Snowy River Man
Harlequin Escape Publishing
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
When Katrina Delaney hears news of a missing boy she knows immediately that it’s connected to the dream she had. This has happened to her before and she’s worked with police to find missing children in the past. This situation will be different for Katrina though. This time she knows the missing boy’s father.
Seven years ago Katrina and Jack Fairley had a one night stand before she discovered that he was engaged to be married. She hasn’t seen him since. Even though seeing him now will be difficult she knows that she has to help. She could never stand by passively when she might be able to provide any piece of information, no matter how small, that might help find this missing child.
Jack Fairley is a busy single father, frantic with worry for his missing son Nick. He’s willing to try anything, even the psychic that someone has told him might have information. When the psychic arrives, Jack is stunned. And suspicious. He has reason to doubt that her motives are pure and Katrina’s arrival could put all Jack holds dear in danger. But even though he’s skeptical and disbelieving that she’s here purely to help him, he can’t held but feel that old attraction simmering inside again. And he isn’t the only one. Both Jack and Katrina have unfinished business but they have a lot of faith and trust to gain first before they can try for their second chance.
Snowy River Man is the debut novel of Lizzy Chandler and offers up a multi-layered story of mystery and betrayal to flesh out the romance. Katrina has had special gifts and occasionally experiences dreams which in the past, has connected her with missing children and allowed her to offer up information to enable them to be found. She cannot really explain her gift, but she’s learned not to ignore it and when she dreams of a boy and then hears on the news that a child has gone missing, she knows that she has to help and so she heads out to the location, hoping to be able to better connect and offer some more information. There’s just the slight problem of her now being in close proximity to Jack Fairley, a former lover whom she discovered was actually engaged.
Jack and Katrina do have some amazing chemistry that’s brilliantly complex, for reasons that become clearer to the reader the further they get into the story. From their one night stand, Jack did see Katrina once afterward although it’s not something she has a clear memory of and because of that he develops a misunderstanding about her. He believes that Katrina may be a threat to him and his child but he’s not willing to send her away just in case she really does provide the information that may help them find his son. The more I got into this story the more I was surprised by several of the twists and turns and the ways in which Katrina’s connections to other characters developed. This isn’t a long book but Chandler has made the most of her words and really been able to not only flesh out her characters and their motives but also a lovely and engaging setting in the Snowy Mountains. I found Katrina a very sympathetic character who had not had an easy time of it, especially recently. Her dedication to using her gift for as much good as she can was admirable and she was willing to put herself through uncomfortable and emotionally painful and difficult situations in order to help.
I’m quite honestly a bit of a skeptic when it comes to psychic mediums and the like although I know police in real life have used clairvoyants and psychics to help locate missing children and solve crimes with some success. However despite my tendency towards disbelief in such things I did not find that this at all affected my enjoyment of this story and it was easy to accept that part of the plot because it really did help to enhance the mystery and some of the secrets. It was skilfully done.
Snowy River Man is a very enjoyable story populated with believable characters that possess a real chemistry, even when they’re at loggerheads. I felt as though their evolving relationship throughout the story was perfect as both of them had to overcome some preconceived ideas and share some secrets and also, accept things about the other and how it changed their relationship. My only quibble is that it probably was a bit short – there were aspects that could’ve been developed even further and would definitely have carried the story for longer. But it’s never a bad thing to want more of a story!
Book #37 of 2015
Snowy River Man is book #13 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015
I’m very happy to welcome the author of Snowy River Man, Lizzy Chandler to my blog with a piece on the inspiration behind the setting of her first novel.
When I was a born, there was a record heatwave. Mum and Dad packed us kids into a bus and we all headed south to Jindabyne where it was cooler. Along the way, we stopped at Lake Eucumbene on the northern reaches of the Snowy River Shire.
To make way for the lake as part of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme, the old town of Adaminaby was flooded. As residents moved to higher ground, they left pubs, churches, shops and houses to the rising tide. My family must have talked about that town for years afterwards. Or maybe I read about it for a school project. I don’t know. But the idea of a ghost town hidden underwater haunted me.
Years later as an adult when I visited the site, and saw the skeletal remains of gum trees reaching out of the water, I had the weirdest sense. It was as if I could see through the depths to the old town – to a time of bullock carts, prospectors and settlers, and before that, to the indigenous tribes who had inhabited the area. I knew I had to use that setting in a story. Eventually, the story became Snowy River Man, which features a child who is fascinated with the lake and what lies beneath
Snowy River Man starts with a country rodeo and grazier Jack Fairley riding a brumby stallion. By the time he finishes his ride and looks around, his six-year-old son Nick has disappeared…
Thanks so much for your post Lizzy. Congratulations on a wonderful debut and I look forward to your next novel.