The Station by Keira Andrews

Title: The Station
Author: Keira Andrews
Publisher: Loose Id
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Historical Gay Romance
Length: Novel/ 210 pages
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

A guest review by Kassa


THE BLURB:

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.

THE REVIEW:

The Station is a lovely, easy to read historical. It’s not historically accurate though and is very much a storytelling narrative, almost all tell and virtually no show. The characters are decent and the plot is a charming tale of love between unlikely men moving at a slower pace. If you can suspend disbelief enough to buy into the story or inaccuracies don’t bother you (I personally don’t care) then this could be a satisfying romance read.

The story is told in third person from Colin’s point of view. He’s a young, rather spoiled son of a wealthy family. He’s not the typical spoiled rotten brat but he is used to a certain level of living and servants. When he’s sixteen he comes across the stable master having sex with another man, which sends Colin into a confused tailspin. For years Colin avoids Patrick and slowly comes to the realization that he desires men as well. When Patrick is discovered with another man and the crowd threatens to hang him, Colin confesses his own sexuality in hopes of sparing Patrick’s life. This sends both men off to Australia as criminals where life is unexpected, but potentially incredible.

The story unfolds slowly with a languid pace. I never got bored or wanted to put the book down but the slower pace never quite makes this that exciting or a must read. The beginning takes a while to get going as the set up for Colin’s wealthy, privileged life is given great detail and importance. This helps develop Colin’s character in some ways as you see he’s not a brat so much as simply doesn’t know any other life. However Colin’s characterization never quite rang true for me. The sharp contrast of his home schooling to the radical change that takes place once he confesses and becomes a prisoner doesn’t really change Colin at all. He realizes how much he took his easy life for granted and never appreciated his good fortune but these are mild thoughts at best.

At the same time Colin also never really experiences any great regret or hardship, even while a prisoner. He never experiences any big anguish or emotion from his significant change in life. He reaffirms repeatedly that he’s happy he was honest about himself, regardless of the severe consequences. I found some of this hard to believe. I mean a young man from a wealthy, protected home that finds himself in with criminals that would abuse, rape, and harm him and aside from some mild fear, he never regrets his decisions…ever. I think I would have been more invested in Colin as a character if he showed more range of emotion. He clearly has to mature quickly once at sea and in Australia but he comes across as mature, intelligent, and level headed from beginning to end with the same limited emotional range.

What I like about Colin is that he’s determined to think positively. He doesn’t have much emotional depth but he is a positive influence in an otherwise dreary and depressing world. Patrick is often an enigma and Colin never quite understands Patrick’s thoughts, emotions, motivations, or feelings so the narrative is always tempered through Colin’s bias. This keeps Patrick less well developed and often Patrick’s motives are a mystery. However, Colin is intelligent and hard working and keeps a lighter feel during the darker moments.

The really great descriptive quality is what helps keeps the story going during the repetitive, slower moments. Colin’s upbringing feels rich and familiar with the upper class wealthy family and the descriptions of the ship to Australia are nicely brought to life. The best is when the group heads to the Australian outback and the desert heat sink in. From England to the ocean crossing and finally Australia, the backdrops are the most vivid and exciting aspect of the story. Although the action is often repetitive, the descriptions are interesting and keep you reading.

Overall this is a decent historical that while not accurate offers enough descriptive quality and decent characterization to make a satisfying romance for those that don’t mind. The pace is slower, more languid but Colin definitely has charm and strength which is surprising given his age and background. If you can suspend your disbelief, then this may entertain the right reader with the lovely romance, hot sex scenes, and adventure feel to the story.

10 comments

  • I do understand the points made about Colin, really I do.

    However, my take on it was that he had some initial misgivings, but he did not fit in with his family, he didn’t understand who he was or how he’d live with himself, he was out of place. When his adventures started (adventure instead of death, cheerio!) it was an opportunity for him drastic tho’ it was. In the end, he found a place for himself.

    Reply
  • Hi Kassa
    I haven’t read The Station as yet but, like you, I would have been looking for more range in Colin’s emotions. It seems unbelievable that someone from such a privileged background would not show how the changes (moving from England to the Australian outback) affected him personally. Did they? It would seem not, if he continued on with the same approach to life. Plus the languid pace of the book would drive me crazy having read many stories about what life was like for prisoners when they were shipped to Oz to get rid of them. As you said it “was not historically accurate” but maybe it was not supposed to be, going by the plot.

    I really think this was a wasted opportunity to show some real character development in Colin as he experiences his new circumstances and lifestyle, as well as his evolution from basically a rich pampered teen to a man who has to scrounge to live.

    Reply
  • Great review, Kassa. I have to admit that this part does seem like such a wasted opportunity:

    At the same time Colin also never really experiences any great regret or hardship, even while a prisoner. He never experiences any big anguish or emotion from his significant change in life.

    Talk about a significant change! It would be for him almost like going to another planet. So, it’s too bad that a transformative reaction never took place, but even so, this sounds like a very interesting book that I might definitely buy. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
    • Hi Val, great point. That is a wasted opportunity and perhaps why I was so surprised he never really changed. I kept waiting for Colin to get angry or despair and think that he did the wrong thing. It’s ok that he doesn’t but I think he would have been more effective if he had – IMHO.

      Either way, I think this is a lovely, easy to read romance that satisfies. If you get it, I hope you like it!

      Reply
  • Hi Kassa
    I’m so glad you reviewed this! I’ve been trying to decide whether to buy it or not. On one hand, I’ve loved Kiera Andrews’ contemporary novels, but I was unsure about whether I would like the historical setting for this one.

    Having read your review I think I will probably like this if the setting is as well realised as you say. I may have the same problems with Colin that you did, but I’m willing to take that risk.

    Thanks for the great review :).

    Reply
    • I had some reservations about this one since I knew going in it wasn’t historically accurate, yet once the characters and setting came alive I really got into the story. It’s more a meander on a lazy afternoon than a race to the finish but it’s lovely that way.

      As for Colin, he’s flawed and since he’s the narrator his limitations are pretty stark. Yet he has an optimism that keeps him charming so you won’t hate him as a main character. I think you could appreciate him despite everything.

      Hope you like it!

      Reply
  • Nice review, Kassa! I liked this one quite a lot and felt that the setting – ship and desert both – was almost another character.

    Reply
    • Yes! Well said. The setting is indeed another character and a brilliant one at that. At one point I remember thinking “yet another day at sea.. but that’s ok!”

      Reply
  • Hi Kassa,
    I´ve read this when it was released and gave it 5 stars.Now you`re pointing out all the obvious flaws
    and I`m (almost) ashamed that I readily ignored them because I liked the story so much.*lol*
    Does that make me a “good” or a “bad” reader?
    (I think you know what I`m talking about. 🙂 )
    No,it just makes me a happy one. 🙂
    Thank God for “readers freedom”!

    Thank you for the great -and honest- review!!
    s.

    Reply
    • Hi Simsala! Never worry about loving a book. I’ve heard readers say that several times and I personally have said the same thing about some books. Sometimes a book just works for readers despite or even because of its flaws. That’s not a bad thing!

      Reader forgiveness is a wonderful thing and the great thing about this book is that I think some readers like you, Wren, and probably Jen can all appreciate the good points while other readers may be turned off.

      I’m so glad you loved it. Nothing better than reading a book you adore.

      Reply

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