All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Red Dirt Road by Alissa Callen

on July 11, 2019

The Red Dirt Road (Woodlea #2)
Alissa Callen
Harlequin AUS
2018, 308p
Read from my Nan’s stash

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Dr Fliss Knight returns to small town Woodlea after losing a patient. Her confidence and city career in tatters, she buys a rundown farm. She intends to live a solitary life and hopes that the slow country pace will help her heal.

Pick-up rider Hewitt Sinclair is no stranger to when things can get hairy in a rodeo arena. But when it is the life of his twin brother he can’t save, he hangs up his spurs. Determined to provide for his brother’s widow and young family, he gives himself no time to grieve. But when a motor bike accident proves he needs to also look out for himself, he accepts an old friend’s invitation to stay at an isolated property while his body heals.

When Fliss meets the cowboy living in the bluestone stables across the garden, all her hopes for a quiet and peaceful life fade. Despite his reserve, Hewitt is impossible to ignore. As they work together to care for an abandoned dog and her puppies and to raise money for the local hospital by attending a mountain trail ride and charity ball, they also find themselves drawn to each other.

But as a family secret threatens every truth Fliss has ever believed, and the heavy spring rain continues to fall, both Fliss and Hewitt must face their deepest fears. Will love be enough to guarantee happiness or will the past refuse to relinquish its dark hold?

I picked up the 2nd Woodlea book the day after finishing the first one because I’d enjoyed it so much! Especially once I realised that the second book featured Felicity (Fliss) Knight, Cressy’s sister. After a devastating professional loss that has affected her profoundly, Fliss has left the city behind and returned to the place of her childhood, buying a rundown farm. She had intended to live in the bluestone stable block but instead the homestead spoke to her, so she makes her home there. When Denham and Cressy ask if a friend can stay in the stable block, Fliss is reluctant to disturb her peace and solitude but she can’t say no to someone in need either.

Hewitt has been through a rough time but he’s plowed on, not letting himself stop and grieve the loss of his brother. The accident from the motorbike forces him to be still, to let everything catch up with him. Despite their initial attempts to maintain a discreet distance from each other, Fliss and Hewitt end up crossing paths quite often and getting to know each other, becoming involved in each other’s lives….and each other’s pain. Both of them have things that they need to address and deal with. Fliss has a fear of driving country roads in the wet, which often means that Hewitt will take her places as the weather is quite wet and often the roads and bridges nearby are prone to flooding. Fliss also has her professional loss to deal with and to decide what she wants to do with her future. Hewitt needs to grieve his brother and also address how it makes him feel, the role he feels obliged to take on as well as come to terms with who his brother was.

I loved Fliss and Hewitt together. It’s a slower burn than the first novel obviously, because they didn’t already know each other but they seem to build a rapport quite quickly, and an understanding about each other. There’s a few little hiccups, like when Fliss thinks Hewitt’s niece and nephew are his children but once they know that the other is single, all their ideas of quiet solitude seem to go right out the window.

One other thing that I really enjoyed about this book is the burgeoning friendships of the ‘core group’ that continues to grow and be featured throughout this novel. Cressy and Denham are a good part of this story of course, given that Fliss and Cressy are sisters and also the family secret that Fliss discovers during this time. Also Tanner, the drover they meet in the first novel pops in and out as well. I like Tanner so I was definitely happy to realise that the third book is his story. Also there’s Ella the local vet as well, who I hope will one day be the subject of a book so we can finally learn her backstory, which is merely hinted at sometimes. I even like Edna, the interfering socialite who seems determined to find a rich cowboy with land for her daughter Bethany but in doing so seems to have other ulterior motives as well. I think the community forms a large part of why I have enjoyed these so much because it gives me that series feel but with new people and situations each time. And I get to check in on previous couples and find out who they’re doing. It’s like the best of both words. And the community and local area is so appealing in terms of the people populating it and how they are so supportive of each other and helpful. No one is too busy when someone needs something. Also the animals are great, especially Reggie the bull and the “Reggie test”.

I’m quite sad that there’s only one left in the pile to read!


Book #102 of 2019

The Red Dirt Road is the 47th book of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2019


One response to “Review: The Red Dirt Road by Alissa Callen

  1. […] The Red Dirt Road by Alissa Callen. My review. […]

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