All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Cotton Field Dreams by S.E. Gilchrist

on August 3, 2018

Cotton Field Dreams (Mindalby Outback Romance #1)
S.E. Gilchrist
Harlequin MIRA
2018, 220p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Mindalby, a small town, a community, a home. But when the mill that supports the local cotton farmers and employs many of the town’s residents closes unexpectedly, old tensions are exposed and new rifts develop. Everyone is affected and some react better than others, but one thing is certain: living on the edge of the outback means they have to survive together, or let their town die.

Sasha comes to Mindalby to recover from a traumatic event, plan her next move, and seek out information to avenge her beloved uncle – the last thing she wants is a relationship. But when she meets local single dad, Cole, she can’t help but be drawn to his warmth and his humour, and his two engaging children. Cole says and does all the right things, and Sasha finds herself falling, but will all of her secrets destroy the relationship before it has a chance to begin?

Cotton Field Dreams is the first in a new series centering around the outback town of Mindalby, which relies heavily on the local cotton mill for employment. Sasha is a nurse, but after an horrific incident while she was working overseas, she needs time to recuperate and regroup. She applies for a job at the Mindalby cotton mill, just doing payroll. She’s not an accountant and she’s perhaps a bit under qualified for the job but she is successful anyway and moves to the small town.

When the mill closes abruptly, Sasha finds herself squarely in the firing line. She’s an outsider and she’s the person most people believe are behind the money. If there’s someone squirrelling money away or dodgy activities going on, Sasha is going to be just about everyone’s number one suspect. It seems that only Cole, a local single dad, might be willing to give Sasha the benefit of the doubt. But Cole relies on the mill just as much as many others in the town and he has two kids to provide for and a struggling farm to keep afloat. For the sake of everyone, Sasha is determined to get to the bottom of exactly what is going on behind the doors of the cotton mill.

Recently I received the first four books in this series in one volume (featuring the cover I’ve used here). I love a series that revolves around a small town, especially when the town is in Australia. So last Sunday, I spent a large portion of the day in bed reading the first book in this series. Although the bind up is huge at 800p, each individual novel is about 200p, a perfect size for a quick read.

This first book perfectly sets up the situation in the small town – it opens with the abrupt closure of the cotton mill, supposedly due to a safety issue but when people start making noises about not having been paid, it’s clear there’s definitely something else going on. And most of them seem to be looking firmly towards Sasha for information. Not only is she the person responsible for that job, there are some rumours that she’s friendly (very friendly) with the boss and might know a lot more than she’s letting on. Sasha is actually as much in the dark as everyone else but she does have a few secrets – she’s in town to recover from her ordeal yes but she also has an ulterior motive or two for why she picked Mindalby itself.

I really enjoyed Sasha’s character. She was a very determined woman, even though she wasn’t really expecting to really get very far I don’t think. She was in town for a reason and she wanted to accomplish something – the mill closing was a bit of a curve ball for sure but it just made her even more suspicious. I liked her burgeoning friendship with Cole, single dad and farmer and Cole’s family were fun, warm, loving and quite realistic. The chemistry between Cole and Sasha was good but both of them were also a bit cautious as well – Cole has his kids to think of and also Sasha’s actions and motives to at times, seem slightly suspicious. And Sasha has a career that’s a true calling and she’s never stayed in one place for very long so to get very involved with someone might be a mistake.

I feel as though this book showcases the best and worst of living in a small town. It’s a tight knit community which is struggling and there are people who’d do anything for you but there are also a few bad apples, that make it clear to Sasha just how much they resent her and feel as though she’s got something to hide. Poor Sasha cops quite a bit of poor treatment but she manages to remain stoic and soldier on, even offering to help workers that are under financial hardship with the closure of the mill. After all, she’s faced much worse!

This was a great start to the series and I’m really keen to get stuck into the rest of them!

8/10

Book #126 of 2018

{alternative cover when purchased singly}

 


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