“Samuel Payton was an idiot. Kimberly Foster jammed her phone into her pocket and rushed down the sunny Charlottesville street in a Mr.  Potato Head costume, peep-toe heels, and murderous rage. It was 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday in June, and she was late for a child’s birthday party. But first she needed to strangle a youth pastor.”

Opening lines of A Girl’s Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

From the opening line, our leading lady, Kimberly, has the reader hooked with her wit and sass! She’s balanced by our leading man, Samual, who is full of practicality and Australian humour. Whilst the story begins in America, it swiftly moves to the Australian outback, the perfect setting for this romantic comedy with a beautiful heart!

Kimberley is a successful business thinker who has helped Samuel grow the outreach church program. When Samuel hears from his sister, Jules, that the family farm is struggling, he sets off to help. Jules realises their need for business advice and Kimberly follows Samuel to join them in the great Australian outback with very little idea of what she’s getting herself into!

The outback is a brutal place to live and farm but Jessica Kate manages to capture that alongside beautiful and funny moments in A Girl’s Guide to the Outback. This book has so many great elements: the business challenges are interesting, the friendships deep, the romance entertaining and, to all this, an engaging perspective on living out our Christian faith. Neither of our leads truly understand each other, or have the confidence they project in their skills. In wrestling with these issues, they learn to engage more with life.

This was my first opportunity to enjoy a novel by Jessica Kate but I will certainly be reading her future offerings! It’s so well-written, each character so distinct and interesting, it’s witty and intelligent! I loved it from start to finish and highly recommended! It’s a five out of five on the en-JOY-ment.

From the back cover:

Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Thomas Nelson. through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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