Book Review: Fly In Fly Out by Georgina Penney
“After months working on an oil rig in the Atlantic Ocean, engineer Jo Blaine can't wait to get home. Her job is tough, and she is desperate for some long-overdue girl time. When she walks through her front door to find an unexpected man in her house, she's tempted to head straight back out to sea.
Stephen Hardy has always felt guilty for the part he played in ruining Jo's leaving home years earlier and jumps at the chance to make amends. It takes some fast talking, but he finally convinces Jo to let him look after her apartment and her giant cranky cat while she's away on the rig. And by the time she leaves for her next shift, they're both eagerly anticipating her return.
But balancing family and friends with a new relationship when you're never around is tricky, and Jo is also keeping secrets about her past. After a lifetime of taking care of herself, Jo isn't used to sharing her problems – especially when they involve her messy family history. Picking up the pieces every time she comes home is getting harder, and Jo begins to wonder if a fly-in fly-out lifestyle is really worth it . . .”
It’s no secret that a lot of Australians have cottoned on to the FIFO way of life. In fact, my husband brought the subject up some time ago but when we actually sat down and thought about it, we realised that it’s not a lifestyle that we wanted to experience. It’s no fun being married with two children while your other half only spends a few weeks of the year at home and neither would it be ideal for those singles out there trying to embark on a new relationship.
And so it is with Jo Blaine. After years of being an engineer on the oil rigs with only a week or two every few months to spend at home, a brush from the past makes her start wondering if it’s all worth it.
Tired and cranky after a fair few flights from Mauritania to WA, she arrives home only to trip over a huge pair of work boots and then find herself face to face (well, almost) with a butt-naked man.
Stephen Hardy is the last man she expected to see in her home but unbeknownst to her, her sister, Jo, and best friend, Scott, had arranged for Stephen to house-sit and look after her cat Boomba (who has no idea where his loyalties should lie) for her whilst she was away. He’s a part of her past that she’d rather forget as it dredges up too many painful memories of her childhood but she allows him the benefit of the doubt and eventually comes to an arrangement for him to continue his house-sitting.
Stephen, on the other hand (now that he’s all grown up), is still quite cut-up by the way he treated her and Amy when they were teenagers and is hell-bent on trying to make amends. He just didn’t expect “Rabies” Blaine to have turned into the woman she is today.
As they rekindle their acquaintance which leads to them striking up a passionate love affair, the fact that she is no longer enamored with her job, the challenges of long-distance love and family issues become all too much for Jo. With a shadow from her past rising up to threaten her existence, she’s got to make a decision about revealing her past to this man she has irrevocably fallen in love with.
Not having read Irrepressible You, Georgina Penney’s first novel, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but now that I’ve read Fly In Fly Out, I can without a doubt say that I’m a fan!
Georgina has created extremely realistic characters in Jo and Stephen who are dealing with contemporary issues that we can probably all relate to and I couldn’t help but root for them as they tried to work through past hurts to make their relationship work. I was extremely sympathetic to Jo’s dilemma regarding whether or not to reveal her past to Stephen, and Georgina has an easy way of bringing Jo’s insecurities across loud and clear. It can’t be easy to speak about such shameful and painful memories but thankfully the secondary characters of Amy and Scott (who is the kind of male friend that every girl needs) go a long way in supporting her both throughout her life and with the situation she has found herself in.
Whilst this is a fantastically humorous story, with plenty of great one-liners, laugh-out-loud moments, and steamy sex scenes (one in particular just about knocked my socks off), there’s a slightly darker thread running through, giving us a story about learning to trust others, forgiving yourself and realising that sometimes, no matter how much you’d like to help a person you love, if that person doesn’t want to help themselves, there’s nothing you can do.
For all you contemporary addicts out there, I wouldn’t knock this one back as being a frivolous romance. It’s an engaging story with a lot of substance, relatable characters and an air of suspense which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
I wish to thank Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a hard copy ARC of this novel.
About the Author
Georgina Penney first discovered romance novels when she was eleven and has been a fan of the genre ever since. It took her another eighteen years to finally sit in front of a keyboard and get something down on the page but that's alright, she was busy doing other things until then.
Some of those things included living in a ridiculous number of towns and cities in Australia before relocating overseas to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Brunei Darussalam.
In between all these travels, Georgina managed to learn to paint, get herself a Communication and Cultural Studies degree, study Psychotherapy and learn all about Hypnotherapy. In the early days she even managed to get on the IT roller coaster during the early noughties boom, inexplicably ending the ride by becoming the registrar of a massage and naturopathy college. There was also PhD in the mix there somewhere but moving to Saudi Arabia and rediscovering the bodice ripper fixed all that.
Today she lives with her wonderful husband, Tony, in a cozy steading in the Scottish countryside. When she's not swearing at her characters and trying to cram them into her plot, she can be found traipsing over fields, gazing at hairy coos and imagining buff medieval Scotsmen in kilts (who have access to shower facilities and deodorant) living behind every bramble hedge.