Vera De Rossi no longer believes in love …
And thanks to her ex-boyfriend she’s also broke, jobless, and staring down the barrel of a court case that could land her in prison. Turning to her talent for baking, Vera opens a cafe in Hanrahan, a cosy tourist town in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains.
Josh Cody, once Hanrahan’s golden boy, escaped sixteen years ago with gossip hard on his heels and a pregnant girlfriend in tow. Now he’s back: a qualified veterinarian – and a single dad with a lot to prove. A new start and a grumpy teenage daughter … it’s a lot to juggle, and there’s no room in his life for further complications. But that’s before he walks into The Billy Button Cafe and meets its prickly owner …
Reeling from the past, Vera has no intention of being sidetracked by the hot vet with a killer smile. But fate has a way of tripping up our best intentions and between a stray cat and a busybody with a heart of gold, this is a town – a family – unlike any other. And, whether Vera wants it or not, is there anything a family won’t do to help one of its own?
I’ve been on a bit of a run of Aussie rural romance reads the past few weeks, with Maya Linnell’s Magpie’s Bend in June (my review is here), and Leonie Kelsall’s The Wattle Seed Inn last week (review coming really soon!), and my latest read in this genre is The Vet from Snowy River by Stella Quinn.
This one was set kind of locally to me – protagonist Vera has moved from Canberra (or Queanbeyan) to Hanrahan – which was sort of cool, and sometimes a bit weird where I wasn’t quite sure some of the comment about the region felt quite right. Quinn does do a great job though or painting and populating her fictional town of Hanrahan. I really go a feeling for the town and its people, and felt like I was really there.
The town’s characters were one of my favourite things about the book. There are so many fantastic quirky characters, and Quinn manages to make them fun – they provide a great light backdrop for some of the more serious issues that come up – without pushing them into caricatures. This was definitely one of those books where I would love to get some more stories set in the town, centering arounf some of the other characters. I also thought the relationships in the book were well written – in particular I liked the new friendships Vera formed with the towns people, and the way Josh got on with his sister, daughter, and his ex. The way these characters all looked out for eachother was lovely.
In terms of the main relationship – between Josh and Vera – I did like that there was an initial attraction that developed slowing into something more, and there was some good banter, but I also kind of felt like Josh was a bit too pushy at the start when Vera wasn’t interested, and this felt nearly on the creepy rather than charming side.
Two more things I really enjoy in my rural romance that popped up in this one were baking – I loved hearing about what Vera was making for the cafe, and I really felt her passion for it – and the animals. Both Josh’s doggy friend and the cat Vera meets were really lovely touches to the story.
Overall I thought this one was a pretty sweet and fun read. Like I said above, I’d be keen to spend some more time with some of the side characters in particular (I’d love to get to know Josh’s sister’s story better!), so I’ll be keeping an eye on what Quinn is writing next!
The Vet from Snowy River by Stella Quinn
Out now from Harper Collins (Harlequin Fiction/Mira)
Source: I received a free copy from Harper Collins for review (thank you!). All views are my own.
Category: Aussie rural romance fiction
Format: Paperback, 416 pages