Title: The Station
Author: Keira Andrews
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: January 18, 2018
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Page Count: 204 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5
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.
This is a lightweight story with a plotline and context that could have handled so much more. The incidents of the book are clear and well described but lack emotional content. There are well structured scenes within the book that cry out for tension and passion; unfortunately they tend to be presented without development. As an example of this, the book hinges on the revelation by the central character that he is gay. That this is an admission regarded as anathema and punishable by death is largely glossed over from an introspective as well as descriptive point of view. This as with other scenes of personal risk or interpersonal conflict are held at arms length and sanitised. As noted above, there is a story to tell here and the components of it are presented and not avoided, but it is the context and impact that doesn’t come across. As such it is possible to read this book without engaging with the story or its characters.
The narrative is in the 3rd person but written largely from the lead character’s point of view. The central personalities are presented and there is clear differentiation between each of them. Areas for potential affinity or conflict are signaled and where there is personal development and growth it is clear why this has occurred. However the individuals are not complex and it is possible to predict the outcome of interpersonal relationships. As such the reader has little to engage with.
The relationship between the two central characters is credible but the commitment of the lead character to the largely dispassionate hedonism of the other with all that is going on around them lacks examination. It is difficult for the reader to care whether the relationship will grow or wither as it goes through its inevitable cycles. It is always assumed that there will be a redeeming action that will put things right, until the next time. The passion between them is handled with limited explicit action and this similarly lacks depth. The reader would at such times normally be in a position to question the realism, but actually it doesn’t really matter.
Despite all this, it is an interesting story and the author does provide a succession of situations that are explored. These provide the reader with a changing environment and action points to drive the story forward.
The author provides a denouement with a scene of heightened tension from the perspective of the plot. How this is resolved is sadly very predictable and yet it does allow for the threads of the tale to be drawn together into a positive ending.
This is not a long book and given its scope it is understandable that there isn’t the space to cover every aspect in depth. If you are looking for a story that is quite interesting but will not tax you then this may be what you are looking for.