Read Zoe's Muster by Barbara Hannay Online


When Zoe, restless black sheep of the Porter family, discovers that her biological father is a North Queensland cattleman, Peter Fairburn, her deep desire to meet him takes her from inner-city Brisbane to a job as a stockcamp cook....

Title : Zoe's Muster
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781921901126
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Zoe's Muster Reviews

  • Brenda
    2019-03-22 15:35

    The unexpected discovery that the man she’d thought of as her father, politician Rex Porter was not her biological father had Zoe in a mess. Her mother Claire swore Zoe to secrecy – the upset to Rex as a politician just wasn’t allowed to happen. But when the job of camp-muster cook at Mullinjim Station became available, and Zoe knew her biological father and family lived there, Zoe was determined to meet them all. With no thought to the can of worms she could unearth, Zoe was soon on her way to far north Queensland…The first person Zoe met was the taciturn and moody Mac McKinnon when he picked her up from the bus stop – she hoped that he wasn’t a sign of the unfriendliness of the local residents. But when she arrived at her donga near the homestead, Luke Fairburn, son of the owner and unbeknown to him, Zoe’s half-brother, was welcoming and friendly. The ringers when they arrived were also friendly – Zoe knew she would love it at Mullinjim.But the pressure on Zoe accelerated – she didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t talk to anyone about the huge secret she held deep inside – but if she didn’t she feared it would burst out of her when it most definitely shouldn’t. What was she to do? She now knew she should have given far more thought to what could potentially destroy two families…Zoe’s Muster by Aussie author Barbara Hannay is set in Brisbane and Far North Queensland; I thoroughly enjoyed the story and found the apt descriptions of the land and its wildlife, the surrounding lagoons and the bush – all told in a way that allowed me to see the vast beauty everywhere. Zoe’s Muster is one I highly recommend.

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    2019-04-20 23:08

    An engaging story, Zoe's Muster doesn't stray far from familiar ground for Barbara Hannay, the award winning author of over 40 category romance novels published by Harlequin, blending romance and an Australian rural setting. Zoe Porter is stunned to learn that a North Queensland cattleman, Peter Fairburn, is her biological father, not the high profile Brisbane politician who raised her. Against her mothers wishes, but agreeing to keep her secret, Zoe abandons her cupcake business and takes a temporary position as the stock camp cook at Mullinjim, the Fairburn's property, eager to learn more about her father and his family. Zoe expected cooking for half a dozen ringers over an open fire during muster would be challenging but not revealing her true reason for taking the position proves more difficult, especially under the scrutiny of Mac McKinnon.Zoe's Muster is well plotted with a credible storyline and I like the way in which Hannay expands this story beyond her main protagonist. This is not just Zoe's story, her discovery, and her desire to learn more about her biological father, has implications for both the Porters and the Fairburns. Claire's relationship with her husband is already under strain when Zoe discovers the truth of her paternity and though her instinct is to protect her husband, who is standing for re-election, Claire's guilt proves to be a catalyst for change.Virgina, Peter's wife, is impressed with Zoe and considers her a possible partner for her son, Luke, who makes his interest known. Obviously Zoe's secret precludes that relationship which creates some tense situations. When Zoe's identity is revealed Virgina feels betrayed which is magnified by her insecurities stemming from Peter's past relationship with Claire.The characters of Zoe's Muster are credible and Zoe is a likeable protagonist. Her motivations are easily understood and she is a well developed character. I loved the scene in which she gets her own back on Julia in regards to the spider and admire her willingness to awake in the pre dawn hours to feed half a dozen ravenous men. The romance between Zoe and Mac has its own challenges, aside from the secret Zoe is keeping. Mac is wary of Zoe at first simply because she is a city girl, reminding him of previous heartbreak, but he also suspects she is hiding something. There is for me the right amount of heat in this novel, smouldering looks and a passionate encounter or two.While romance is at its core, Zoe's Muster combines an engaging story with appealing characters set in a wonderful landscape. I enjoyed reading Zoe's Muster and consider it another fine example of the growing rural fiction genre being published in Australia.

