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Feature book: Something Like This

24 February 2021

Something Like This by Karly Lane

Subgenre: rural romance
Release date: 1 Dec 2020
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Format: ebook and print
Length: 253 pages
RRP: $14.24 (ebook); $29.99 (print)

I wasn’t sure if I’d like this book, to be honest. I’m not a ‘horsey’ person, just a clueless city suburban dweller. But my goodness, I’d have to be stone cold heartless not to be touched by the Guy Fawkes Heritage Horses, used here in equine therapy.

I googled the horses and they are magnificent! They are also part of Australia’s living history, wild horses that are descendants of Australia’s wartime horses. Amazing the things you learn from reading romance novels!

Tilly Hollis, our beautiful heroine, knows how impressive these horses are, and is working to create her own dream career running an equine therapy program for troubled youth. Meanwhile she’s also waiting tables in a cafe in rural Ben Tirran, in the Australian New England mountains, trying to save money to make the full-time equine therapy dream an actual reality, and something she can make a viable living from.

Tilly’s been through so much in life, the biggest being suddenly widowed. Now she’s determined to finally follow her passion and train her horses for her Healing Hooves Horse Therapy, including the horses she acquires wild. She has an ‘eye’ for the ones with the most potential. She certainly loves her horses and understands them in such an insightful way. I was thoroughly impressed. She is utterly convinced the horses can slowly be trained to trust and love the humans around them, and by doing so bring out the best in those humans as they work with the animals. A wonderful two-way relationship that can only improve over time.

I love this introduction to the hero from the blurb on the back cover: Jason Weaver just wants to be left alone. It was a tough transition from his army days to the civilian world, and he’s looking forward to settling into a solitary life.

Says it all, really, doesn’t it? And so true! Jason truly is a bit of a hermit to start with, but then finds himself rather surprised to visit the local cafe where Tilly works for breakfast way more than he expected. Tilly intrigues him, and that annoys him, because he’s not signing up for a romance or even a friendship. Still, Tilly is always sunny and polite, and he finds himself drawn back to her time after time. Not that he lets her know or anything …

Jason is a wounded veteran but really doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. He has rebuilt his life since his army days and made a good living for himself. For now—renovating his newly acquired property with a ‘fixer-upper’ house—he just wants to be left alone. Snort. Romance readers have heard all that before, and we all know how that’s going to end! (But it’s such fun reading how.)

One of the recurring plot devices through the book was the utter love of and references to the poem The Man From Snowy River by Banjo Paterson. Seriously, all Tilly’s family is named after characters from the poem, and she has watched the film so many times she knows the dialogue off by heart. I can’t remember the last time I watched the film, and now I’m desperately scrambling to find a copy. I absolutely loved the scene where Jason is astounded to find himself watching said film with Tilly. Then she informs him there’s a second film, and that’s next on the to-watch agenda!

This was such a terrific book. All my qualms about the horse side of the story absolutely melted away as I fell in love with the animals—as did the troubled teens that worked with them—and reading their journey was such a plus.

The romance wasn’t an easy one, I have to say, there was so much Tilly and Jason had to go through with loads of tough readjustments and serious thinking. Which made it all the more fabulous to read because I was so fully invested. Thanks, Karly Lane.

reviewed by Malvina

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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