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In Promise Me Forever, Juaneta Kees has delivered a beautiful love story set in an Australian country town where the locals pull together through thick and thin. This is book eight in the multi-author Bindarra Creek, A Town Reborn series and if you like reading series in order you’ll feel right at hime here with a host of characters from earlier books. If this is your first foray into the series fear not. This book stands alone well. Jaded and cynical TV reporter Jack Hughes enters this story with a chip on his shoulder over a viral sex video in which he purportedly stars. He’s been sent to Bindarra Creek to get him out of the public eye while the fallout from the tape dies down and he’s not happy. What he doesn’t expect is to find himself falling for Meg Moonie, granddaughter of recently deceased Mary Moonie, whose museum is intended to be the centrepiece of his story, “He’d been in war zones, third world countries, political circuses around the world but nothing had touched his heart like this girl, stranded out in the arse end of nowhere, keeping dreams alive.” Meg is keen to showcase her town as well as the museum she hopes to restore and to do this she’ll tolerate having yet another TV reporter in town. She’s wary of reporters after being duped by one previously. Falling in love is definitely not on the cards. Juanita Kees is an expert in setting the scene. Her description of Mary Moonie’s museum, seen through Jack’s eyes, conjures up just exactly the sort of dusty old buildings that are dotted throughout the country, “The place was a verandah post short of falling in a heap.” The way this story is written truly resonated with me; I felt the visceral reactions Jack and Meg felt for each other, I could feel myself sitting in the pub watching the townspeople coming and going, dancing to the juke box and generally getting on with their lives. I really connected to Bindarra Creek and honestly I could not have been happier when Jack and Meg finally got their happy ever after.
My favourite Juanita Kees' story yet... I loved this. Part of it was because Jack makes such an adorable hero, and Meg is courageous, and I loved how independent and strong she is. There are gorgeous scenes in the outback, depicted beautifully by the author, yet filled with the reality of travel in an unforgiving natural environment. As with all Juanita Kees' stories, the drama is real, the characters are vibrant and human... this is an absolute page turner and a great return to Bindarra Creek, and fitting ending of the latest Bindarra Creek series.