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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Review: Gone to Ground

Title: Gone to Ground
Author: Bronwyn Hall

Publisher: 3rd August 2022 by Harlequin Australia, HQ & MIRA

Pages: 272 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre:  contemporary, mystery, adventure, romance

My Rating: 5 crowns


HUNTED. ALONE. AFRAID... A heart-in-the-mouth and utterly addictive adventure thriller from a phenomenal debut Australian talent. 

UN surgeon Rachel Forester is posted at a remote medical clinic deep in the jungle of Democratic Republic of the Congo. With violence escalating in the region, Dr Forester risks her life by remaining to tend an injured child while the rest of her team evacuates. On the cusp of her final desperate chance to leave, a soldier is carried into the camp by three other members of his unit, his condition so critical, his airlift must take priority over hers.

With no help coming, and in the path of warring militias, this small unit must flee through the heart of the jungle to reach the safety of the province capital. But in the dark wilderness lies a strangling web of crime and corruption. As they get deeper, they discover a sinister mining operation and stolen children with evidence indicating shadowy ties to the UN. But aren't those the people Dr Forester works for? The only people who know she's still lost out there? And now, the people who want her dead?

The further they delve, the more the web closes around them. Will they make it out alive?

My Thoughts

WOW! Just wow! What a journey! Gone to Ground was unexpected and totally thrilling - this debut novel by Aussie author Bronwyn Hall was brilliant! Fast paced action, packed full of a thrilling adventure with a steaming romance that is not to be missed. I loved it!

 ‘There’s no room. You can’t all fit.’ ‘He’s coming instead of me,’ I said. ‘What?’ ‘It’s okay, I’ll … hide or something. They’ll think I’ve gone with you, so they won’t look for me.’ Both of us knew I was talking crap.’

Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this is about a UN doctor risking her life to save others and a secret op Canadian military team on a mission. When things go horribly wrong they are forced to set off on foot to safety through the jungle.This book truly had it all - UN military scenario, diamond mining, child abduction, medical dramas, scary jungle with things blowing up all round. The slow burn romance between a down to earth Aussie doctor and a French Canadian soldier makes it worth the read alone - if there is a follow up book with these two I’m queuing up to buy it! All these aspects perfectly combined to produce a rollicking good tale that had me furiously turning pages with a climactic end that had me on the edge of my seat!

‘I spoke of the Congo. Of the instability, the poverty, the health needs and what I’d been doing since I’d left. There was enough colour and detail that they got insight into the difficulties and tragedy’

For a first time author who was not a doctor or had not been ‘lost’ in the jungle this was amazingly well done! I walked every painstaking step and will think of Rachel with every spider I now see 😉 The drama, the mystery and the romance all come together to form the perfectly told story. The plot builds with perfect pacing with the descriptions of the jungle terrifyingly real, the drama in the operating theatre horrifying true.

‘Being a doctor means I look after the health and wellbeing of others, and that territory comes with a lot of abstaining from judgement. But in this part of the real world, staying neutral feels like a stupid, blind luxury.’

Rachel’s writing was on point, richly detailed and immersive particularly when it comes to romance. The connection and sexual tension between Rachel and Anton was palpable. I would read it for this alone. The writing, particularly the ‘kaleidoscope’ scene is off the charts. The secondary characters enabled this to become an  incredibly exciting plot - the ones you loved (Lucas and Jax) and the ones you despised (Christopher).

‘His words pierced straight through the lustful ache dominating my bloodstream and sank into my soul like water into sand.’

If you are looking for an exciting combination of a fast moving, tension filled drama that is overflowing with action this is your book. The steam of the romance smokes off the page with super writing that you can easily lose yourself in. Gone to Ground is a superb debut novel that truly excited me and I highly recommend it as I found it so engaging and fulfilling. 

‘The jungle seemed impenetrable, yet I knew it was filled with creatures in their comfort zone, creatures adapted to their environment in a way I wasn’t.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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