THIS IS BOOK 1 IN A SUNBURNED LAND SERIES
If you enjoy clean, Christian, heartwarming romance, then you're sure to love this story that's set in the rugged Kimberley region in the far north of Australia.
Be swept away to another place!
A divorced reporter on a remote assignment. An alluring cattleman who captures her heart…
City dwelling Maggie Donovan is trying her best to let go of her resentment after her high-profile politician husband of thirty-five years left her for a much younger woman. Her focus now is her job as a reporter for the Country Women’s Magazine, her two adult children, and her church.
She doesn’t care that her ex-husband now has a child who could be his grandchild.
No. It doesn’t worry her at all.
Frank Goddard has never considered moving on after his beautiful wife, Esther, was killed in a freak accident six years earlier. His family, who live with him on Goddard Downs, a cattle station in northern Australia, plus his faith, are what he lives for now.
But he’s lonely. He just doesn’t know it.
When Maggie is sent to the remote, mysterious Kimberley area to write about women living on isolated cattle stations, she jumps at the chance. A change is as good as a holiday, so they say.
Never did she expect to fall for the tall, handsome Frank Goddard of Goddard Downs.
But how can a relationship work when they live so far apart?
When the road is slow and dangerous.
When their lives are complicated.
And besides, how do you date when you’re going on sixty?
Slow Road to Love is Book One in the Sunburned Land Series, a mature-age Christian romance set in the beautiful, rugged and remote Kimberley region of northern Australia. Fall in love with Frank and Maggie today.
WHAT READERS SAY:
"The story flows so smoothly and is well written. The characters are real people with real problems and you end up feeling like you know them so well." Bobbie
"This is a beautiful story about a second chance at love. It is full of emotions and God's love. It will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. This book was a joy to read." Ann
"This is the first book that I have read by Juliette Duncan and definitely will not be the last. It was so gentle, thoughtful, caring story that I have read. Loved the Bible references that relate to incidents in the book. It was relatable to people in that age group and so uplifting. Would recommend it to everyone." Tahoe
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READ A SAMPLE
It was a perfect sunny afternoon in Darwin. Temperatures hovered around 33⁰ Celsius, relatively normal for this time of year. The small park across the street from Maggie Donovan’s office was a hive of activity. Small children were playing in the adventure playground while their mums sipped coffee under the shade of the huge laurel trees. Businesspeople scurried through with their heads down, dodged by youths on electric scooters, and couples strolled along the pathways surrounding the duck pond and fountains.
One couple in particular caught Maggie’s eye as she gazed out the picture window of the conference room, drawing her attention away from the staff meeting she was currently in.
The woman, a tall blonde with an athletic figure, stood next to a baby carriage, rocking it slowly back and forth. An older gentleman in a well-tailored dark suit approached the woman. He was tall as well, with greying hair at his temples. As Maggie watched the couple share a romantic embrace and then proceed down the path pushing the stroller between them, she felt the slow burn of anger and jealousy in the pit of her stomach.
A long sigh escaped her lips as she reflected on her feelings. She hated that even after eighteen months she could still feel the pangs of jealousy and resentment over her divorce. It wasn’t the couple’s fault. They’d done nothing wrong. It was simply that they were a reminder that her husband of thirty-four years had left her for a younger woman, who so happened to be blonde and fit like the lady at the park. And Maggie had only recently found out that they were now expecting their first child together.
This news had torn open the old wounds. She could still remember the pain and shock when she first found out her politician husband was having an affair with a woman in his office. It was followed closely by the betrayal of being served with divorce papers. He wanted to move on and enjoy his new relationship with Mandy. That was her name. The woman who had come between her and her husband and broken up their family.
The infidelity by itself had been a great shock, but the fact he was so ready to throw thirty-four years away was even more so. He didn’t even want to give their relationship a chance to be repaired. It was as if being caught in his infidelity had freed him from all his familial obligations. He had declared he didn’t love her anymore and hadn’t for a long time. That revelation alone had rocked Maggie to the core. It had shattered her heart and her confidence as a wife, as a mother, and as a woman. It had taken her months of therapy to begin to cope with her new life, and seeing that couple had brought it all back.
She pursed her lips, frustrated with her own reaction. She wanted to be over it. She wanted to be able to move on and had tried to convince herself many times that she had. But the truth was, she still struggled. Pretending it didn’t affect her wasn’t working. She needed a change. Something to focus on besides where she thought her life should have been instead of where it was.
Silently, she repeated the Serenity Prayer as she had done countless times before.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Only the sound of her name being called repeatedly pulled her from her painful trip down memory lane and self-recrimination.
“Maggie, is that okay, or were you hoping for a different assignment?... Maggie?”
The conversation had stopped, and all eyes were on her. Maggie quickly pulled her attention from the window. “I’m sorry, Suzanne, can you repeat the question?” Embarrassed at being caught not paying attention, she felt her cheeks colour.
“Of course.” Suzanne smiled gently. Maggie’s long-time boss and friend regarded her closely but said nothing about her preoccupation. “We were discussing the next issue’s assignments and I thought you’d be a good fit for an article about women working on remote cattle stations in the Kimberley. More specifically, about how the women cope with the hardship of both the terrain and the lifestyle.”
The assignment was definitely in Maggie’s wheelhouse. She’d grown up on a small station just outside Darwin. It wasn’t what she would have considered remote, but at least she had a good understanding of how hard the work was and how difficult it could be. Maybe God had answered her prayers, and this was the change she’d been looking for. This assignment would take her away from the city and from all the reminders of Cliff. It was the perfect opportunity to clear her head. Plus, she liked the idea of being able to highlight strong independent women who not only survived on these remote stations, but also thrived.
Although the Kimberley area was a full day’s drive away, Maggie jumped at the chance. “I’d love to. Do you have some stations in mind, or do you need me to do some research?” The wheels in her brain were already turning with ideas for the story line.
“We have a few stations in mind that you could visit. Mike’s already contacted Goddard Downs and spoken with the owner. They’re located in a remote part of the Kimberley, and a couple of women there help to manage the station. I’d probably have you start there and work your way back,” Suzanne said.
“Sounds great.” Maggie’s lips lifted in a smile.
“I’ll set up a time with you and Mike tomorrow morning to go over the details.”
“I’ll look forward to it.”
The rest of the meeting passed without incident as Suzanne continued doling out the remaining assignments. As Maggie was gathering her things to go, she felt a light touch on her shoulder and glanced up.
Suzanne’s eyes were soft, as was her voice. “Are you okay, Maggie?”
They were the only two left in the room, so Maggie felt comfortable letting down her guard. Besides, Suzanne knew all about Cliff and Mandy and the baby, so Maggie knew she could be herself.
She stopped shuffling papers and looked her friend in the eye. “Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disrupt the meeting. I happened to glance out the window and spotted a couple on the path at the park. The man was older, and the woman was blonde and much younger. They were pushing a stroller between them and it caught me off guard.”
“Ahh…now I understand what put that scowl on your face. Well, perhaps this assignment is just what you need. It’ll involve a lot of travelling and considerable research, so it’ll give you a chance to get away and help to occupy your mind with other things.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking.” Maggie nodded and smiled at her friend.
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