All The Books I Can Read

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Review: The Vet From Snowy River by Stella Quinn

on June 8, 2021

The Vet From Snowy River
Stella Quinn
Harlequin AUS
2021, 408p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}: Vera De Rossi no longer believes in love …

And thanks to her ex-boyfriend- she’s also broke, jobless, and staring down the barrel at a court case that could land her in prison. Turning to her talent for baking, Vera opens a cafe in Hanrahan, a cosy tourist town in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains.

Josh Cody, once Hanrahan’s golden boy, escaped sixteen years ago with gossip hard on his heels and a pregnant girlfriend in tow. Now he’s back: a qualified veterinarian – and a single dad with a lot to prove. A new start and a grumpy teenage daughter … it’s a lot to juggle, and there’s no room in his life for further complications. But that’s before he walks into The Billy Button Cafe and meets its prickly owner …

Reeling from the past, Vera has no intention of being sidetracked by the hot vet with his killer smile. But fate has a way of tripping up our best intentions and between a stray cat and a busybody with a heart of gold, this is a town – a family – unlike any other. And, whether Vera wants it or not, is there anything a family won’t do to help one of its own?

Funny, feel-good and entertaining, a stellar romance debut from an award-winning new talent. 

After finishing Spring Clean For The Peach Queen I really felt like another rural romance to read and this one was the only one that’s on my June TBR pile that fit the bill. I didn’t really know much about it but the setting intrigued me – the snowy mountains have been popping up a little in rural fiction recently and I was keen to get into this one and see how it was.

Vera De Rossi is new in the small town of Hanrahan and she’s opening a cafe which she helps will provide enough income to pay for her aunt’s fees at a hospice. Vera has definitely had a rough time of it lately and she has a court case pending over her head, the outcome uncertain. Josh Cody grew up in Hanrahan and is back after 15 or so years away, to work in a veterinary practice with his sister. There’s definitely an attraction between Josh and Vera but Vera is very reluctant to become involved: she can’t trust her judgement at the moment and she’s been let down (and believes she’s let people down) so her self-confidence and esteem is at rock bottom. She’s prickly but that doesn’t put Josh off at all.

There was a lot about this that I really liked – the idea of Josh returning to his hometown, the veterinary practice setting and Vera opening the cafe. All the baked treats and meals described in this sounded absolutely delicious and the character of Graeme, who becomes Vera’s barista/front of house person was amazing – I thought he was fabulous. I also really liked Poppy, Josh’s daughter and also the way in which Josh and Poppy’s mother had a really great relationship. Josh’s relationship with Poppy too felt realistic and fraught with the tension of parenting a teenage girl and negotiating feelings of abandonment. The animals were excellent little characters in their own right – Jane Doe and all her pups as well as the stray cat that befriends Vera.

But there were a few things that I thought needed some work, plot wise – such as the development of the relationship between Josh and Vera. Josh’s first move felt very premature and there were times he came across as a bit pushy when Vera was giving some clear signals that she wanted him to back off. Even if her thoughts were conflicted, Josh should listen to what she was saying. There were times when Josh came across a bit younger than I think he was supposed to be, almost like an eager puppy. Also there’s a bit of the later part of the book devoted to a sort of sabotage attempt on his and his sister’s business and it kind of flares up and then fizzles out and goes no where but there’s a bit about Hannah, Josh’s sister in this book and whatever she may have going on or not going on with a high school friend of Josh’s. So perhaps there’ll be another book about those two and there’ll be more about that in the future because I felt like it took up quite a bit of page time for something that felt well, honestly, a bit like filler. It felt like drama for drama’s sake rather than advancing the plot in a meaningful way.

Overall I mostly enjoyed this, especially parts surrounding the building of the community and Vera’s journey in the cafe and her growth as a character. But I didn’t really love Josh and I think some of the pacing in the relationship needed a little bit of work, for me it just felt a bit rushed, especially because of Vera’s personality. I liked this and found it enjoyable but I didn’t love it. However, if there does turn out to be a book about Hannah I’d definitely read that because I found whatever was or wasn’t going on with her, interesting and I’d like to know more.


Book #91 of 2021

The Vet From Snowy River is book #39 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2021

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