All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Boundary Fence by Alissa Callen

on January 23, 2020

The Boundary Fence (Woodlea #7)
Alissa Callen
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2020, 358p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Healing doesn’t just take time, it takes courage…

The scars country vet Ella Quinlivan hides are not solely on the outside. Men are off limits. She fills her world with her friends, work and the colourful community of small town Woodlea. She also becomes custodian of a sandstone cottage of an elderly friend whose teenage daughter went missing two decades ago.

With a broken marriage behind him, Saul Armstrong is determined to recapture his dreams by bringing American bison to the Australian bush. He intends to stick to his side of the high wire fence that divides his farm from his distracting new neighbour, Ella.

When Saul calls out Ella for a bison emergency she isn’t just thrown out of her comfort zone by dealing with an unfamiliar animal. Slow-smiling and guarded Saul stirs emotions she’d long ago discarded.

As the summer heat parches the landscape and dust obscures the sun, hidden secrets come to light. Not only will Ella and Saul be tested, the connection forged between them will be threatened. Will love be enough to guarantee their freedom or will fear continue to dictate the direction their lives?

Technically this is book 7 in the Woodlea series but I think it’s the 4th full length book with 3 others being short stories or of novella length. I read the other 3 full length books when I was on holidays visiting family some six months ago and I’ve been waiting for this one to come out. Ella is a character who appears in several (or maybe even all) of the previous books and it’s always been obvious that she had some sort of painful past which has scarred her and made her quite determined to stay single, even with the best efforts of local matchmaker and busybody, Edna.

Ella is the local vet who bought a property belonging to a widow named Violet who has recently entered an aged care facility, somewhere smaller and closer to town. Violet’s daughter Libby disappeared at age sixteen some twenty or so years ago and she’s kept her bedroom exactly the same – and Ella keeps it the same way too. And every night, just like Violet did, she puts the porch light on so that Libby will always be able to find her way home. Ella has made some good friends in the local community – Cressy, Fliss, Neve and their partners. But she has never dated, nor has there been anyone that even tempted her. Until Saul Armstrong.

Saul is Australian but spent a large portion of his life in America riding bulls and whatever else with Denham. Now he’s returned to Australia and has bought the property adjoining Ella’s where he runs American bison. They were paired together at the wedding of their friends and both of them felt….and saw, something in the other. A shared pain, a secret past. For that Ella finds him unnerving and she’s aware that she’s been avoiding her friends so as to avoid Saul. But when he requires her veterinary services, she realises that she cannot continue that way. And the more time they spend together, the more they learn about each other and the deeper the friendship they build up.

I really liked both Ella and Saul. I already liked Ella, I knew less about Saul but I found him to be exactly the sort of man I like reading about in this sort of book. Quiet, dependable, a bit of a hint of a mystery. He’s the tall, strong and silent type but eventually he confides things about himself in Ella and is always willing to listen when she decides to return the favour. As neighbours they end up spending quite a bit of time together away from their shared friendship group – Ella’s occupation, her cheeky little goats, Saul’s dog, they’re all reasons why they end up in each other’s company. Saul is also fond of Violet, his former neighbour as well and when Ella starts looking into Libby’s disappearance a bit more, trying to see if she can find anything that might give Violet some closure, whether she be alive or not, Saul is all too willing to lend a hand and an ear as Ella digs around.

I loved the friendship they built up, how ensconced in each other’s lives they became. How they both turned to the other, whether things were going well or if things had been a bit rough. What is difficult at first becomes suddenly easy – almost too easy as they both realise they are catching feelings for people that have only ever claimed loudly to want to stay single. Their lives fit together so well, they’re both attracted to each other but there’s a lot more than that. They both manage to fulfil something for each other. Ella understands Saul’s passion for his animals, his dedication to his farm and he understands her job, the hours it takes, the demands it can sometimes make. I always enjoy books where the author really takes the time to build a friendship between the two characters, something deep and abiding that you can imagine carrying them through a lot of years. The instant attraction is fun too but I like to read about a couple and think that I know where I see them in the future, knowing that they have not just the hots for each other but a lot of mutual respect, admiration and trust. I definitely got that feeling with Saul and Ella.

I’m not sure if the author has more books planned for this series – there were ways in which this felt quite final for the core little friendship group. Marriages, babies, etc. But there were also characters I felt could possibly get their own story in the future, if there were to be more books and it’s easy to introduce new ones. I’d certainly be happy to read more. I really have enjoyed my experience reading about Woodlea and the people that live there.


Book #10 of 2020

5 responses to “Review: The Boundary Fence by Alissa Callen

  1. Mic says:

    I am looking forward to this one, have it from netgalley and will get to it. 🙂 I think i’m caught up with woodlea except this one

  2. Marg says:

    I haven’t read any of this series. Maybe i should!

  3. […] which is the seventh novel in her enduring Woodlea series, enchanted two readers in February. Bree at 1 Girl 2 Many Books and Mrs B’s Book Reviews both gave The Boundary Fence their full […]

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