Title: Inherit the Sky (Lang Downs #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: February 20, 2012 – 206 pgs
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.
This is the first book in one of my all time favourite series. Here we watch Caine make the journey from his safe but dead-end life in Philadelphia to a sheep station in Australia’s wild outback.
As the first book, it is the most typical “romance” of the series. It is also the simplest book in the series. Most of the focus remains on Caine and his foreman Macklin as they figure out their relationship. The dramas are small – Macklin is justifiably wary of coming out in the outback and Caine has to adjust to a rough new world while working to gain respect from the men who work for him. The two central character are brilliantly drawn. The city boy with a business degree and the hardened stockman compliment each other beautifully. Both men are strong, attractive and interesting enough to carry a full series.
Lang Downs Station is introduced for the first time here. I accidentally started with book five, so I found it fascinating to go back in time more than ten years to the initial descriptions of characters who become very important to the station and the series over time. This first book is a testament to Tachna’s ability to write complex characters who grow and develop through the series.
I probably wouldn’t give this first book five stars in its own right, though I’d give the series as a whole five stars. It moves slowly as Tachna introduces readers to her outback and the characters who live on Lang Downs. But I’m not sure this book could have moved quicker. Readers need the details and the jargon to immerse themselves in Caine and Macklin’s world. The series definitely gets better from here, but this book starts everything off brilliantly.
Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit, and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.