Author: Fiona McCallum
Fiona McCallum has penned six Australian bestsellers, Leap of Faith is her seventh novel and set in the picturesque Adelaide Hills.
All of the books I have read by McCallum have been set in South Australia but this is the first in my neck of the woods. I’m not sure exactly where the farm is but I’m familiar with the surrounding towns and the roads mentioned so it had a very familiar feel to me right from the start.
I am not sure where my headspace is at just of late but it is affecting my reading and my empathy with heroines. I enjoyed the premise of Leap of Faith which has McCallum’s signature writing style and well drawn characters. Her animals are characters in their own right and you can’t help but be drawn to them. My issue was I couldn’t connect to lead character Jessica, I couldn’t get past some of her attitudes and decisions.
In the early pages Jessica has a traumatic accident in the middle of a horse riding event; leaving her hospitalised but thankfully her horse Prince suffers only a few scratches. Jessica’s broken ankle means she is out of action for six weeks with little to occupy her. The extremely capable, physical and independent Jessica is unable to ride, unable to teach and perhaps the most frustrating she is unable to care for her horses or help husband Steve on the farm.
All of this time off her feet gives Jessica way too much time to think, and to question EVERYTHING. A lot of her self evaluation is to be expected and completely natural but it seemed to me that she got a little melodramatic about it all for a while there. Jessica is concerned about the loss of condition in her horses and all of the extra responsibility on her husband looking after them so she rushes into a decision that those around her think she will come to regret. And, to top it all off she tries to isolate herself at home away from the entire horse community, and her town, because she’s not ready to face anyone.
Jessica is given time to look at her career so far and analyse what she has achieved, and why. Her pit of self-pity is quite deep but I think it needed to be for her to grow and tackle things from a different angle. The time and distance from her competition offer a very different perspective and allow her to recognise things she had never noticed throughout her career, and her rash decision allowed a second chance at happiness.
Faith is the rundown and forlorn horse Steve brings home from a clearing sale, after Jessica has sold hers. There’s a lot at play here and it seems quite obvious that Steve picked up the horse to try and rekindle Jessica’s passion but she is determined to keep her distance. It turns out that Faith affected Steve in a way he wasn’t expecting and he just couldn’t bear to leave the horse behind.
Every character has a story and Faith is no different, her story is heartbreaking and she too needs a second chance. The slow unfolding of Faith’s story broke my heart. It was beautiful to watch the blossoming relationship and growth of trust between Faith and Jessica as they both had a lot to learn.
Leap of Faith is an aptly named and beautifully told story of love, loss and second chances. It tells a tale of self discovery and demonstrates the need for honesty and the importance of in sickness and in health, and sharing with your partner because trying to hide it and struggle through alone hurts both of you.
A beautiful weekend read for a journey to the lush greenery of the picturesque Adelaide Hills.
Leap of Faith is book #14 for Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.
We have copies of Leap of Faith to giveaway to 5 of our lucky readers. If you want to be one of them tell us in the comments below about an injury that had you out of action and appreciating all the things you take for granted.
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