Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Review: Inherit the Sky by Ariel Tachna

By Ariel Tachna, Cover art: Anne Cain

 My Bitch Factor 10 rating: 4.7

This has been a season of sweet M/M romance books for me. First there was Frat Boy and Toppy, then One Small Thing and  Country Mouse- to name a few. One of the sweets I just finished reading a second time is Inherit the Sky. Full disclosure: I met Inherit's author, Ariel Tachna at a Texas gathering, and she graciously gave out autographed copies of Inherit at the event. I'm so glad to have met her (she's quite lovely to look at and smart as a whip, too!) and to have gotten this book, because it was a pleasant read.

First, let me throw up Inherit The Sky's blurb, then I will briefly discuss it.

Caine Neiheisel is stuck in a dead-end job at the end of a dead-end relationship when the chance of a lifetime falls in his lap. His mother inherits her uncle’s sheep station in New South Wales, Australia, and Caine sees it as the opportunity to start over, out on the range where his stutter won’t hold him back and his willingness to work will surely make up for his lack of knowledge.

Unfortunately, Macklin Armstrong, the foreman of Lang Downs who should be Caine’s biggest ally, alternates between being cool and downright dismissive, and the other hands are more amused by Caine’s American accent than they are moved by his plight… until they find out he’s gay and their amusement turns to scorn. It will take all of Caine’s determination—and an act of cruel sabotage by a hostile neighbor—to bring the men of Lang Downs together and give Caine and Macklin a chance at love.

There are just so many things I like about this book. I adore Caine and Macklin, the two main characters. Caine did not let his youth, inexperience or stutter get in the way of his determination and pluckiness- and those two were certainly put to the test when he relocated from the U.S. to an Australian sheep ranch owned by his family. Macklin's  been-there-done-that crotchetiness is far more endearing than irritating.  The romance between these two unlikelies (there is a small disparity in their ages that does not detract- though, Caine seemed a bit immature in the beginning of the book) took time and patience on both men's part, and I much preferred that slow build to the intense insta-love rush we find in so many other M/M romances.

It is the setting that made this story for me. It seems that Tachna has spent a great deal of time researching Australian small town and ranch life- but to be honest, I'm not sure that I would particularly know the difference. The geography is vividly described as we travel along with Caine to the Outback and settle in with him at the Lang Down sheep ranch.  I found myself wishing I could listen to Inherit in audiobook format, because it would have been great to have colorful local accents and pronunciations to go along with the story.

As I have found with other Tachna stories, the writing in Inherit The Sky is smooth and lyrical.  In spite of all the loveydovey-ness, there is a bit of conflict in the story (a couple of the resolutions seem a bit too rushed and pat, for my tastes).  As a matter-of-fact, I'd love to see a sequel to Inherit the Sky that unravels those resolutions and carries the story forward- I want to spend more time with Caine and Macklin, as well as the supporting cast of characters.

If you're looking for a sweet modern M/M western, in a setting different from the usual, you'll find plenty in Inherit the Sky deeply satisfying.

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