The Long Paddock by Alissa Callen: Review

June 16, 2017 Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I was provided with an advance reader copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are mine alone. I received no financial incentives to review this book.

The Long Paddock by Alissa Callen: ReviewThe Long Paddock by Alissa Callen
Series: Born in Boots #1
Published by Harlequin MIRA on January 23, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Rural Romance
Pages: 343
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
A captivating love story about community and second chances.

Country-girl Cressida Knight fills her days with her farm, a mischievous pet bull called Reggie and her volunteer emergency services work. The busier she keeps, the less she thinks about the cowboy who left her behind. She’s convinced the small-town Woodlea grapevine that she’s moved on, but now it’s time to move on for real.

Champion bull rider Denham Rigby shares Cressy’s deep love for the land and all he’s ever wanted was to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Cressy through life. But three years ago a dark family secret left him no choice but to run. Now family duty gives him no choice but to return to the bush.

What Denham hasn’t come home to do is to hurt Cressy by rekindling their relationship. He’s nothing but a liability and the beautiful, self-reliant cowgirl has to stay off limits. But when faced with Cressy’s desperation to save her drought-stricken farm, he can’t keep his distance. He joins her out droving on the long paddock. Then when Woodlea is hit by more than just rodeo fever, they are further thrown together and Denham loses the battle to lock down his emotions.

But has he left it too late to stop running? And will the woman he’s always loved be prepared to risk her heart for a second time?

My thoughts on The Long Paddock:

This may have been released back in January this year, but due to the controlled chaos that I preside over at home, it has taken me until now to read

This may have been released back in January this year, but due to the controlled chaos that I preside over at home, it has taken me until now to read The Long Paddock by Alissa Callen. I can only say now that I wish I had read it sooner.

An honest and truthful depiction of rural life, along with a deliciously slow-burning romance, The Long Paddock is probably one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I loved that Alissa was not afraid to address some really tough subjects (mental health, grief, drought, and the effect of these on rural communities) and that she tackled them in a sensitive and realistic way.

Cressy is strong yet vulnerable, a dreamer yet a realist, and her passion for her land is evident. Denham is alpha and beta male all rolled into one – he has a crazy dangerous job but he has such a gentle, caring side. The connection between Cressy and Denham is undeniable, and I found myself actively wanting to know what would keep a couple so suited apart. The progress of their reconnection and rediscovery of each other is slow-moving, but this pace is perfect. Rushing them back together would have served no purpose, so I am really glad Alissa resisted the temptation to do that. I got why Denham felt he needed to stay away and I loved that Cressy didn’t get all pushy about it. There are hints throughout the story as to what tore them apart and what Denham sees as the barrier to them being together, and while I picked up on it pretty quickly, it wasn’t blindingly obvious – the mystery was well done.

Country towns and rural life are teeming with unique and interesting characters, and Woodlea is no different. I must say I have a major soft spot for Reggie the carrot-addicted bull. The setting in the central west of NSW is a familiar one to me, as my maternal grandparents hailed from that part of the world.

As I understand it, The Long Paddock is the start of a series – which I couldn’t be happier about, because there are some characters I encountered that I would love to see more of. So, here I will wait, patiently, for a return visit to Woodlea.

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