  • Rachael Johns
    2019-04-18 19:20

    Absolutely LOVED Zoe's Muster!! A really well-developed storyline, with fab characters and some laugh out loud moments. Can't wait for Barbara Hannay's next book!

  • Lauren K
    2019-03-27 17:28

    4.5 starsBarbara Hannay is a well-established romance author for Harlequin and despite many of her stories featuring the Australian outback; Zoe’s Muster is the first of her novels to be marketed purely in the rural romance domain.In Zoe’s Muster, Hannay clearly displays how proficiently she creates a steamy love story amidst the backdrop of Australian’s rugged land. This story explores various character viewpoints: Zoe, her love interest, Mac, her mother Claire and her biological father’s wife Virginia which creates a multidimensional view of the issues facing each of these characters.I immediately aligned myself with Zoe, twenty-eight years old and running a successful high tea (and cupcakes) business in Brisbane, trying to live up to the expectation of her politician father, Rex Porter. When she accidently stumbles across medical forms which states her parents blood types are completely at odds with her- Zoe and Claire must come to terms with the discovery that Rex isn’t Zoe’s biological father. Claire’s brief affair with cattleman Peter Fairburn up in the northern Queensland before she resumed a relationship with Rex and hastily married is the story behind Zoe’s conception.Zoe’s curiosity about her father and siblings she’d never known motivates her to accept a job as a cook on Mullinjim farm during a six-week muster. Much to her mother’s dismay, she makes Zoe promise to keep the secret of her lineage until after the election or she will risk Rex’s career. Zoe leaves a friend in charge of her business and arrives at Mullinjim, eager to try bush cooking and to meet her family. She instantly hits it off with her half-brother Luke but is upset by the news of Peter’s heart-attack, though he was recovering steadily. What she doesn’t expect is to be attracted to Luke’s best mate and neighbour Mac McKinnon the brooding, handsome cattleman who seems to take an instant disliking to her. Zoe struggles to keep her secret when Luke (her half-brother!) asks her out on a date and Mac is suspicious of her past.Hannay cleverly fleshes out each of the characters and provided Zoe and Mac with believable conflicts that keep them from pursuing a serious relationship. Zoe couldn’t bear to get in between Mac and Luke’s friendship with the secret hovering over their heads and Mac could never trust another city girl after his former fiancé broke his heart. But Zoe can’t help be attracted to Mac’s quiet, strong presence and he is drawn in by her adaptive, hard-working approach to the muster that makes her perfect for a cattleman’s wife. And the sexual tension between them? WOW. I couldn’t stop turning the (electronic) pages during those scenes because the emotional and physical connection between Zoe and Mac was clearly expressed and at times, quite moving.I highly recommend Zoe’s Muster for any romance fans who enjoy strong characterisation, steamy love scenes and a vivid Australian setting. I’m going to hunt down some of Hannay’s former titles because I enjoyed her writing style so much!

  • Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
    2019-03-27 21:26

    4.5 starsWhat could be more uplifting than beginning the new year with a rural romance that takes ones breath away with its landscape, its wonderful cast of characters and its superb storyline. I’m just sorry that this novel has been sitting on my shelf for years and with me repeatedly running my hands across the book only to pick up something else, that will not occur with the sequel to Zoe’s Muster, it’s sitting nicely a few books down from the top of my TBR pile.I can’t help but fall in love with a book that is set in Tropical North QLD. The landscape is to die for, the untouched beauty and the natural wonders of the outback is second to none. Barbara Hannay sure has a knack for creating wonderful, intelligent stories, she also draws the readers in with her beautiful and vivid description of the outback landscape.A beautiful well written rural romance with some great laugh out loud moments. Loved Mullinjim Station and the muster which took Zoe on an interesting journey and as the stock camp cook. At times I felt like I was sitting around the camp fire listening in to their banter and enjoying the feast Zoe prepared for the ringers. A superb read I highly recommend!

