Nancy McKibben's Reviews > The Fine Color of Rust

The Fine Color of Rust by Paddy O'Reilly
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really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, chick-lit
Recommended for: readers who like foreign settings and chick lit lite

The Fine Color of Rust
By P. A. O’Reilly

This book has many of the ingredients of chick lit, especially its feisty, independent heroine whose feckless husband abandoned her and her two children three years before the story opens. But it transcends its genre and becomes simply a good read.

First, the setting, which is a small, battered town in the Australian outback. The author does an admirable job of transporting the reader to Australia. Who knew that it sometimes gets so hot there that the birds sit on the fence with their beaks open - and then some of them fall off and die? A fascinating detail, and it certainly conveys a sense of the heat and the dust of the outback.

Our heroine Loretta loves her dusty town and is fighting to save it. She has her hands full; first, to convince the Ministry of Education not to close the elementary school, and second, to track down the instigators of a mysterious real estate development in the nearby bush land that threatens the town’s already stingy water supply.

Life is not so easy for this single mother.
When I get to the school gate, the kids are both standing with their hands on their hips. I wonder if they got that from me; old scrag standing with her hands on her hips, pursing her thin lips, squinting into the sun. You could make a statue of that. It would look like half the women in this town. Dust and a few plastic bags swirling around its feet, the taillights of the husband’s car receding into the distance. They should cast it in bronze and put it in the foyer of Social Security.
Idly, Loretta dreams of of rescue.
As I steer the great car down the highway toward home I have a little dream. I’ll pull into the driveway and sitting next to the veranda will be a shiny maroon Harley-Davidson. I won’t dare to look, but out of the corner of my eye I’ll see a boot resting on the step, maybe with spurs on it. Then I’ll slowly lift my head, and he’ll be staring at me the way George Clooney stared into J.Lo’s eyes in Out of Sight and I’ll take a deep breath and say to him, “Can you hang on for five minutes while I drop the kids at the orphanage?
But she actually loves her kids and knows that she has to rescue herself. Warm-hearted, feisty, stubborn and funny, Loretta and her friends will reward the reader who decides to spend a few hours with them.
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