All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Legacy Of Hunter’s Ridge by Sarah Barrie

on January 18, 2016

Legacy Of Hunter's RidgeLegacy Of Hunter’s Ridge
Sarah Barrie
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2016, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Successful horse trainer Alissa Morgan-Jones has the world at her feet, until a tragic fire destroys everything. Widowed, in debt and under suspicion for arson, Alissa’s life is in tatters. Her mother-in-law’s isolated farm gives her the opportunity to pull her life back together and get herself back on her feet.

Four years after fleeing the city and the scandal that ruined his career, disgraced lawyer Cameron Blakely has a successful new business and a new life. When his neighbour, Mavis Littleton is diagnosed with a terminal illness he volunteers to handle her affairs – and her farm until her daughter-in-law arrives to take over. When Alissa finally shows up, he’s drawn to her immediately. But there’s more to his new neighbour than her big blue eyes and lost expression. If only she’ll open up and let him in.

But there are secrets in both Alissa’s past and Hunters Ridge – secrets that jeopardise far more than Cameron’s fledgling feelings. Lurking in the isolated wilderness is a danger that neither anticipates – but one that threatens everything: the town, their love, and their lives.

Alissa Morgan-Jones had everything – a burgeoning career as a dressage eventer and trainer of horses, a handsome husband, an enviable stable. That all changed one night when not only did she discover a betrayal but a terrible fire left her a widow, destroyed her house and her stables. Alissa now suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and struggles to do simple things. She can’t even think of a horse without breaking out into a cold sweat, traumatised and devastated by her loss. She suffers crippling nightmares and carries her own healing injuries from the fire.

The last thing she needs is news that her somewhat eccentric mother-in-law has had a fall, been diagnosed with cancer and had to go into care. Alissa and her husband purchased the property for his mother to live in and now Alissa owns it. She would’ve been happy to forget about it but instead she must go and sort it out. She’s distressed to discover that their are animals….many animals, including a horse. Her mother-in-law’s cranky neighbour Cameron Blakely is just one more reason to wash her hands of the place.

It isn’t that easy, however. Alissa finds that although there are definitely some strange goings on in Mavis’ place, slowly she begins to find a peace there that she hasn’t been able to since the fire. It takes her a while and she still experiences crippling fear and panic attacks but soon she can even begin to feed the animals, as well as get the horse the care it needs. Soon word of Alissa’s presence in the small town gets out and parents ask her to help their children with horse riding lessons. She’s frightened, terrified that she won’t be able to do it but there are pieces of her brain that see where she can be of help, what she can do to make better riders and mounts. It’s in her blood. Even the animosity with Cameron mellows into something much more attractive and she finds herself drawn into his small circle of friends, fitting in.

I have really developed a bit of a thing for a good romantic suspense and this book definitely fits that bill. From the very beginning I found it difficult to put down, for a couple of reasons. I became really invested in Alissa and her journey because her PTSD was so well written. I really could feel and experience her panic and fear and felt so genuine and believable. I also felt like it was something the author showed that Alissa had to work hard to manage, not something that took front and centre and then kind of faded away. Reading about her struggle made me feel strangely protective of Alissa, like her sister is and I found the scenes with her sister and the detective investigating the fire pretty hilarious. Those two had some chemistry and I’d love them to get their own book at some stage….but more about that later.

I found Cameron a bit of a jerk at the start, he seemed to make a few assumptions about Alissa and why she hadn’t been to the house before now and why she won’t feed the animals. Instead of just asking her if she’s ok, he just assumes reasons himself but when he does witness some of her PTSD related fears, he becomes quite understanding and the two of them end up building quite a connection. It isn’t smooth sailing though, Alissa still has some issues surrounding her husband’s death and something strange is definitely going on in the house.

Which brings me to the suspense element of the novel. I was utterly sucked in by it and loved puzzling it out and putting the pieces together just as things were being revealed in the plot. There were some really fun twists and turns in this and the sinister atmosphere built nicely, with Barrie able to use Alissa’s state of mind as a way to perhaps have the reader (and other characters) query if there really is something happening or if she’s imagining things. I got a few guesses right and got surprised a few other times and thought that the way that things played out was excellent. I was riveted the entire time.

There’s no doubt that this isn’t over and I’m hoping that this is a trilogy. I can’t wait for the next installment, I have to know what happens next.

9/10

Book #4 of 2016

AWWC2016

Legacy Of Hunter’s Ridge is the 2nd book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016

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One response to “Review: Legacy Of Hunter’s Ridge by Sarah Barrie

  1. […] on just who he is and what his life could be. Legacy Of Hunter’s Ridge by Sarah Barrie (my review) A heroine suffering from PTSD has to confront her fears. This was so well written. The cranky […]

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