Feature book: Outback Flames
Zoe Montgomery has led a harsh life, although for the first thirteen years of her life, it was a very happy one. She lived with her loving parents on Montagreen, the family property, in a small country town of Munna in outback Australia, known for its hot, dry summers and years of drought but also the wealth of support and friendship shown by neighbours and friends. This all changes one night when there is a fire and Zoe is snatched away by an aunt she does not know. She is taken away and has to grow up very quickly. She works hard for her cruel aunt and her partner, and she has no memory before being snatched. She often hears her aunt talking about a girl named Zoe Montgomery and a property called Montagreen. Zoe is determined to one day escape her aunt and find that memory she has lost. She needs to find Montagreen and start there. Zoe is now a jillaroo, and fifteen years later, that time has come.
Jordan has grown up in Munna with his family. He is happy, and as in many small towns, very close to neighbours. He is always happy to help and is a normal teenage boy, but he is also very close to his neighbour Zoe. She is two years younger than him, but they do everything together. Their families are close as well. He is a jackaroo and carpenter now, but his life is turned upside down the night of the devastating fire on the neighbour’s property, resulting in death and a missing girl. After investigations that centre on Jordan that blame him for the fire, things change dramatically, but he is a survivor. He later marries and has a son who means everything to him, especially since he is now a single dad, but he never gives up on finding Zoe.
When Zoe arrives back in her home town, she is hoping that her memory will come back to her. She has spoken to a doctor, hoping that sights and speaking to people will help. She has done some research on the internet and has found out that she owns Montagreen. She decides to rebuild it after having been told by her aunt that she has nothing. When she meets Jordan’s sister and best friend, Jade, in the town and has coffee with her, little do either of them realise that Jordan is just about to step back into Zoe’s life. When Jordan sees Zoe he is stunned and, after talking, Zoe opens up about not remembering anything since the night of the fire when she was thirteen. Jordan is determined to help as is everyone else in the town, but they must take baby steps, and Zoe is ever aware that her aunt might find her.
This is a great story from start to finish. It has suspense and true love, which bring out the best and the worst in people. You will be turning the pages as Zoe slowly regains her memories, good and bad. There are ups and downs that will have you crying and smiling. I did very much enjoy this story, and I highly recommend that you get to know Zoe and Jordan.
Reviewed by Helen S.
A review copy of this book was provided by the author.