SNOWY RIVER MAN
Author: Lizzy Chandler
Escape Publishing eBook RRP $4.99
Review: Monique Mulligan
Snowy River Man is Lizzy Chandler’s debut romance novel. Despite its short length (just over 160 pages), it packs in a conflict-ridden storyline, plenty of romantic chemistry, drama and some memorable characters – in fact, there’s enough there to make readers want more. I prefer romance novels to offer more than romance – I like them to make me think – and Chandler hints at depths that could be explored. Lost children motifs (common in Australia’s big wide country), spiritual abilities, connection to land, Indigenous land rights, and mental illness are just a few that are introduced as subtexts to the overall plot.
The basic story is not unusual as far as contemporary romances go. Katrina Delaney dreams of a missing boy, who happens to be the son of Jack Fairley, the man she had a one-night stand with seven years earlier. She’s had some success using pyschic abilities to help police locate missing children, so she offers to help. The reunion, although based on a mutual desire to find Jack’s son, is not without angst on both parts. Katrina still carries the hurt from discovering Jack was engaged to be married when he slept with her (which ended the relationship before it really began), while Jack bears anger, hurt and an element of fear, which is explained as the story progresses. As far as they are concerned, the reunion will be professional and short-lived. The fact that their old attraction surfaces immediately, almost but not quite trumping old scars, doesn’t help maintain that objective facade.
Chandler has created some strong characters in Katrina and Jack. In one sense, Jack is fairly typical of the romance genre; despite some good reasons to judge him harshly, at least from Katrina’s perspective, he is a devoted father with plenty of attraction for readers. To me, he’s a “still waters run deep” kind of guy. Katrina is vulnerable, but also brave. They make a good match. Murray Tom also stands out as a warm and wise character – there’s a lovely sub-plot concerning him that adds depth.
I enjoyed reading Snowy River Man – it follows the romance guidelines of conflict, attraction, more conflict and happy ending, but to me, offered hints of much more. The setting was an added bonus – the Snowy Mountains Region is an area I love and miss (being on the other side of the country) so I relish any opportunity to reconnect with the region, even if it is in fiction. Chandler writes very well and should be confident of going even further with future works.
Available from online bookstores and Escape Publishing. My copy was courtesy of Escape Publishing via Netgalley.