Erryn reviews The Station by Keira Andrews, published January 18, 2018 by KA Books, 221 pages. The audiobook was released on December 10, 2019, is 7hrs and 9mins and is narrated by Joel Leslie. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read the book: I’m a huge Keira Andrews fan and I’ll listen to anything performed by Joel Leslie.
Two men exiled to an untamed land must capture love.
Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster spied on stable master Patrick Callahan mastering another man, he’s longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death for his crime, Colin speaks up in his defense and confesses his own sinful nature. They’re soon banished to the faraway prison colony of Australia.
Patrick never asked for Colin’s help, and now he’s stuck with the pampered fool. While it’s true that being transported to Australia is a far cry from the luxury Colin is accustomed to, he’s determined to make the best of it and prove himself. Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale, but he’s inexorably drawn to sweet, optimistic Colin despite himself.
From the miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must rely on each other. Danger lurks everywhere, and when they unexpectedly get the chance to escape to a new life as cowboys, they’ll need each other more than ever.
Contains mature themes.
I’m a huge Keira Andrews fan and this book more than lived up to my high expectations for her work. The story begins in Essex, England in 1833. Colin is a head-strong aristocrat with no notion of how the real world works. Ensconced on the family estate, he spends his time studying, riding horses, and accepting dares from his cousin William. A good life for a lad of thirteen. Only when disaster is averted does he appreciate that his rash actions might not always be appreciated.
A life for a life.
Five years later, Patrick, the estate’s groomsman, is found in a compromising position. Prison and then the gallows are the usual end for sodomites and he is resigned to his fate. Until a scrappy young lad of eighteen steps forward and saves his life. Family connections ensure the men aren’t hanged, but they are sent to the penal colony of Australia. For Colin, it’s an adventure. For Patrick, it’s a fate as bad as death.
The journey in the hull of a ship nearly does them in, but upon arrival in Australia, they are assigned to a woman making the journey to her new home. Her new station as it were. Emily had thought to make the trip with her husband, but now she faces the trek alone with only Robbie the twenty-one-year-old guide and two sodomite prisoners as help.
The trip to the Outback is a learning experience for all involved and as time marches on, Patrick begins to warm to Colin. He’s able to teach Colin so many new things and Colin is a strong student. He wants to succeed as a cowboy in Australia. And thrive as Patrick’s lover.
Now, this book is told entirely from Colin’s point of view – something quite common in Ms. Andrews’ books. Sometimes this limits the perspective of the other hero, but, in this case, it works. Colin is open and free with his emotions, often receiving chastisement from Patrick. Patrick is closed off – jaded and, for a while at least – untouchable.
There are some harrowing moments in the book when characters were in peril – appropriate for the Australian Outback in the 1830s. I wonder what it must have been like back then, all the while clinging to my modern comforts. People survived, of course, because they didn’t know any better. But for Patrick, Colin, and Emily, the shock from idyllic and rural England to the middle of nowhere Australia was jarring.
Joel Leslie narrated this book and he was freaking brilliant. He’s got Australian, British, and Irish to do and, as always, he delivers a solid performance. He brought the characters alive – from Colin’s naiveté, to Patrick’s irritability, to Robbie’s enthusiasm, to Emily disillusionment. The performance was amazing. I loved this book and was almost sad to see it end. But hopefully there will be more audios from Ms. Andrews in the future as I’ve loved everyone I’ve listened to.
10/10 pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars