t enough, it soon becomes clear that the school isn’t the only local spot in trouble. In the drought-stricken bushland on the outskirts of town, a luxury resort development is about to siphon off a newly discovered springwater supply. No one seems to know anything, no one seems to care.

With a dream lover on a Harley unlikely to appear to save the day, Loretta needs to stir the citizens of Gunapan to action. She may be short of money, influence, and a fully functioning car, but she has good friends. Together they can organize chocolate drives, supermarket sausage sizzles, a tour of the local slaughterhouse—whatever it takes to hold on to the scrap of world that is home. 

A single mom myself, I could well relate to this Loretta’s struggles and conflicts. She loves her children unconditionally, yet occasionally indulges in hilarious fantasies about making them disappear and running away with the man of her dreams. Take this, for example, this thought which runs through her head when her sister offers to take the children off her hands during Easter holiday.

This will be my first holiday from the children in eleven years. I can see myself transformed. The pudge has magically fallen from my hips and I’m wearing a long, slinky silk dress. I’m in the function room of the golf course, tossing my newly blond-streaked hair and full of ennui or some other French feeling at these boring rich men crowding around me. I’m certain something like this will happen when I’m child-free. All I need to do is stop eating immediately. 

At the same time, despite her situation and its limited opportunities, we can see that Loretta wouldn’t really trade her life with anyone’s and is deeply committed to her friends, family and community and will stop at nothing to protect the home she loves and the people who live there. For an escape to the Australian outback with a woman who is definitely BFF material, I highly recommend this book! Five shining stars!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 […] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.