Review copy provided by publisher/ netgalley
Escape Publishing, June 2013
Synopsis- Just ten days after her fresh start in the isolated Snowy Mountains, Samantha Walker trips over a three hundred pound pig and lands in the arms of Dr. Ethan Granger — and the firing line for gossip. It was hardly a ‘date’ but sparks of the sensual kind are difficult to smother in a community of only 87 people. Now there’s a bet running on how long she’ll stay and what she’ll get up to while she’s in town.
Ethan has his own issues — Sammy’s presence in his childhood home brings with it painful recollections of family scandals and a bad‐boy youth. When the gossip around them heightens, his life is suddenly a deck of cards spread on the table for all to see. Then Sammy’s past catches up with her… and it looks like all bets are off.
Review- Australian author Jennie Jones (Born in the UK but now lives in WA- so we’ll claim her as our own) debut novel The House on Burra Burra Lane is the first country romance novel in the Swallow’s Fall Series set in the Snowy Mountains in NSW.
Samantha Walker has escaped her controlling mother and abusive ex-fiance in Sydney to start afresh in Swallow’s Fall. It’s her first attempt at breaking free from the reigns of her mother and making a life for herself to pursue whatever interests she desires. The local vet, Dr Ethan Granger soon becomes one of Sammie’s desires and it comes at quite a surprise when his feelings are reciprocated.
Sammie is a complex character, she’s low on self-esteem, inexperienced at being independent and to be honest she’s a little awkward and clumsy too. After an emergency situation with her cat, she meets the town vet and it’s not long before the town’s gossip about the pair travels along the grapevine.
Ethan is a troubled hero with a shady past who avoids (emotionally) intimate and long-term relationships because he fears he will become the abusive brute his father once was. The two spend much of their time fighting their attraction for one another while developing a unique friendship. At the house on Burra Burra Lane, Sammie is undertaking renovations and has enlisted the help of Ethan’s carpentry skills to help him. But it’s not just the presence of Sammie that’s making it tough for him to avoid the demons of his past, but also the house. The one that contains frightful memories of his childhood.
Ethan was a likeable hero even if he was quite stubborn about taking all the responsibility for his families faults. However, the letdown for me in this story was the heroine, Sammie. I just couldn’t connect with her for a number of reasons and it made it difficult for me to really care about her and her future. The first scene between Sammie and Ethan, I understand was supposed to set up the attraction and conflict, but it felt a bit messy for me as I didn’t have any kind of background or grasp on the characters. I experienced her as too flighty and awkward and at times the introspection and self-doubts were a little painful to read. To be fair, I did warm to her later in the story, but I felt it was much too late to make a connection with the leading woman.
The other issue I had with the story turns out to also be one of its strengths. The author skilfully sets the mood with tension in many vital scenes between Sammie and Ethan which allowed for the emotional conflict between these characters to come into full effect. However, there was also an overuse of mood setting and I found some of the short, choppy sentences a little wearisome when they were present in scene after scene.
I’ve seen some really positive reviews for this story which makes me feel that most people won’t share my thoughts on The House on Burra Burra Lane. I did enjoy the plot, the small-town setting and the emotional tension in (some of) the mood-setting scenes, but being unable to connect with Sammie made it difficult to fully enjoy this story. Fans of rural or small-town romance will likely enjoy this story.
“I liked this”
The House on Burra Burra Lane can be purchased via Escape Publishing and other leading ebook retailers
This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge: