Author: Michael Trant
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
My Rating: 4/5
A vast outback property. An unforgettable season. A family’s fight to save their livelihood.
Many of Peter and Kelsie Dalton’s friends thought they were crazy when they bought Ridgeview Station. But five years on, their hard work, help from Kelsie’s parents, and record rainfall have them in high spirits as the summer muster approaches. But, thanks to mother nature, disaster strikes and the Dalton’s find themselves battling to save their livestock, their property and their lives.
The Australian fiction landscape is a popular one, but Michael Trant brings to it a new voice with a unique story to tell. His debut novel, Ridgeview Station, is a solid start to what may well be a successful career in the genre often dominated by women authors.
I must say, I wasn’t aware of this novel until Michael himself contacted me asking if I would review it. I took a look at the blurb and thought it sounded like an interesting story, so agreed. Needless to say, my review is my own words and not in any way influenced by the author contacting me.
I was impressed by Michael’s success in drawing me into Ridgeview Station from the first page. He has created such a wonderful cast of colourful characters who are both authentic and believable. You can easily see them interacting on the station, going about their daily chores and the passion and love they have for the land is clear from the beginning. Their relationships intertwine honestly and effectively, and anyone who knows what life is life on the land will recognise how well Michael has done this.
Michael has also done a fantastic job with the setting itself. It is easy to tell that Michael knows the land well – the story is in fact inspired by his own time spent on a station in Western Australia. I love how Michael paints the picture of the land and the terrain. You can almost see the station, the sheep, the endless blue skies, and the vast paddocks and granite outcrops vividly as Michael tells the story. I also loved how he draws together how integral the seasons are on the land, and the stressful impact of relying on mother nature for your future.
The story begins off as a slow burn (pardon the pun – you’ll understand once you read), but then when the action starts the book heats up. I found myself reading faster, and turning the pages quicker to find out if the characters and their property would make it – and how.
Ridgeview Station was an easy and enjoyable read. Sure there were a few areas of clunky writing as there is with many debut authors, but there is no denying Michael’s storytelling ability. I’m looking forward to seeing what his next effort brings.