  • Jenn J McLeod
    2019-04-13 22:12

    I loved everything about Zoe’s Muster. Barbara Hannay brings a maturity and complexity to what the publisher (Penguin) has clearly branded – by the title and the cover image – a rural romance. But I have to stress that this savvy author’s venture into the farm-lit genre really offers readers so much more. Yes there’s a love triangle (well, a kind of triangle) and all the emotional angst you’d expect from a ru-ro, but what I wasn’t expecting was the depth the author brought to the story and the characters, taking this novel to the next level by weaving two sensational sub-plots – one covering Zoe’s parents (in particular her relationship with a father too caught up in his political career to notice his wife and daughter slipping away emotionally) and one that delves into her mother’s long ago links to the Fairburns (the people who own the property where Zoe goes to be the camp cook for a six-week muster).Confession: I am an author, but my review is genuine and while I know of Barbara Hannay (she’s written some 40 books) I have not met her. Why I read Zoe’s Muster was because I love stories about secrets. (If you’ve read my House for all Seasons you would know how much I LOVE a secret – or as reviewers are calling it ‘the twist they never saw coming’!) I am used to reading and writing stories about secrets that generally reveal themselves at the end. I wanted to read a novel in which the author reveals the secret to the reader up front. I wanted to see what it takes to keep a reader reading. I’m still not sure how the author did it because I stopped trying to analyse the plot and I fell in love with the very real characters and their circumstances.The main character, Zoe, learns up front that the man who raised her is not her birth father and, against her mother’s wishes, heads off to country Queensland to get up close and personal and learn more about her ‘other family’. Zoes hadn’t planned on the charming and somewhat fervent Luke – her half-brother – wanting to get a little too close and personal to the attractive city chef! Hmm, a tricky situation made even more complex by hunky cattleman, Mac McKinnon who is wary of city chicks (and with good reason).This book was a delight from beginning to end, not a sagging middle to be found. I hear there will be a sequel to Zoe’s Muster, to be set on the same country property with ‘new’ Fairburn family members. I look forward to that story very much and highly recommend you check out Zoe’s Muster. The five star rating is definitely warranted.

  • Sonya Heaney
    2019-03-21 17:24

    Originally posted here.I don’t know why I was surprised to see Barbara Hannay jumping in on the Rural Lit craze. After all, she was writing shorter rural romances years before the trend took off, and I’ve enjoyed everything of hers I’ve read. I knew she’d deliver a good story, and I knew she’d come up with something original in a completely saturated field.As I’ve said before, it’s hard to know what to pick from the current sea of book covers featuring twenty-something women in Akubras. I’ve been very successful when following established authors whose work I’ve read in other genres (such as Karly Lane, whose most recent book I thought was really good).Zoe’s Muster hovers somewhere between Women’s Fiction and Romance, focusing mostly on Zoe, but also giving attention to two other women in Zoe’s life: her mother, who has some big secrets, and the wife of Zoe’s biological father.I was curious about how Hannay’s writing would transition from the “Sweet” line she has written for in the past to the less-sweet atmosphere of a full-length rural novel. I was pleasantly surprised to find the language appropriately – uh – “rural male” when it needed to be, amongst other things.I was also thrilled that we were shown a nice view of both city and country lifestyles; in fact a sizeable portion of the book was devoted to time in more developed areas.I do plan to buy this in paperback soon, but I read the Kindle version this time, and I do have a complaint. This: SeEB03BodyTextINDENTEDte kept appearing in the middle of paragraphs, sometimes eliminating key words in sentences (I gave up trying to figure out what some of them were meant to say!). I am becoming tired of seeing this in Kindle books in general, but especially in books put up for sale by major publishers. Not that I understand much about Kindle formatting, but surely this is an issue that could be taken care of.Though I’ve struggled through a few Rural Lit books in recent months, I’ve been pretty lucky recently. Zoe’s Muster was definitely a success for me!

