In a Long Road to Loving Grayson, competent, professional, and very unhappily married Maggie Perkins lives in Cloncurry, a small town in Australia’s outback. As HR officer, Maggie is responsible for meeting new employees and when she meets incoming engineer Grayson Reeves, her world turns upside down.
There is an immediate spark between them, but the road to romance is not an easy one. It is long and strewn with obstacles, not least of which is Maggie’s uncaring husband, Troy.
Theme of the Book
This is a story of personal growth and discovery. Maggie has always been a people-pleaser, ready to sacrifice her own happiness in the face of others’ wishes. In a Long Road to Loving Grayson, readers will find a woman who finally recognizes what is important in her life.
What I Liked About the Story
One of the most enjoyable things about Long Road to Loving Grayson is the description of life in a remote town in the Australian outback. From the odd flora and fauna to the warm and welcoming atmosphere, the author paints the town of Cloncurry as nearly an ideal place to live. Despite their isolation, the characters have close friendships, plenty of social activities, and a safe and caring atmosphere to live in.
The growing relationship between Maggie and Grayson is particularly well handled. Maggie, though caught in a loveless marriage, is a principled woman who refuses to simply have an affair with Grayson, though this was certainly a possibility. Torn between her growing love for a man not her husband and her loyalty to the ideals of marriage, Maggie is a woman in conflict. Readers will both applaud and groan at her attempts to reconnect with her husband, Troy, a man who doesn’t care much for Maggie’s feelings.
Grayson, while the perfect romantic ideal, is not as well drawn as Maggie. Readers recognize the type: a man having suffered in a past relationship now drawn to an unattainable woman. Grayson is the perfect gentleman, but we do not see the inner conflicts as clearly as we do with Maggie.
The scenes between Maggie and Troy are completely believable and frustrating to the reader who will be cheering for Maggie to make the obvious decision. Troy is a totally unsympathetic character who, while not abusive in any way, is simply unfeeling.
One of the best scenes in Alicia Hope’s The Long Road to Loving Grayson comes at the end when Maggie is sent to the airport to pick up a visiting executive. By drawing out the waiting time, giving details of the approach of the plane, and describing Maggie’s emotional doldrums, the author heightens the tension and suspense. Even though the reader knows what is coming, it is impossible to stop reading.
What I Didn’t Like About the Story
Some scenes in the novel seem to have been added to fill out the picture of life in the outback. One in particular, when Maggie and Grayson help a family stranded on the road, seems a simple justification to talk about the airborne medical teams necessary in such a vast area. This scene was interesting, and readers will learn something new, but it added very little to the story itself.
I am not a fan of romance novels with their usual insipid characters who can never manage to talk to one another. This romance is different. The setting is wonderful, the character of Maggie satisfyingly complex, and the conclusion, while expected, very nicely done. I did enjoy the one other book I’ve read by this author (The Café Birds) which also centers on Australian women.
The Long Road to Loving Grayson is highly recommended for fans of romance and for fans of light fiction in general.