When Fiona Collins meets Stuart Higgins at a leadership conference in Melbourne, she isn't looking for a relationship, let alone the upheaval of falling in love with an intelligent, eco-friendly cotton farmer from south-east Queensland.
But that's exactly what's on the cards. When Stuart sends Fiona a pair of crusty old boots and a declaration of love 16 days into their fledgling relationship, it's the start of a love story that endures - in spite of distance, the strain of Stuart's cotton farm entering its fourth year of drought, and Fiona's issues with commitment.
Something's got to give, and eventually Fiona makes the life-changing decision to move from her comfortable Sydney life to Stuart's farm where the nearest township is Jandowae, population 700.
Here, Fiona must become accustomed to snakes on the doorstep, frogs in the toilet, feral cats in the roof, and the perils of the bush telegraph. Gradually, she begins to love her life on the land and finds the courage to face her fears. But as Stuart struggles to balance environmental and commercial realities, she realises that farming isn't quite as simple as she first imagined. Ultimately, Fiona has to learn how to cope with the devastating impact of the drought that grips the countryside, and what it means for Stuart, the farm and their future together.
Love in the Age of Drought is a delightful fish-out-of-water story about the city/rural culture clash overcome by the course of true love. Written with heart and humour, it's also a moving tribute to country Australia's strength and capacity for survival and renewal amid a drought that won't be broken.