Book Club: The Round Yard

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Author: Alissa Callen
ISBN:
9781489261700
RRP:
$29.99
Publication Date:
21 January 2019
Publisher:
Harlequin Mira
Copy:
Courtesy of the Publisher

The Round Yard by Alissa Callen is the third book in the Woodlea series and the first of this prolific Australian rural romance writer’s works that I have read.

While the story can be read as a standalone work, I think that there would be significant benefit in having read her earlier books (and possibly even her prequel novella Purple Hills which is downloadable from her website) in order to have a greater understanding of the characters. For those who have read The Long Paddock and The Red Dirt Road, this book develops the character of Tanner, the taciturn cowboy with superb horsemanship skills and looks that have every girl from miles around swooning over him.

The story focusses on Neve Fitzpatrick, an occupational therapist, who has returned to the bush to rent a farmhouse near her grandmother’s old family home after the death of her mother. Neve had nursed her mother for many years and is now at a loss as to where she belongs. To keep her mind occupied, and to help deal with her own grief, she cares for two little girls, Maya and Kait, whose mother recently died from a brain tumour, while their father Graham works during the day in Woodlea.

Courtesy of Ella, the local vet, Neve has acquired a pony, Sebastian or Bassie and a donkey, Delilah or Dell. Neve’s efforts to contain Bassie and Dell to their paddock are in vain as the wily pony continues to find ways to break them out. There’s only one thing for it, call for Tanner’s help.

Tanner, there’s only one thing unnerves him more than single women, and that’s small children. Past experiences have caused him to erect a protective barrier around his heart and he has no intention of letting that barrier down. But there’s something about Neve that keeps trying to put a chink in his armour, and then there are two little girls who having decided his favourite colour is blue keep baking him blue coloured cakes and biscuits!

Then there is Edna, the local matchmaker, who seems intent on matching Tanner with her daughter Bethany, keeping him away from Neve while pushing Neve towards one or other of the Barton boys. Whether that is what any of them want, or not!

When a small chest is found on Neve’s grandmother’s old family home, and an iron key opens it, Neve is suddenly faced with family secrets dating back to World War II making her question all she knew about her family. The only person who can help her is Tanner through his family connections, but to do so means he needs to confront some of his own demons.

Those who enjoy Australian rural romance, well written in an easy to read style with believable characters and a few gentle twists and turns will thoroughly enjoy this book. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Mira, Harlequin Books for the opportunity read and review this book. I give it 4 stars.

This guest review was submitted by our Beauty and Lace Club member: Marcia. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Marcia.

Alissa Callen can be found on Facebook and her website.

The Round Yard is published by Harlequin Mira and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin Mira 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Round Yard so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below

15 thoughts on “Book Club: The Round Yard

  1. The Round Yard, while focusing on Neve Fitzpatrick, an occupational therapist taking time out after her mother’s death, and Tanner Callahan, drover and horse trainer, it brings in many different characters which are important elements to the story of life in a country area. Both Neve and Tanner have sole searching issues to overcome as their relationship develops. Bring in some interesting farm animals to the story which helps Neve and Tanner get to know each other.
    The story shows how a small community comes together to help each no matter how intruding they may appear!
    Loved the way author Alissa Callen brought the story together and developed each character uniqueness.
    Great read!

    1. I loved reading The Round Yard. Apparently it is part of a series but I read it by itself and don’t feel that anything was missed
      This is one of my favourite genres being raised in the country. Reading this book was like having a strong cup of tea with old friends. I looked forward to my time out escaping in the pages
      This story centres around Neve a woman trying to find herself after losing her mum who she cared for for many years
      Her love interest Tanner is a quiet, self contained strong man. It is delightful to watch their friendship grow. Throw in a mix of animals, a couple of adorable children and the characters of a small town and you have a page turner
      While healing themselves, Neve gets caught up in a family mystery that makes her question all that she grew up with
      I will certainly check out other works by Alissa Callen as I really enjoyed this book.
      Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read and review thus

  2. The Round Yard – Alissa Callen

    A rural romance in every way with unrequited love at every turn, rural scenery to stir the heart and rural dramas of escaping ponies, horse trainers, farming families, small town match-making, a locust plaque and war time mystery to add another dimension to the plot.

    Neve Fitzpatrick is welcomed into the rural community near her grandmother’s family home and needs to find herself after so many years caring for her dying mother. She quickly finds friends and becomes integral to the community.

    The handsome, horse trainer and adamant bachelor, Tanner Callahan comes into her life to solve problems with her escapee pony and sparks fly between the two. He has to resolve his own commitment issues before he can admit his attraction to Neve.

    An easy read with lovely characters but sometimes too predictable and overstating the facts.

  3. The Round Yard by Alissa Callen offers the perfect combination of country charm, romance and horses. Three of my favourite things. The book follows Neve, who returned to the country due to her sick mother and following her death, is attempting to find her place in the community. Living on a rural property with a cheeky pony and donkey, while caring for a neighbours children, Neve comes into contact with Tanner who helps her to train her donkey and pony.

    Tanner is a mysterious character, who has experienced significant loss in his family and past relationship experiences and struggles to trust others. I enjoyed how Neve and Tanner were the focus of majority of the book, there were some other characters however I did not feel connected to them throughout.

    This was an enjoyable read and once starting it, I was instantly intrigued to see if romance would spark. I would definitely recommend Alissa Callen and will be delving into her other books soon.

