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Rural Liberties

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Moralla, a fading seaside town on the 'beautifully uncivilised' Sapphire Coast of New South Wales, has won Australia's Tidy Towns award for two years running. Now Rebecca Moore--the most beautiful, talented girl in town--is dead and there's nothing tidy about it. It seems everyone in this sleepy hollow is breaking bad and something has to be done. Why was she on the Princes Highway at four a.m.? What could have lured her there and how will the town cope with the series of events set in motion by her shocking departure?

When the maverick foundation Rural Liberties sets up unconventional sexual retreats on Moralla's fringes and TV's longest-running reality show recruits the town's number two beauty, the stage is set for one of the most diabolical and outrageous coups ever. If what happens in Moralla stays in Moralla, then what will the new arrivals bring and what will they leave behind?

Rebecca is watching from the wings as the town's moral compass goes haywire and a bold new era of debauchery and enlightenment is set to begin.

360 pages, Paperback

Published June 20, 2017

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About the author

Neal Drinnan

14 books15 followers
Neal Drinnan was born in Melbourne, Australia, sometime in the 1960s. At seventeen he abandoned his family and education for the lure of life’s more ephemeral things (they lasted longer than he expected).

He has worked in publishing and journalism for many years. He is the author of five novels—Glove Puppet, Pussy’s Bow, Quill, Izzy and Eve and Rare Bird of Truth, as well as The Rough Guide to Gay and Lesbian Australia and numerous short stories. Readers who find themselves shocked by the morality of his tales should perhaps spare a thought for the author and his diligent research. He is a regular commentator on issues surrounding life love and laughter but never politics if he can avoid it.

Drinnan is generally polite, well-spoken, and well-read (although not necessarily well-behaved) and—like vodka in tonic—he mixes freely and sometimes even glows in the dark.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Jo-Ann Duff .
316 reviews15 followers
July 31, 2017
The town of Moralla may be small but jeez it has a whole lot going on!

Rural Liberties. Rebecca Moore is the town’s sweetheart and had a voice that would have taken her far, had she not stood in front of a truck in the middle of the night and got herself killed. A shrine starts to grow on the roadside, and the grief and speculation surrounding her death begins to consume the locals.

Rebeccas best friend also wanted to be a star; they were going to escape the town together. In the wake of the tragedy and to pay homage to her friend she auditions for Hot Sista, a sleazy take on Big Brother and the brain child of Reece Martin who has become a wealthy man and a very poor human because of its success.

Then there are the new couple in town who have set up what the locals think is a new eco-resort hopefully bringing tourism back to this fading town. They couldn’t be more wrong.

Told you there was a lot going on, didn’t I?

Add to these three main plot lines a whole heap of side characters, and you’ll start to wonder if it is all just a little bit too much. The characters are well written, but there just isn’t enough time in all the short chapters to get a strong sense of any of them. The chapters are just a few pages long, so you barely get focussed on one person when the next person comes in. This made it quite difficult in the first half of the book, and I felt a bit confused as to who was who.

Once I did get all the characters sorted out in my head, I began to enjoy the read. There was far more sex than I thought going off the book jacket and that certainly added some spice! The subjects brought up are topical and handled with honesty and sensitivity, it was these moments that kept me hooked. The Hot Sista storyline did get a little fantastical at the end, but I enjoyed the ride nonetheless.

Overall Rural Liberties was a bit sexy, a bit fun, a bit sad, and very entertaining. If you’re looking for a holiday read this could well be it! You need to take the time to become a local of Moralla yourself, and if you’re dipping in and out of the pages, you’ll forget who is who. But, if you take the time to stick with it, you’ll have a great time watching these small town people aim for big dreams and use sex as a weapon, bargaining tool and a money maker, and you’ll also find out what happened to poor Rebecca Moore.
Profile Image for Bradley Baker.
Author 8 books2 followers
January 30, 2018
There's so much going on in the fictional town of Moralla, the setting of Neal Drinnan's latest novel. It starts with the mysterious, yet not so mysterious death of Rebecca Moore - a teenager with big aspirations. The death seems to affect everyone in the town and threatens to uncover (and often does) a number of indescretions and secrets.

If you're not planning to read this book over a short period of time, you may find yourself turning back pages (Who the Hell is this guy, again? Oh, he's new ... ) The cast of characters is enormous. Some of these characters have a quality of realness and depth, but there's also quite a few one-dimensional 'fluffers.' It seems as though Drinnan choose to explore the themes of this novel via an ever-expanding cast. Most of the time I didn't mind this (after all, the novel is about a town more than anything).

The chapters are short and I often found myself saying, 'okay, just one more.' I think this is a tribute to Drinnan's gifts as a storyteller.

My preference is for Drinnan's novels where a great deal of shit happens to a few people, rather than a little bit of something happening to the many.
Profile Image for Robin.
Author 8 books21 followers
March 26, 2018
An interesting plot, but the story is told from too many points of view, so that we never get a chance to really dig deep into any one person. To me, this led to a lack of attachment and empathy for any of the characters.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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