Author: Karly Lane
Karly Lane is a bestselling Australian author who first self-published Burnt in 2013, since then it has found a new home with Harlequin and released in April.
Burnt is set in Lane’s hometown of Macksville in NSW. It’s the small hometown of teenage sweethearts Sebastian Taylor and Rebecca Whiteman, who had their lives tragically torn apart in an accident and left town soon after.
Eighteen years later and both find themselves back in town; Rebecca is newly divorced and looking for a fresh start. Returning home is the best option for Rebecca as it allows her parents to be there for support and help with her two young daughters. The book begins with Rebecca living with her parents and working at the local hospital but she soon finds a rental and starts her new life of independence with her girls.
Sebastian Taylor fled town to join the army after the accident and he hasn’t been back. Now an elite SAS soldier Sebastian finds himself seriously injured and returns home to heal. It is soon apparent that not all the demons he’s running from are in his head. The town has not forgiven Sebastian for the accident and his relationship with his father has never been good.
Burnt is a tale of first love reunited, but does it follow that the love will be rekindled? I love stories of first love reunited. Who of us hasn’t, at one point or another, thought back on our first love and wondered what would happen if we ran into one another again.
Rebecca and Sebastian didn’t really have an ending because of the situation so there is a sense of unfinished business as well as high school sweethearts reunited.
Of course the first time Sebastian arrives at the hospital to have his dressings changed he is confronted with Rebecca as his nurse. She was forewarned that he was in town by the local paper but I don’t think he was expecting to find her in town.
There is much more to Burnt than the sparks still flying between Rebecca and Sebastian. There is the long overdue relationship slowly building between Sebastian and his father and the issues Rebecca is still having with her ex-husband.
The part I really wasn’t expecting was the suspense, there is much more to this story than meets the eye. It all stems from the long ago accident and a past that will never stop haunting Rebecca or Sebastian.
The love Lane has for her part of the country is evident in the way she writes her locations, and the fact that she has based the story so close to where she herself lives. Her scene setting transports you to the small town that is once again home to Rebecca and Sebastian.
The characters are well written and authentic, leaving you little choice but to love them. They are deeply scarred more than flawed and that has made it very difficult to move on. Rebecca has managed to move forward with her life, marrying and starting a family only to divorce and return home. She has worked hard to move through her pain and deal with her past but the scars will never disappear and it seems her heart may never completely harden.
Sebastian on the other hand has worked hard to keep running from his past and avoid dealing with his wounds. The SAS has given him direction and focus and trained him to switch off his emotions while also placing him in extreme danger. You would be forgiven for questioning whether he has a death wish and if he will ever stop punishing himself for an accident that he had no control over.
Burnt is the story of circumstance returning both Rebecca and Sebastian to their childhood homes at the same time and throwing them back together in a professional setting. These are the only two people who can understand their mixed emotions about returning home but will that be enough.
Rebecca is starting a new life and planning to settle in her old hometown, enjoying the chance to offer her children an upbringing out of the city and Sebastian is only planning to stay as long as it takes for his latest wounds to heal.
Alongside their reunion is a reunion fraught with tension for Sebastian and his father, they never saw eye to eye and it is only now that Sebastian has a chance to build a relationship with the father he has been gone from for so long.
Tragic, suspenseful and intriguing Burnt is Karly Lane at her finest.
Burnt is Book #16 for the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge.
Burnt is available now from Harlequin and where all good books are sold.