Book Review: The Crossroads by Pamela Cook

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The Crossroads by Pamela Cook

Hachette Australia, November 2016

(Review copy provided by publisher)

Pamela Cook writes rural women’s fiction with romantic sub-plots. The Crossroads is her fourth published novel, and the third book that I’ve read. I’m an avid reader of the rural romance genre and every time I pick up a Pamela Cook novel I expect her stories to fall into that genre- but they don’t. I actually really like that the romance elements of the story aren’t at the forefront of the story. What Cook does so well is create strong, engaging women protagonists that face emotional challenges when their ordinary lives are uplifted by a catalyst that sets the premise for the story.

In The Crossroads, the narrative is told from the POV (point of view) of three women who are connected by their shared history. Rosie O’Shea struggles to maintain the rundown outback pub she inherited from her husband, while she dreams of overseas culinary adventures.

Her twenty-seven year old daughter, Stephanie, is as headstrong and driven as her mother. She lives on a cattle farm with her husband and young son, and they suffer not only the economic impact of the drought, but the emotional, psychological and relational impact as well. Stephanie’s marriage is at risk of collapse,  and while she suspects her husband is depressed, the burden of his responsibilities- and pride- get in the way of their open and intimate relationship.

Back in Sydney, thirty-one-year old Faith Montgomery has just discovered she is adopted. Her research leads her to the Crossroads Hotel where she accepts a job alongside her biological mother, Rosie O’Shea. Faith keeps her identity hidden but becomes embroiled in family dramas anyway.

To complicate matters, Rosie’s teenage fling (and father of Faith) shows up unexpectedly, Stephanie’s brother-in-law  sends her husband off the rails and seduces Faith, while Faith  faces an identity dilemma.

The Crossroads is an engaging, character-driven novel that had me emotionally invested in the three women and the hurdles they faced. With three protagonists to find a connection with, Cook does a great job at bringing them to life and pulling on the readers heart strings. I closed the book with a (happy) tear in my eye. A heart-warming rural fiction novel from Pamela Cook.

This book was read as part of the #AWW2016 challenge.

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