Close to Home by Pamela Cook
Review copy provided by publisher
Hachette, July 2015
Synopsis- A captivating story that shows the only thing harder than letting go is moving on.
Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for half her life. Not that she minds – she has her work as a vet and most days that’s enough. Most days. But when she’s sent to a small town on the New South Wales coast to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus, Charlie finds herself torn between the haunting memories of her past, her dedication to the job and her attraction to a handsome local.
Travelling to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family – her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and her aunt Hazel, who let her go without a backwards glance. But it also means relying on the kindness of strangers and, when she meets local park ranger Joel Drummond, opening her heart to the possibility of something more . . .
As tensions in the country town rise, can Charlie reconcile with the past and find herself a new future in the town she left so long ago?
Review- Pamela Cook is a wonderful Australian rural writer and Close to Home dishes up exactly what I expected of this author.
Working as a Vet for the Department of Primary Industries keeps Charlie Anderson busy and transient. She’s passionate about her work and not at all bothered by her lack of social or love life, because her career is her foremost priority. Throwing herself into her work means she doesn’t have to reflect on her dysfunctional childhood, her hardworking young adult years or where she plans to settle down. Until she’s sent back to her home town of Naringup, a small coastal town in NSW to investigate a suspected outbreak of the Hendra virus.
She basically turns up on the doorstep of her past, when the Hendra virus is tracked to the property of her cousin’s family, a cousin who was once like a sister whom she has had no contact with since she fled the town as a teen. She does not get a welcome homecoming and Charlie is not prepared for the emotional turmoil these memories evoke within her. She copes by focusing on the task at hand and working hard, but even she can’t help but be distracted by the local park ranger Joel Drummond, whose cheeky presence sparks dormant desires.
Charlie’s life is turned upside down. Not only does she suspect her cousin to be in a violent relationship, she’s had to confront the Aunt that betrayed her and on top of all that fight off the urge to succumb to her feelings for Joel. This is one busy woman!
Close to Home is a slow-to-start story, and it did take some time for me to warm to Charlie. Her headstrong approach to work and dismissal of her feelings about her past and toward Joel, meant that she was hard to relate to on an emotional level- until some of those defenses began to fall away. By the halfway mark I was hooked on the story and keen to know what would happen next. A strong heroine, cheeky hero, a close-knit country community and a hint of danger and suspense makes Close to Home an engaging and easy read. I’d recommend it.
Close to Home can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers
This book was read as part of the AWW2015 challenge:
Book #15 reviewed