THE GOODBYE RIDE
Author: Lily Malone
Self-published RRP $2.99 (Kindle)
Review: Monique Mulligan
I was offered the chance to review The Goodbye Ride early and despite author Lily Malone’s nail-biting wait for a thumbs-up, she need not have worried. I enjoyed it! Blue Eyes and I married in a vineyard, so a romance set in one of Australia’s best-known wine growing regions, the lovely Barossa Valley, had immediate appeal. Malone just wanted some feedback on Amazon and Goodreads ahead of the eBook launch, but I decided I’d share my short and sweet review here as well.
Olivia Murphy is a woman on a mission. Gracing the front lawn of a house in her Adelaide Hills hometown sits the classic Ducati motorbike that once belonged to her brother, a For Sale sign by the tyre.
Liv wants to buy the precious bike and bring it back into her family, and she wants the ink dry on the paperwork before the approaching holiday weekend.
One person stands in her way.
Owen Carson likes rare and beautiful things and he has the Ducati in his sights. Then he meets Liv, and finds his heart captured by beauty of a far different kind.
What will Olivia do to make the Ducati hers? And can Owen convince Liv he wants more than a holiday fling?
Short, sweet and a little bit spicy, The Goodbye Ride is a novella that takes place over a few days. The two protagonists, Olivia and Owen, meet at the start and sparks fly. For Olivia, it’s because Owen has just out-bid her on a motorbike she’s been saving hard to buy – it was her late brother’s and holds great sentimental value. Owen just sees a collector’s bike and cashed up after a stint in Antarctica, he can afford to pay the asking price. And he sees a pretty cute chick. The conflict is introduced smoothly and believably – you get Olivia’s frustration and sadness (which you realise comes from a deeper place than not getting what she wants). As it turns out, Owen’s a perceptive guy, willing to give up what to him is a “toy” for someone who needs it more (how can a reader not like that?). Olivia, of course, takes a while to get this; she’s suspicious of his motives.
There’s a nice little pride and prejudice element in there that I liked. No, The Goodbye Ride is not trying to emulate the classic, but the typical ‘girl judges boy’ theme is strong. Olivia sees Owen driving a ute and judges him rather harshly – he must be the same as the other ute-driving guys who mocked her brother for being gay. Right? The pride and prejudice mostly comes from her – she’s got her walls up; Owen, remorseful about an incident in his own life, seems more open. However, despite Olivia’s tendency to jump to conclusions, I liked her and I understood where she was coming from. Unlike her “wipe it clean” mother and controlling father, Olivia is still able to show her emotions. Owen, well, he was a dream of a man – insightful, sensitive … and manly (he didn’t feel the cold much after being in Antarctica, so he wore rather less clothes than Olivia was comfortable with). Both of the characters were a good fit and I hoped they’d jump all the hurdles in their way and end up together. A sign of good writing! If you can’t imagine the characters together, what’s the point? And when they did get together? Just the right amount of sizzle. I have a good imagination; I don’t really need to know everything!
Until fairly recently, I’ve tended not to read romance novels, but since I’ve set up my review site I’ve been re-introduced to the genre; I’ve found that when they’re written well, romances make a light, satisfying read, just right for balancing out some of the heavier, more thought-provoking books I often favour. The Goodbye Ride was well-written and fun; the conflicts and sexual tension resolved well in a short word count and the storyline and attraction was believable. Reading it tells me that Lily Malone has a good future in writing fiction. You can tell she’s having fun when she writes, interspersing (I’m guessing) bits of herself and her life here and there (her own husband’s love of motorbikes is reflected in Owen), and that she’s dedicated to her craft. Sometimes it’s hard to put the journalist away and let creativity rule (I’m a journo, I know how squashed creativity gets), but I don’t read Lily’s work and think “journo”!
If you’re looking for a short read in which the spice enhances the romantic and dramatic elements (rather than overpowers it), you won’t go wrong with The Goodbye Ride. Now available for Kindle on Amazon – look out for specials on launch day, May 23.
Bookish treat: Feeding grapes to your loved one sounds good. Mmmm. As long as they’re seedless!