  • Diana Hockley
    2019-04-15 23:06

    Zoe's Muster has elements of the traditional, "girl looking for her "real" father" but the way Barbara Hannay has written this story makes those elements take on a new perspective.Zoe takes off to the north of Queensland to join a cattle muster as the camp cook, after she discovers purely by chance that the father she has always known is not her biological one. This is a surprise to her mother as well, and Claire, beset by marriage problems, begs Zoe not to tell anyone why she is at the station working. Obviously, this causes a few problems for Zoe.I loved that this book was set in Brisbane, as I lived there for many years and now live on an hour and a half away in the country.The character of Zoe was excellent portrayed and, to my relief, was not "over the top" bull-headed - or "feisty" as authors like to call young women who are badly behaved. Zoe is everyone's daughter, a pleasant character, capable of being hurt without lashing out like a madwoman. She is humble without being servile, takes instruction from anyone who knows what they're talking about and is generally a credit to her creator.I have known quite a few Mac's in my life - being brought up on a rural property myself - and he is better looking and sexier than any I came across - but then he has to be, he's the main male protagonist.The supporting cast are excellently presented and had the effect of me wanting to read more by this author. I like Australian fiction - it has to be authentic and not "Americanised" as some are - and this novel is well worth anyone's time to read.Good work :)

  • Bree T
    2019-03-31 19:09

    Brisbane girl Zoe is stunned when she finds out quite by accident that the man her mother is married to, the man that has raised her, is not actually her biological father. Zoe’s real father is a north-Queensland cattle station owner and suddenly the insecurities Zoe has always had about not fitting into her family, about not knowing what she wants to do with her life in a family of decision makers, seem like they might go away if she got to know her father. And almost by divine intervention, the cattle station that Peter Fairburn (her biological father) owns is advertising for a stockcamp cook to provide food for the men while they’re mustering all the cattle. Zoe is a chef, currently running a high tea business in Brisbane and feeling restless. Looking for a change. Ignoring the fear her mother has of only bad coming from this, Zoe applies for the job and not long later finds herself arriving in far north QLD. She’s not quite sure what to expect, especially when she discovers that her accomodations are quite some way from the homestead. She’s not sure she’ll even get a chance to glimpse the man that fathered her, especially when she learns that he’s laid up at the moment recovering from a heart attack.Despite this disappointment, Zoe throws herself into the work, dishing up hearty food for the busy men and scrumptious desserts. Well fed men are grateful men and they’re quite happy to have Zoe around. Awkwardly, the man that is her half brother (although unbeknownst to him) takes a shine to her, flirting with her and making no secret of the fact that he’d like to get to know her…more. He’s her boss though and Zoe is loathe to shut him down too harshly even though with her knowledge, she knows that she should. Besides, she’s more interested in his dark and brooding friend Mac, who owns a nearby property. Mac is helping with the muster as it’s Luke’s first time overseeing one with his father still not quite back on active duty. Mac is suspicious about Zoe’s arrival on the property – in fact he’s suspicious of all city girls he thinks are heading out to try and pick themselves up a station-owner husband. Mac has been burned before, but that doesn’t stop the attraction he feels for Zoe, even though he knows he will hurt Luke.But it isn’t just Luke that stands to get hurt by Zoe’s secretive employment. If her secret were to come out – and let’s face it, all secrets do eventually- then a whole family stands to be hurt, including the man who raised her as if she were his own. Zoe’s impulsive search to help her understand herself has suddenly become very serious in that now she knows these people. And if they discovered who she truly is, it could change everything.The rural literature keeps coming as strong as ever and this latest offering, from experienced romance author Barbara Hannay is a really enjoyable book. I really liked Zoe, right away she’s portrayed as a hard worker but perhaps a bit lacking in fulfillment in her job and at a bit of a loss with what she wants to do with her life long-term. She looks different to the other members in her family and she is different, temperament wise. Her father is a federal politician, her younger sister a lawyer. When Zoe discovers that the man she has always thought was her father actually isn’t, she’s naturally devastated, but also curious and things start making a little more sense for her. She’s always passionately loved cooking, but never known where that comes from. She has curly dark hair and she’s curvy whereas her mother and sister are thin with straight, lighter hair. When she googles her newly-found biological father’s name she discovers that the station is hiring a cook for their upcoming muster and that’s all the invitation Zoe needs. She just wants to go there and see for herself. She has a whole other part of her family that she knows nothing about and maybe she can finally understand herself.I think that if I were in Zoe’s position, I’d want to do exactly the same thing – in fact no one could probably have stopped me from doing that. To find out that a totally strange man was actually her father and that was a whole part of her family she didn’t know about, I don’t blame her at all for taking off up there given the opportunity. She immediately likes the property and she enjoys the work of feeding the hungry working men. She meets Peter’s wife Virginia and bonds with her and she also likes her younger half-brother Luke, although Luke likes her a little too much! That had potential disaster written all over it, especially when Luke’s friend Mac was added in to the mix! What I loved about this was that it wasn’t really a love triangle, because there was only ever one option for Zoe, given she was related to the other one!Mac has his own issues and this colours his opinion of Zoe from the very beginning. He’s wary of her even before she arrives and given he feels she’s hiding something about her real reasons for coming to the station to work (she is, just not what he thinks) he’s even more suspicious of her and isn’t shy about showing it. However the two actually work really well together, especially once Zoe confesses to him and his understanding was very refreshing. I half expected him to blow up about her deceiving the family but he was actually very supportive of her, although he did urge her to tell them, especially Luke, before he made a fool of himself.The characterisation in Zoe’s Muster is incredibly strong and it’s not just limited to Zoe and Mac. Zoe’s parents are equally well established, especially her frustrated musician mother Claire. We get Claire’s story in bits and pieces throughout the book and it really helps to flesh out the story and give the reader a real understanding of just how this situation came about. I found every part of the story really engrossing and would love to revisit this world one day! Maybe through a HEA story for Luke…? Just a thought!

