Review: The Station by Keira Andrews

Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster secretly watched stable master Patrick Callahan mastering the groundskeeper, he’s longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death, Colin speaks up in his defense, announcing that he, too, is guilty of “the love that dare not speak its name.” Soon they’re both condemned as convicts and shipped off to the faraway prison colony of Australia.

Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale and is determined that no one will scale the wall he’s built around his heart. Yet he’s inexorably drawn to the charismatic Colin despite his best efforts to keep him at bay. As their journey extends from the cramped and miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must build new lives for themselves. They’ll have to tame each other to find happiness in this wild new land.

Review by Sal Davis

April Martinez has produced an enticing cover to draw readers into this Australian set story. The dry washed out colours and the stockman and cattle set off the faces that depict the two protagonists. The models have been chosen with care too, showing the belligerence of one and the soft bemusement of the other.

The Station is a coming of age story, told from the point of view of Colin Lancaster, a privileged, somewhat fragile lad who is cossetted by well off and over anxious parents. Home schooled, lonely Colin develops a childish crush on hunky head groom Patrick which causes him to follow the man around and help out in the stable. The relationship that develops is innocent enough but is ruined when Colin catches Patrick rogering one of the gardeners. Colin is transfixed by the sight, realising that he wishes it was him and that this is a very Bad Thing.Afterwards he avoids Patrick completely, hurting his feelings and setting up the situation for oodles of angst later. Yet Colin still adores Patrick and when Patrick is caught in flagrante, he tries to save his life by claiming to have committed the same crime. Off to Australia they are sent and so the adventure begins.

I’m a bit torn about this story. On the one hand there are historical inaccuracies that shook me right out of the narrative. [Graduation from school, really?] But on the other I enjoyed the plot and some of the secondary characters rock. Sadly, I was less engaged by the two protagonists. Colin struck me as very bland and accepting of all the horrible things that happened to him. Patrick, still cherishing a broken heart from a previous relationship, came over as an opportunist and an ass.

There’s a lot of telling in the story, maybe the author wanted to avoid over-dramatising it? However it all hangs together pretty well and ends in a suitably romantic way. If you can ignore the little bits that make history wallahs go ‘eh?’ and just enjoy the emoting you’ll be fine. I’d be inclined to give it three stars plus another half for the unusual Aussie setting.

Author’s website

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