  4. Discovering into my reading that this book is part of a series, helped make sense of the feeling that I was missing something. I will go back to earlier books to gain the full picture. However, this may be read as a standalone novel. There is sufficient background to most characters.

    Country life is a mystery to this city woman. The Round Yard took me into an environment about which I have no personal experience but it is a world about which I have many romantic imaginings. What stood out for me in this tale of the bush were the stunning images of the rural setting, the insertion of personalities for the animal characters, wonderful wild life and the foray into detailed descriptions of farming techniques. Allowing Bassie, Dell and Reggie to be real individuals in this book enchanted me. The mystery knitting is a charming extra. Alissa Callen has a way with words that set a believable scenario in my mind. With the hardships being endured at the moment by real life farming communities, this tale allows the reader feelings of kinship.

    There is warmth in the drawing of Maya and Kait, the little girls in Neve’s care. The tentative development of the romantic relationship between Tanner and Neve had me pushing for a happy outcome. May I confess that I did not warm to Edna despite revelations about her towards the end. I may have wanted more development in the central mystery of Edward Jones and Neve’s grandmother but this is but a small grumble.

    As someone who works in the disability sector, I appreciated Neve’s determination to bring ancillary medical services to her part of regional Australia. There is such a need.
    I did end up loving this story and am already seeking other stories from Woodlea.

    I award The Round Yard 4 stars. 

  5. The Round Yard is part of the Woodlea Series. I had read the other books first but if you have stumbled across this book first you can easily read it as a stand alone book.

    The round yard is a rural romance that explores loss and personal strength. The main characters are used to living their own lives and not relying on others. Can they learn to trust in their feelings and follow their hearts?
    As in the other Woodlea books, The round Yard showcases small town life and country living. Alissa Callen paints the Australian countryside in a way that is easily pictured in the mind. The emotions & issues people face in life and love are well explored and are very easy to relate to.

    I’m hoping their will be more Woodlea books as there are still a few characters to discover!

    Another great Woodlea novel.

  6. Firstly I would like to thank Harlequin Mira and Beauty and Lace for this book to read and review.

    The Round Yard tells the story of Neve and Tanner in their independant lives and struggles.
    Neve has returned home after her mother’s death and keeps herself busy by looking after a neighbours motherless children while he is working. After adopting a troublesome pony and donkey she reqiures Tanner’s help to keep them in line.

    The book follows the relationship forming between Neve and Tanner. The characters in this book are described well and you feel the emotions as they are experiencing them. I also loved the feel of the countryside as it is portayed in this book.

    I have not read any other books in this series and still found it easy to follow. I am now keen to read other books by Alissa Callen as I could not put it down.

  7. I do enjoy a rural romance as an escape from all the thrillers I read. It took me a little while to get into the writing style/story…I’m not sure if that’s because it’s part of a series ( but can be definitely be read as stand alone) I enjoyed Neve and Tanner as characters and the story covers didnt various topics. A good easy read for the beach.

  8. I loved reading The Round Yard. Apparently it is part of a series but I read it by itself and don’t feel that anything was missed
    This is one of my favourite genres being raised in the country. Reading this book was like having a strong cup of tea with old friends. I looked forward to my time out escaping in the pages
    This story centres around Neve a woman trying to find herself after losing her mum who she cared for for many years
    Her love interest Tanner is a quiet, self contained strong man. It is delightful to watch their friendship grow. Throw in a mix of animals, a couple of adorable children and the characters of a small town and you have a page turner
    While healing themselves, Neve gets caught up in a family mystery that makes her question all that she grew up with
    I will certainly check out other works by Alissa Callen as I really enjoyed this book.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read and review this

  9. I loved this book! We have all felt a little lost sometimes & the way this book was written covers the mix of feelings plus includes some love & lose so was really a brillint read. Highly recommend!

  10. As soon as I picked up ‘The Round Yard’, I was not able to put it down.
    I was absorbed into the story line and felt like i was there, and that they were all of my friends.
    It highlights the way that what you may think is something small, can change a persons life for the better, by breaking down walls that have existed for a long time. The community spirit was also a main feature, which is one of the best things about rural towns.
    Loved it, and now will have to read more of the series!

  11. I loved reading The Round Yard by Alissa Callen and it has prompted me to get the other books in the series and read them too. Nice to have an Australian romance story to read. I devoured it in one sitting as it was hard to put down 🙂 You won’t be disappointed! Thanks Harlequin Mira and Beauty & Lace.

  12. The Round Yard by Alissa Callen is a very enjoyable read. It is the third book in the Woodlea series but it can easily be read as a stand alone novel. Having said that though, the reason I wanted to read it is because I’d previously read both The Long Paddock and The Red Dirt Road and I wanted to reacquaint myself with the characters of Woodlea.
    This is a wonderful rural romance that tells the story of Neve, an occupational therapist who returns to the bush to get over the death of her mother who she had nursed through her illness. Here she meets Tanner Callahan, a drover and horse trainer who has his own issues to overcome.
    I absolutely loved the way Alissa Callen developed the character of Tanner having first met him in the previous books in the series.
    The Round Yard Was an enjoyable read and a great third instalment in the Woodlea series.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Mira for giving me the opportunity of reading and reviewing this book.

  13. I really liked reading this book. Though it did take me awhile to get into it. I enjoyed the story of the rural romance. Neve keeps herself busy looking after Maya and Kait and her mischievous animals. Thank you Harlequin for another great read and to Beauty and Lace.

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