SYNOPSIS: A small town, a new arrival, and a love that is as undeniable as it is unlawful…
Victoria, Australia, 1891
Anglican priest Matthew Ottenshaw receives his first posting in tiny Dinbratten, two days’ ride from his Melbourne home. Determined to honour his calling as best he can, he throws himself into the footy mad, two-pub town, navigating the dusty streets, learning the gossip, and striking up a friendship with Jonah Parks, the resident police sergeant and local bona fide hero.
A police officer and a priest often find themselves needed at the same place, and Jonah and Matthew’s friendship deepens quickly, as they set about their business of protecting the bodies and souls of Dinbratten’s residents. When a bushfire threatens the town, and Matthew’s inexperience with fire endangers the church buildings, Jonah comes to the rescue, and a reckless kiss in the midst of the chaos takes their friendship to forbidden.
Neither Matthew nor Jonah can go back to the way things were before, but continuing their relationship puts everything at risk: their jobs, their friends, even their lives. In the outback town of Dinbratten where everyone knows everything about everyone else, how can they ever expect to keep a secret this explosive?
I have to say By The Currawong’s Call is one of the best books that I’ve EVER read.
This story is set in rural Victoria, Australia, in the late 1800s. A handsome young Anglican priest, Matthew Ottenshaw, takes up residence in the tiny town of Dinbratten and is pleasantly accepted by everyone in town, especially the ladies (much to his disinterest).
Father Matthew makes it his mission to get to know all the townsfolk, including Sergeant Jonah Parks, one of the two coppers in town.
Jonah Parks is a legend and a hero to everyone around him. He is personable, brave, well-respected and, on top of it all, quite handsome and sought after by the local lasses as well. These two strike up a friendship that is, just that—a friendship. Jonah and Matthew become the dynamic duo it seems, leaving the town of Dinbratten in the best of hands. Fighting crime and saving souls, one would be surprised as to how closely their jobs become entwined.
And then one night, they become entwined. It’s frightening and confusing, especially for Father Matthew. There is so much at stake—no, let me make it clear: there is EVERYTHING at stake for these two pillars of this small town to continue their clandestine affair because homosexual relationships in the late 1800s in Australia are against the law. They’re gravely at risk carrying on in such a small town.
The author does an outstanding job giving the reader a full picture of life in this time period. Instantly, I was transported into the pages, my mind’s eye so clearly watching the footy games, the brushfire behind the church, the trotting of horses, the dust and grime of the dry season, the sounds and cheers in the pubs, and most importantly, I could feel the love and angst between Matthew and Jonah so deep within my soul.
Once the first page of this treasure is turned, I’d feel certain that anyone would have trouble putting it down. I couldn’t. By The Currawong’s Call is perfectly written and the editing is flawless. The chapters flow like a warm breeze. Jonah and Matthew become part of your soul. It’s about history. It’s about cherishing everything that is right in this world and the grieving and the sadness of what isn’t. How could loving someone, no matter their gender, be so wrong? Jonah and Matthew are my heroes.
I would implore everyone who loves M/M romance and finding and fighting for true love to read this work of art. Five stars just aren’t enough.
Reviewed by Lisa Cullinan Bourbon, Bikes, and Books