For the Love of the Land
Part two of the Queensland Chronicles opens in 1872 with Rebecca and Daniel Thornton expecting their first child. They are struggling to run the family cattle station, and the responsibility doesn’t sit well. Even though the man is dead, Daniel feels he can never live up to his autocratic father’s expectations. Will Daniel’s workaholism or the harsh Outback conditions threaten their marriage first?
The first book incorporated excellent characterizations, but this one doesn’t live up to that promise. Plot complications take precedence. Leon throws the whole gamut of pioneer disasters at the characters: snakebite, childbed fever, drought, a flood, sick livestock, a cyclone, fire, and a lost child. Perhaps there were extremely unlucky settlers in real life who encountered all those problems within a year, but as fiction Leon doesn’t quite pull it off. Compared to the first book’s engrossing character study, part two reads more like a disaster chronicle. I did like the refreshing subplot of a romance for Rebecca’s middle-aged aunt. I hope the next book in this Christian fiction series will come closer to the more satisfying first volume.