All The Books I Can Read

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Blog Tour Review: Sapphire Falls by Fleur McDonald

on November 15, 2016

sapphire-falls-coverSapphire Falls
Fleur McDonald
Allen & Unwin
2016, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Fiona Forrest is devastated when her husband Charlie commits suicide after the accidental shooting of his mate, Eddie. Though Fiona decides to keep farming their successful property, rumours that she intends to sell keep circulating.

When Detective Dave Burrows arrives to sign off on the investigation into Eddie’s death his suspicions are aroused by some strange anomalies at the scene. As Dave becomes increasingly convinced that something sinister is going on, Fiona finds herself dealing with a series of disasters on the farm…

By the bestselling author of Crimson Dawn, this suspenseful novel about a woman fighting to preserve her husband’s dream and a detective determined to uncover the truth will keep you guessing til the very last page.

Sapphire Falls is Fleur McDonald’s eighth novel showcasing rural Australia and the reader is introduced to young widow Fiona, whose husband has just taken his life, one tragedy after another. Although Fiona only really came to farming when she met and married Charlie, now that he is gone she finds herself motivated to stay on the property and continue their work. Wherever she goes though she is dogged by rumours that she’s going to sell, finding herself almost harassed about it.

Fiona is strong and stubborn despite her grief or perhaps because of it. She had slowly immersed herself in more and more of farming during her marriage to Charlie but there was still a lot she didn’t know, such as the finances. She pushes herself to get through the daily tasks, working mostly on her own probably doing the work of two people. Her tasks suddenly begin to seem even more difficult when there are a few suspicious incidents around the farm that are beginning to look a bit like deliberate sabotage. Coupled with the rumours that she’s selling, Fiona begins to wonder just exactly who wants her farm so badly…and why.

Detective Dave Burrows is asked to look into the investigation of the tragic shooting that occurred on Fiona and Charlie’s farm before Charlie committed suicide. A young, enthusiastic officer was quick to write it off without dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and now it falls to Dave to tidy up some of the sloppy policework. Dave is methodical, a fan of the proper process. The more Dave digs the more he finds to make him question if this was really the tragic accident it seemed.

I didn’t envy Dave his job in this circumstance. The local community has been rocked by the tragic shooting of Eddie during an accident while Charlie and some mates were out attempting to hunt a wild dog killing stock. Charlie then took his own life leaving behind a devastated widow and a town that was trying to heal. He knew no one would want him coming in and stirring up memories again, asking questions but it was something that had to be done. Dave’s personality made the reader sympathetic towards him and his attempt to make sure that everything was done correctly. Dave is also dealing with something potentially devastating in his personal life with his partner Kim. Fiona and Kim cross paths quite by accident one night and strike up a mutually supportive friendship. Fiona needs all the supportive people she can get in her life to be honest and although the friendship did seem a bit random and rapid, the exchange of text messages seemed a format that worked well for both of them, kept busy by their day to day lives.

There’s a thread of suspense running through the story in several layers and really my only real kind of curiosity with this book was that I found it too easy to put together the pieces of what was going on quite early on which then meant I had to wait for everyone to catch up and then I got to see if I was right. It was still a clever idea, I just think that perhaps for me, it was signposted a bit too easily in the beginning and I never really had that chance to think about whether or not I was right or if there was going to be another twist. To be honest figuring it out early didn’t at all alter my enjoyment of the book because the suspense plot I think, was secondary to me behind Fiona’s development as a character and how events played out for her personally. I think Fleur McDonald did a fantastic job constructing the character of Fiona – her heartbreak and grief, her mixed emotions at the news she gets soon after Charlie’s death, her determination, her stubbornness, her fear and confusion and then anger at what is going on with her farm and her cautious hope for the future.

Sapphire Falls is a wonderfully enjoyable story with a strength in showcasing human relationships. In particular, the long distance relationship that Fiona has with her brother who lives in New York, was fantastic. It plays out via messaging online but in few words it managed to create a very close sibling relationship that was also realistic. I also really enjoyed the depiction of the rural farming town and some of the issues that farmers face in terms of weather, wild animals, stress with prices and things like spraying for weeds and pests. Fiona has such admirable determination – she could’ve leased out the farm but kept it as a legacy but she chooses (for good reason) to stay and work it herself, even though it must’ve been so exhausting and daunting to face it alone, especially while she would’ve been in such a fragile mental state. She does have a few people to support her but a lot of what Fiona does falls to her alone and she just keeps going, even when things are looking pretty grim.

This is easily a novel you can sink into and become invested. I read it in two sittings, specifically setting it aside for when I was waiting for my youngest son to finish appointments because I knew it would hold my interest and make the time fly.

8/10

Book #196 of 2016

Find Fleur McDonald online:
Twitter: @fleurmcdonald
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Buy Sapphire Falls online:
Booktopia
iBooks
Kindle

 

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One response to “Blog Tour Review: Sapphire Falls by Fleur McDonald

  1. Deborah says:

    This was the first book I’ve read by Fleur and I really enjoyed it!

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