Most helpful critical review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
For fans of rural fiction
on April 28, 2013
Debut rural fiction author Therese Creed writes from experience. She married a farmer and lives and works on the family's 17,000 acre cattle station in central Queensland.
In Redstone Station, Sam and Olive Day, struggling with failing health and growing debt, welcome the return of the grand daughter, who was essentially abandoned by her young unwed mother, that they raised. Eighteen year old Alice has finished Ag college and is ready to devote herself to reviving her grandparents farm, desperate to repay their love and faith in her. Willing to work hard, with a natural aptitude for stock handling and farm management, Alice refuses to be distracted from her goals, especially by troublemaker Jeremy O'Donnell.
The strength of Redstone Station definitely lies within its accurate depiction of everyday life on a cattle station. Fencing, mustering and maintenance are all daily chores punctuated by seasonal work such as calving, weaning and branding. It's hard, physical work that requires both brute force and an intimate knowledge of a farm's operational needs. The work ethic is something to be admired and I think Creed does an excellent job of creating an authentic setting for her story and characters.
I'm not entirely sure about the plot of Redstone Station as I thought there seemed to be a lack of focus. Alice's day to day life on the station is the strongest feature along with brief encounters with the challenges farmers face such as drought, feral animal attacks, bushfire, mining threats and the ever present financial strain, but there is no real sense of Alice ever really being in danger of losing Redstone. There is a subplot of sorts regarding her relationship with her biological parents, and her part aboriginal heritage. Though there is a development of a romantic relationship between Alice and Jeremy it is very low key for most of the novel, culminating in a rushed resolution that seems strangely old-fashioned. I just didn't think any of these ideas provided a strong enough direction or anchor for the story.
I don't think it helped that I had a hard time relating to Alice as I found her reserved nature to be off putting and awkward in someone so young. There are rare glimpses of a sense of humour, and there is no doubting her passion for the land, but otherwise Alice was far too self contained for me to develop an affinity with.
In contrast, Jeremy is open and 'out there'. Though I thought perhaps his personality was just a touch too exaggerated, I did enjoy his cheeky irreverence and his lack of 'filter' but I felt that in many ways he overwhelmed Alice as the primary protagonist.
Despite having a few issues with plot and character, I did enjoy Redstone Station. It is well written with natural dialogue and a strong Australian identity. Fans of rural fiction should particularly appreciate the genuine portrayal of life on a cattle station enjoy this new addition to the genre.