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Feature book: The Long Road to Loving Jackson

14 July 2021

The Long Road to Loving Jackson by Alicia Hope

Subgenre: rural romance
Release date: 30 Jun 2020
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook and print
Length: 330 pages
RRP: $3.99 (ebook); $28.90 (print)

I discovered this is the second book in The Long Road series by Alicia Hope, the first being The Long Road to Loving Grayson, published in 2012, also set in remote Queensland bush. From what I can gather both books are stand-alone.

Our heroine, Abbey Miller, has the unusual profession of trick rodeo rider. How refreshing! We’ve all seen scenes of trick riding, always breathtaking. Abbey can do it all and more, and she’s the star of the show. Living the dream. She’s sacrificed pretty much everything to do what she’s doing, at the cost of family, but what can possibly go wrong?

Again, we all know what can go wrong … and it does, horribly. Abbey has a dreadful accident that abruptly ends her riding career. It’s a miracle she escapes with her life. The blows keep coming. She’s dropped from the riding team. With no job and no money, she has no choice but to limp home to her uncle’s property, broken and wary.

Her uncle’s provided shelter for Abbey and her mother since her father, a returned vet suffering from PTSD, became uncontrollably violent. The uncle works a hardscrabble cattle property in remote Queensland. As Abbey ran away to join the riding team against his advice, her welcome back might be frosty.

Further shocks wait for her. It turns out to be a very different homecoming from what she expected.

Then she discovers a squatter on her property, an enigmatic man called Jackson. He keeps himself to himself, but steps in to help when there are unexpected ‘broken’ (cut) fences and missing cattle. The neighbours are hostile and threatening, denying any cattle rustling, even when Abbey discovers her family brand in their yards. Upsetting, to say the least.

Unlike most romance where the hero and heroine often meet early in the book, Jackson and Abbey don’t meet until nearly half way through. Take heart, the romance still works.

Jackson slowly but surely becomes indispensable to Abbey, even with unanswered questions about his background. Yet his competence and firm support make her feel a lot more secure. He obviously knows what he’s doing so she hires him to help around the property. But there’s one secret about Jackson that might wreck everything for Abbey.

There are a few mysteries to solve in this book which up the stakes and make the pages turn. There’s also the heart-warming theme of ‘family’ being created as you gather special people around you.

reviewed by Malvina

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

 

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