Aussie Book Review: Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton

“In the ancient lands of Kakadu, it's not just the crocodiles you should be afraid of...

Helicopter pilot Ellie Porter loves her job. Soaring above the glorious Kakadu National Park, she feels freed from the heavy losses of her beloved family farm and the questions around her father's suicide. But when a search-and-rescue mission on the boundary of the older property reveals unusual excavation works, Ellie vows to investigate.

The last thing she needs is her bad-tempered co-pilot, Kane McLaren, interfering. The son of the current owners of the farm, her attraction to him is a distraction she can't afford, especially when someone threatens to put a stop to her inquiries - by any means necessary.

Ellie will have to trust Kane if she is to have any hope of uncovering the truth of what is really going on. Between Ellie's damage and Kane's secrets, can they find a way to open up to each other before the shadowy forces shut her up... for good?”

The Northern Territory is one of those places I’ve longed to visit for some time now so I was very excited to pick up Annie Seaton’s first romantic suspense novel and discover that she had placed her characters within this terrifyingly beautiful landscape with not only the crocodiles to contend with.

Ellie is still trying to come to terms with the death of her father as well as the loss of her much-loved family farm – the only home she’d ever really known. Trying to put the past behind her, she puts her everything into her work as a helicopter pilot at Makowa Lodge, taking resort guests on flights over the breathtaking expanse of Kakadu National Park.

Kane has arrived in town to not only try and overcome the anxiety he suffers as a consequence of a horrific incident that took place whilst he was in the military, but also be nearer to his ill mother who is living on the old mango farm that Ellie’s family once owned. Hired by the lodge to service and maintain their helicopters, he’s not expecting to come face-to-face with the tiny but sassy and determined Ellie and even more unprepared for the way she makes him feel.

Then of course, there’s the fact that Ellie has discovered that something sinister appears to be afoot at the property bordering the park and has taken it upon herself to investigate why the landscape has changed in such an unnatural way. As the sun sets on Kakadu, Ellie finds herself in rocky waters with her only saving grace being a man who can hopefully put aside his fears!

This is the first I have read by Annie Seaton and I was quite stunned to discover that it is also her first in the sub-genre because her writing is so impressive. Her descriptions of the landscape and life in Kakadu National Park and its surrounds are vivid, her characters practically leap off the page, emotional scenes are intense and her love scenes are just a little bit (read *a lot*) sexy - and all this while she ratchets up the suspense aspect to pulse-pounding perfection!

On the surface, this is a story about love but at the heart of that romance is an even deeper desire to protect our natural environment for generations to come and Annie has woven a truly suspenseful tale touching on contemporary issues which seem to increasingly be plaguing Australia and its people on a daily basis. Some of those issues include coal-seam gas mining, PTSD, suicide, corruption and greed whilst also touching on Indigenous land rights.

It’s quite clear that Annie is passionate about our environment and conservation and, while the conservation message in this novel is strong, it merely adds an extra layer to this well-written novel, never detracting from the romance that is playing out before the reader’s eyes, as Ellie seeks answers and Kane tries to overcome his fears.

With a well-crafted plot, a backdrop that shines in its intensity, believable characters, a passionate romance and great suspense, Annie Seaton will have you eating out of her hands as you devour this novel. Balancing out each aspect perfectly, she keeps her reader engaged, thus making it easy to become invested in Ellie, Kane and Kakadu’s story.

If you’re a fan of romance and its sub-genres then Kakadu Sunset should definitely be on top of your list as this is a promising beginning to, what looks like it could be, a successful series.

I wish to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with a hard copy for review.

About the Author

Annie Seaton lives near the beach on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.

She is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing and has been delighted to discover that readers love reading her stories as much as she loves writing them.

Her career and studies have spanned the education sector for most of her working life, with the completion of a Masters Degree in Education, and working as an academic research librarian, a high school principal and a university tutor until she took up a full-time writing career.

She is now published internationally in e-books across the romance genre, and in 2014 was voted Australian Author of the Year by romance readers in the Readers' Choice Awards.

Each winter, Annie and her husband leave the beach to roam the remote areas of Australia for story ideas and research.


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