Monday, October 7, 2013

BREATHLESS by Dakota Harrison

Publisher: Samhain
Date published: 10/29/13
Western romance
Reviewed by Helen

Obtained via publisher

Rating: 2


Emma fells that her life is destroyed so she runs away from Australia to western Colorado and buys a home in a tiny town sight unseen.  Inevitably the house is somewhat rundown and needs maintenance, and also inevitably everyone in the small town starts talking about her guessing as to why she’s there. 

Gabe’s heart was inevitably broken in the past, but he can’t help feeling sorry for her and helping her.

In the interests of full disclosure I need to say that I am Australian and have lived there all my life, although I have traveled all over the world as well. 

The characters are sweet and nice, and the story is okay, but it just didn’t really give me that warm feeling I was looking for.  The entire book is too close to a Great Big Misunderstanding.  No one knows why Emma left Australia or why Gabe is so determined to dislike and avoid women.  As is typical in such stories characters are using this to gain advantage and/or cause trouble and the main characters are “helpless” to do anything about it, feeling themselves unable to ask direct and pertinent questions.  (until almost the end of the book).  A bit of a cliché’d plot, I thought.

Another issue for me was that the only “Australian” thing about Emma is her use of “bloody” as a swear word (which is widespread in Britain and many other places as well) and the fact that she has an accent (which would be the case wherever she came from, including the deep South).  While not wanting her to be a caricature Australian, I did expect her to have one or two standard “Australian” traits even if it was only something as superficial as a love of swimming and a devastating backhand when she plays tennis.

While being well aware that no matter where a person travels, people are the same underneath, having chosen to make the heroine a different nationality, I expected the national differences to be integrated into the plot.  For example according to Google the climate of western Colorado regularly reaches zero degrees F in winter and seldom exceeds 100 degrees F in summer.  No matter where she comes from in Australia she would consider the winters very cold indeed, and the summers only mild.  Temperatures in Australia almost never drop below 40 degrees F.  So for someone moving to a place where zero degrees F is normal in winter that should be a major plot point.  Why the dramatic change? Does she love to ski? Since the author says she lives in Queensland, Australia, I really don’t know why she didn’t get this right.

Well enough written, and with reasonable characters, but superficial, and not very satisfying.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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