In 1934 Henry Percival-Smythe spends most of his time tucked away at Ealing College studying the almost extinct thylacine. A shy and rarely seen creature that has been hunted to the brink of extinction, the thylacine fires Henry’s imagination and he becomes obsessed with cataloging what is left of this strange and unusual animal. When he is given the chance to go into the wilds of Australia and actually see the tiger he is apprehensive and excited. But, in order to do this he has to travel with charismatic Jack “Dingo” Chambers. While on the journey Henry discovers there is more to himself than dusty, old academia and that he not only has a passion for conservation, but also his wayward and wild Australian guide.
Henry was such a great character. He was rather uptight, sheltered and kinda geeky, and considering the time period I felt he was well drawn. His reticent nature was a great foil for Dingo’s brash temperament and this clash made for great tension. Each finding their way, learning about each other and how to deal with their feelings and as a result much late night reading for me. 🙂
The story itself was interesting and part of that was the era it is set in. I sometimes wish there were a few more books written about the 20’s and 30’s in the genre. There is huge potential for that whole forbidden love trope! That the majority of the book is also set in the Antipodes was a huge plus. I think I’ve made mutterings before, about how most published work I read is set in the northern hemisphere. This book felt very familiar and the use of language, setting and over all feel was very entertaining as a reader from this part of the world.
I did feel that Dingo’s family treated his sexuality with incredible acceptance considering the it was set in the 30’s and this required a leap of faith on the readers part. However, as it is fiction and it did not stick out unduly it was not a huge problem. The only other thing I felt could have been tighter were a few of the latter chapters, I got a little impatient with all the ferreting around in the bush. I am an impatient bint though, so that might have just been me and thinking that those boys needed a shower after all that sweaty… hiking.
After reading books from both Catt Ford and Sean Kennedy this year, I felt that both their strengths were very apparent within the book. It was erotic (ZOMG – dream sequence at Dingo’s parents house O-O. Naughty!) and was reasonably faithful to the era it was set in, the world building was vivid, with maybe just the odd bit of mysticism and angst to round it out.
A delightful read with much heart and something quite unique. Move over Indiana!
Check it out here at Dreamspinner Press and ARe.