All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Girl In The Hard Hat – Loretta Hill

on January 7, 2013

Girl In Hard HatThe Girl In The Hard Hat
Loretta Hill
Random House AU
2013, 368p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Wendy Hopkins has arrived in the Pilbarra on a secret mission. She’s searching for her real father after a simple query into obtaining a copy of her birth certificate led her to discover that she possessed two – the first one which listed her father as unknown and the second one after the man she always believed was her father adopted her when she was just a toddler. Wendy has always wondered why her father had looked at her in that broken-hearted way, almost like he couldn’t bear to, from the time she was around six years old. She was shunted off to boarding school not long after and her relationship with both of her parents has never been tight. Her mother was reluctant to give her any information when Wendy confronted her about the birth certificates but finally she admitted several things: her father’s name was Hector, he worked in mining/engineering and had been in the Pilbarra. So Wendy decided that she would track him down. She had to know who she really was.

Things do not get off to a good start when it’s revealed that her Uncle Mike, a bit of the family black sheep, blackmailed Dan Hullog into giving her a job. Dan no longer has the job for her because the person he was protecting doesn’t need it anymore but he has arranged for Wendy to work for Barnes Inc, the company constructing the iron ore wharf. As the new Safety Manager, Wendy isn’t exactly the most popular person in the company, especially as she arrives wearing an enemy uniform. No one is particularly open to her suggestions either, especially the man she’s working with who is clearly not up to coping with the rigorous demands of enforcing safety on such a big site. Wendy, as one of only five women and some 350 men in the camp is subjected to a gentle hazing from most of the men and made the butt of most of their jokes. Notorious womaniser Gavin Jones is one of the main culprits but there are times that Wendy catches a glimpse of a very different Gavin before he slams the door.

Gavin can’t afford to get involved with anyone, tempting as Wendy herself may be. He’s a casual kind of guy, a love them and leave them type. He’s been moving around for far too long now, looking over his shoulder and always wondering. To get close to someone would be to put them in danger so Gavin keeps it casual. Wendy doesn’t do casual though. She wants to know what Gavin is hiding. Danger is coming to the Pilbarra and it’s going to take all of Wendy’s planning and execution of safety plans to keep the entire camp safe. And she might just get the answers she’s been so desperately seeking as well.

The Girl In The Hard Hat is the follow up book to The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots which was probably one of my Top 10 reads of 2012. I was delighted when I found out Loretta Hill was writing another book set around the construction of the Iron Ore wharf in the Pilbarra, focusing on a new couple but still including all of the well-known characters from the first book. They’re all back – Carl, who still cannot stop swearing, Sharon the bus driver, the boys down at the wharf. And if you’re curious about Lena and Dan then be happy because they’re here too and their story continues along with this one in a very satisfactory sort of way. But the spotlight is on Wendy Hopkins and Gavin Jones and it’s quite the ride.

It’s hard not to feel for Wendy right away as she recounts her relatively lonely childhood, discovery that the man she thought was her father isn’t and her mother’s reluctance to even give her the answers she needs. Armed with what little information she did have, she trekked all the way to the Pilbarra only to be told that the job wasn’t actually a real one but Dan had set her up in another one. She faces hostility and ribbing that ranges from the gentle, good-natured type to the more serious. Her accommodations are less than satisfactory but Wendy doesn’t let this get her down. She has a goal and it seems like nothing the Pilbarra can throw at her will dissuade her from that goal. Even Gavin Jones. Gavin is handsome, charming, flirtatious and with the reputation of being quite the womaniser. Wendy knows she should stay away from him but she can’t help but be drawn to the deeper side of Gavin

This book is rife with the same humour and charm that made me fall in love with the first one and it easily leapfrogs sophomore book syndrome. Despite the fact that Lena and Wendy might seem similar at first glance, Hill keeps them starkly very different and the same with the two male love interests. Gavin Jones is very different and the way in which the attraction between him and Wendy unfolds is different as well. The chemistry between them was electric but it was also a bit of a slow burn – there were so many obstacles getting in the way of them, especially Gavin’s reluctance to attach himself to anyone and potentially put them in danger. His protectiveness of Wendy was sweet, at odds with most of the way he behaved. His life had been spent looking over his shoulder for a few years and it had taken a bit of a toll on him. He hated seeing people waste their lives and opportunities.

This is the sort of book that I would recommend to everyone I know, especially if they liked The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots. And if you haven’t read that one then… you definitely need to!

9/10

Book #258 of 2012

This review is part of The Girl In The Hard Hat blog tour. Please check out MrsMichelleS’s review before me and don’t forget to head over to Marg at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader tomorrow to see what she thought!

AUTHOR+PHOTO

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4 responses to “The Girl In The Hard Hat – Loretta Hill

  1. Danielle says:

    Fantastic review, and I agreed with every single word 🙂 I am so passing this book on to all my friends.

  2. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I agree, another great read from Loretta Hill

  3. Loretta Hill says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful review. I hope you read all my books

  4. […] This is the sort of book that I would recommend to everyone I know, especially if they liked The Girl In Steel-Capped Boots. And if you haven’t read that one then… you definitely need to! Bree at One Girl… 2 many books! […]

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