The Stockman’s Secret by Mandy Magro. (2020).
**3.5 out of 5 stars**
**Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me a free advance readers copy of this novel; published 18 May 2020**
In the small town of Little Heart, Juliette and Joel are drawn together after being targeted by bullies. But when the bullying takes a drastic turn, Juliette can see no other way to protect Joel from the aftermath than to break his heart. Devastated and confused, Joel heads into the heart of the outback to jackaroo. 10 years later, Joel returns to mend fences with his family and offer Juliette support. He’s never stopped loving her. Is it finally time to make things right between them, and will they find a way to make peace with the past and regain their future together?
I did like this one well enough, but I wouldn’t say I really enjoyed it. I would like to point out that rural romance is not one of my preferred genres, I only read it here and there. I think for me the characters and plot in this one felt slightly cliche and overly dramatic at times which put me off a bit. In saying that, I was definitely hoping that Joel and Juliette would be able to sort out their respective issues and have a happy ending together. I liked the love that the main characters had for their animals, it was heartwarming. There were a couple of characters I would have liked to have spent more time with (Zoe and Ben) but to be fair I guess that wouldn’t have fit with the whole romance concept.
I think that readers who are fans of Australian rural romance would really enjoy this novel.