It’s been a long time since read a romance novel. On purpose, that is. There have been a few romantic suspense novels which have erred too much on the former than the latter, but—if I can help it—I tend to shy away from straight romance*.
However I picked up Only We Know by Victoria Purman, knowing full well what I was getting into… and I don’t regret it one bit.
Teacher Calla Maloney travels to Kangaroo Island (off South Australia) when she discovers evidence that her brother (missing for several years) was last seen there. She’s throwing up over the side of the ferry from the mainland when she first meets Sam Hunter. Sam’s travelling back to his childhood hometown and family farm to check on his father, who’s showing the effects of dementia and (according to Sam and others) shouldn’t be managing the place by himself.
Sam and Calla ‘bump’ into each other several times—finally literally—and Sam finds himself offering to help Calla search for her brother. Their attraction is immediate and mutual but both are recovering from difficult break-ups and not expecting anything serious or long-lasting.
However… fate has other ideas…. Dum dum!
Obviously I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Calla and firefighter Sam could easily be city girl / country boy cliches but they both come across as likeable and complex characters. I thought there may perhaps have been a mystery to solve re Calla’s brother’s disappearance which wasn’t the case, but (like I said) it didn’t bother me. There is no great plot arc, but the book isn’t formulaic or predictable. Essentially, both Calla and Sam are dealing with family stuff and find solace in each other’s company.
For me the real strength of the novel is Purman’s writing. It is SO accessible. The dialogue is great and natural and the prose just drew me in as if I was watching a real life situation. I recently finished another book which didn’t offer the same level of engagement or familiarity and it made Purman’s talent even more obvious. I’ve not read anything else by her but can only assume her other books are similar.
Some writers just have a skill to draw you in and wrap you in their world before you’ve even realised, and Purman—most definitely—offers that here.
Only We Know by Victoria Purman will be released by Harlequin (Australia) on 1 May 2015.
I received a copy of this book for review purposes.
* A subject which probably needs its own post…