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Review: Long Way Home by Nicola Marsh

on November 12, 2019

Long Way Home (Brockenridge #1)
Nicola Marsh
Harlequin AUS
2019, 368p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

A prodigal daughter returns to Brockenridge…

Eleven years ago Ruby Aston left Brockenridge – and its small-town gossip – for the anonymity of the big city. Now, a grieving Ruby is forced to come home to the place she loathes. But it also means returning to someone she’s always regretted leaving behind…

Connor Delaney is determined to prove himself and not get by on his family name alone. To do this he needs to acquire the local roadhouse. He never anticipated the owner would be the same ‘bad girl’ who ditched him at the high school ball and was never heard from again.

For Alisha Nathieson, the grief of suddenly losing her dear friend and employer Clara Aston has forced her to examine her choice to stay to support her aging parents. As she battles a growing need to explore her past, temptation wars with duty. And then there are her feelings for handsome chef Harry, who has secrets of his own…

If Ruby follows her heart and saves her mother’s legacy, will she lose the one man she’s longed for all along?

This the first in a new series revolving around the town of Brockenridge, up in the north of Victoria. In this book, Ruby Aston left town over ten years ago after years of bullying and abuse from her fellow students. She planned a bigger, better life for herself in Melbourne getting herself a marketing degree and starting her own company. She never returned to the small town she grew up in and experienced such cruelty, preferring to catch up with her mother in the city and spoil her there.

But now Ruby has to return for perhaps the worst reason of all. All the memories come flooding back of how she was treated, even though there are people that worked with her mother that care for her like she’s part of their families. And then there’s Connor Delaney, who is also returning for the first time in a long time. Connor asked Ruby to the graduation dance but she stood him up when she left town. There’s still a lot of feelings left though but there’s also a lot of hostility considering Connor wants to acquire Ruby’s new inheritance.

There was a lot about this that I really enjoyed. I think Ruby’s background and the treatment she experienced is showcased really well and it also demonstrated how that type of treatment in formative years can have a long lasting effect. It bothered her so much that in eleven years, she never returned to Brockenridge and when she has to return, she still feels sick about going back, about the people she might see, about what they might say to her. It’s something that I think a lot of people could relate to, facing people that have treated them poorly in the past. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much time has passed, the wounds are still fresh.

I really enjoyed the local community, particularly the trio that work for the roadhouse that Ruby’s mother managed. Tash, Alisha and Harry have worked there for a long time, throughout probably most if not all of Ruby’s childhood and are still there. They’re like a family to her and each other, although there are some rising complications between Alisha and Harry, which I found to be a great secondary romance storyline. Especially as they’re a little older than most people in romances (Alisha is in her early 40s, Harry is almost 10 years older). I also loved Alisha’s background and her quest to discover more about her heritage and how she dreamed to travel and explore the world. She and Harry had great chemistry and his backstory was really interesting and unexpected too. I think there’s definitely more to learn about Tash, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the main character of a future book in this series.

When Ruby and Connor cross paths again, there’s a lot of conflict between them not just about Ruby standing him up a decade ago (which honestly, felt a bit ridiculous to me) but also because Connor is back in town to work on his first project for his family company, which will involve developing the land that Ruby’s new inheritance sits on. Ruby was originally going to sell and go back to her Melbourne life but she feels her childhood home get under her skin and soon she changes her mind, deciding to use her marketing skills to make the road house even more profitable. When she doesn’t want to sell, Connor tries to both make her and manipulate her into it and occasionally he came across as quite overbearing for me. I wasn’t really a big fan of Connor, although he kind of got a bit better by the end. There seemed to be a general assumption that if Connor’s family company took Ruby to court they’d win, which I wanted a bit more information about. I know the government can acquire private property for their interests, especially if what they’re doing is in the public interest, like to build new roads or train lines. But this was a private company so I was curious to see how they could legally force Ruby to sell. Perhaps because they could prove the development would benefit the local community more? Providing more jobs, etc? I’m not sure. Not sure I agree with it as an idea, the thought that someone could be made give up something they own. And I didn’t blame Ruby for being pretty fired up about it and determined to try and hang onto it.

This was an engaging read, a good start to a new series.

7/10

Book #186 of 2019

 

 

 


One response to “Review: Long Way Home by Nicola Marsh

  1. […] Long Way Home by Nicola Marsh. My review. […]

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