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