  • PaulaPhillips
    2019-04-04 23:24

    I wonder if it's partly because I live in New Zealand but I have always had a soft spot for rural romances. Some are better than others I have found and one of those ones that I have really enjoyed was Zoe's Muster by Barbara Hannay. In Zoe's Muster, we meet Zoe who has always found that she is like the black sheep of her perfect family and with a peek at her dad's blood test results, she will soon discover that he is not her real father and that her perfect family is really her half-family. Wanting to discover what her "real" father is like Zoe sets out to find him , but not wanting to hurt her Dad's political career she decides to go undercover as the farm cook. Here Zoe will get to know her father and his family- her half-siblings but what happens though when her newfound half-brother Luke tries to continually hit on her ? Will she reveal the truth to him or will she find herself on the outer as she tries to keep her secret. Though this will be hard as Zoe ends up clashing with ranch worker and close friend of Luke's Mac. He knows she is hiding something and when he discovers the truth, will he reveal it to the family before she gets a chance or will he show a caring side and respect her wishes ?I loved this book and can't wait to see what other releases Barbara Hannay will put out as if it is as good as Zoe's Muster, it will be definitely headed to my must read list.

  • MaryG2E
    2019-04-15 22:27

    4.5★sZoe's Muster is a well-written romance novel that is also an excellent example of Rural Lit.I greatly enjoyed it, almost could not put it down.It helps to get deeply engrossed in a story when the writing is as polished as this, yet still very accessible to a wide readership.The story has many bitter-sweet aspects, which elevate it above the sentimentality of many romance novels.I liked the strong sense of the Queensland outback lifestyle incorporated into the story. And those hunky Aussie stockmen - yum!The main character, Zoe Porter, is a likeable personality. Though I think she was an idiot to rush headlong into a sensitive situation without thinking things through first, she won me with her strength of character.The book has a lot to say about the problems with keeping impossible secrets, and quite a good perspective on love and loyalty in relationships.A great read!

  • Dianne
    2019-04-21 18:32

    First off I wanted to congratulate Ms Hannay on her 2013 RITA Awards nomination. Congratulations! I was thrilled to see you nominated - I wish you the best of luck...Zoe's Muster deserved its nomination.I absolutely loved this book! I know being Australian I am probably biase, but there is nothing better than a well written outback romance that has a strong and interesting storyline, great character development both primary and secondary characters. The use of Australian colloquialisms was not overdone and I had a clear image of a cattle muster and the men who work so hard on them.One of the things I did enjoy about this book was not only reading about Zoe coming to terms with her parentage and subsequent relationship with Mac but getting a better idea about the relationships of both her birth parents, Claire and Rex's relationship surprised me in the end...a good thing. Virginia's reaction to Zoe's news was upsetting but understandable even Peter's wasn't exactly what I expected but all works out in the end.I read this book in one sitting with a short break to cook dinner...a woman obsessed! I highly recommend this wonderful book.

