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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

Title: Talk of the Town
Author: Rachael Johns
Publisher: 24 April 2017 Harlequin (Australia) TEEN/MIRA
Pages: 416 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: womens fiction, contemporary, romance
My Rating: 4.5 crowns

Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife.
But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.
Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more.
But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?
A moving story of secrets, love and new beginnings from bestselling author Rachael Johns.

My Thoughts

‘Oh!’ The woman’s face exploded in recognition and her smile grew. ‘I’ve heard about you. You’re the talk of the town.’

If you have loved Rachael’s books in the past, and her focus on writing about small town rural romances, then you are on another winner here. I do enjoy the Aussie settings and especially the focus on this Western Australian agricultural community. Rachael is adept at making the characters come to life as you get to know them really well.  Then, of course,  there is nothing like a slow build up romance to keep the pages turning.

That being said, you sign up for books like this as you know you will get your ‘happily ever after’, therefore it is up to the author to make the journey worth the while. This book is filled with the typical ups and downs of small town drama, but it’s not over the top and the cast of characters provide something for everyone (I loved Crazy Archie). This tale is about relationships. I empathised with the characters, and their emotions, and struggles to rebuild their lives after tragedy had struck.

Rachael cleverly leaves you teasers in the beginning, as you attempt to guess what is the background story for some of these people. For example: why would someone buy a house in a deserted town? What is the mystery surrounding Meg? What did happen to Lawson’s wife? (by the way, Lawson is a dreamboat leading man - strong and compassionate). What did happen to his sister Tabitha?

My only hesitation and withdrawal of half a star, concerned the inclusion of the paranormal - you have to be open to ghostly encounters. Also, at times, Lawson’s angst got a bit repetitive and therefore unnecessary.  However, I did not let that detract me from overall thoroughly enjoying this book with great characters, interesting plot and a wonderful romance.

Move over Romeo and Juliet, step aside Scarlett and Rhett: their passions had nothing on the sensations currently racing through her body.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

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