Bantam Australia RRP: $32.95
Review: Monique Mulligan
Laugh-out loud fiction is delivered with relish by Perth-based author Loretta Hill in The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots. Although the headline provides a clever association to the best-selling Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy, the novel bears no resemblance; rather, it’s an enjoyable romantic ride set in the Pilbara area of Western Australia.
Protagonist Lena Todd is a fashion-conscious city girl who thrives on cocktails, cappuccinos and fun. So when the fledgling engineer is sent to the outback for three months, she enters a world far beyond her experience. For starters, her accommodation is an aluminium box called a dongar. She’s surrounded by 350 men, who like the look of her more than she does them. And her new shoes are steel-capped boots. Buoyed by a desire to prove herself, only one thing stands in her way: brooding, Heathcliffe-like Dan “Bulldog” Hullog.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s full of likable and real characters, including Carl, whose favourite word starts with “F”, and provides fascinating insight into the world of fly-in, fly out workers. It’s romantic without being soppy, it’s funny without being slapstick, and it provides readers an escape to an unlikely place – a construction site amid the red dust of Australia’s far north-west.