  • Chanpreet
    2019-03-24 15:35

    Zoe Porter's whole world has fallen apart after learning her parents blood type. She always thought she was different from the rest of her family, and now her fears have been confirmed. Claire, her mother, is also hit hard by this revelation. And she takes a hard look at herself and the state of her marriage.Lost and looking for answers, Zoe decides to give up her high profile job, and go to Mullinjim, her birth father, Peter Fairburn's property to see him and learn more about him. Talk about blowing me away. I can tell you that I wasn't expecting a humdinger of a story when I picked up this book. I was expecting a so-so rural romance set in the Australian outback with events I could easily predict. Instead I got a book with many elements and intricate details, that kept me guessing again and again. Having never read anything by Barbara Hannay before, I can honestly tell you, it won't be the last.Zoe's Muster was just recently nominated for a RITA award in the 2013 Contemporary Single Title Romance Finalists. It's the only book from the category that I've read and I will be rooting for it wholeheartedly!

  • Loren
    2019-03-24 18:17

    This is the first rural book I've ever read and I was impressed! I kept thinking about it when I wasn't reading it and loved the characters. Was a tad let down at the end with all the focus on just one of the main story lines, would have liked to see more on the other as well. But overall it was a good book and I'll be reading more books like this in the future.

  • Merry Farmer
    2019-04-05 19:29

    Zoe's Muster was a really enjoyable read. The love story between Zoe and Mac is everything that a Romance should have. But in a way the character of Zoe's mother, Claire, was even more of a treat for me. She wasn't just a support for the heroine, she was a heroine of her own. It was Claire's story and the choices she faced that kept me up way past my bed time reading. Fantastic!

  • Bettina
    2019-04-20 18:16

    This is the first book that I've read by this author and I absolutely loved it! All the time I was reading this book, I kept picturing Nikko's farm from "Farmer Wants a Wife'! :) Can't wait for the sequel to this book!! :)

  • Townsville Library
    2019-03-31 22:11

    Read this book in Townsville

  • Gillian Milne
    2019-04-03 21:12

    This book is gorgeous! A very beautiful story, complex characters, and a happy ending! Awesome!

  • Carmen
    2019-04-01 20:30

    What can i say i couldn't put it down, i was just so caught up in Zoe's emotional jounery it was fantastic!!

  • Kylie
    2019-03-21 17:22

    I loved this story found it hard to put down

  • Melissa
    2019-04-08 19:22

    I do enjoy country based books and again I wasn't disappointed. Lots of real life issues and an outback feeling. An excellent read if you enjoy Australian rural romance.

  • Michelle
    2019-04-16 21:32

    Loved this book. Always enjoy Barbara Hannay's Sweet line so was looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. Would definitely recommend.

  • Tracy
    2019-04-05 19:35

    Very enjoyable. Love rural stories. Easy to read

  • Jill Robertson
    2019-04-08 16:32

    A chick-lit to start the new year. Barbara Hannay's 'Zoe's Muster' was a typical heartwarming story of girl meets boy (and some family members she hadn't known about before), set in far north Queensland, which is oh so lovingly described by Hannay. It is so evocative that you really do want to go there.

  • Rita Chapman
    2019-04-10 17:17

    Based in the Australian outback this unusual story sees Zoe cooking for a stock camp for six weeks - six weeks that will change her life completely. Barbara Hannay brings her characters to life, transports you to the remote cattle station and adds romance. What more do you want?

  • Christie
    2019-04-13 21:34

    Loved it! Easy reading & hard to put down

  • Kel
    2019-04-16 15:09

    A somewhat predictable but easy, enjoyable story.

  • Caroline
    2019-04-09 17:35


  • Kellie Mackrell
    2019-04-06 18:19

    Loved loved loved it. Great book even though I read the second one first and this one second. I hope there is a third book coming out.

  • Bec Whyte
    2019-04-13 21:25

    Loved it!!