Local café owner Joel O'Connor finds himself increasingly drawn to the gorgeous new nurse, but like Kate, he's been scarred by love and isn't looking to jump into anything. Yet their chemistry is hard to deny and after a near fatal incident, Joel and Kate find themselves opening up to one another.
Just when Kate thinks she's found love again, their fragile relationship is thwarted by their pasts. Can they both let go of their guilt and grief to move on to a bright new future?
Comment: Another book I can't really remember why I added to my reading list but probably had something to do with an opinion somewhere about how interesting it was and that it featured a small town romance of sorts. However, I must say I was disappointed.
In this first installment in the series Escape to the Country, author Nicki Edwards created a story based on medical experts (mostly nurses) moving from a big city to a rural one.
In this first book, the heroine is Kate Kennedy, a nurse who finds out her boyfriend cheated on her so she decides to turn her life around and she leaves the big city for a distant rural location where she hopes to start a new life.
Before moving, Kate briefly met a man at the hospital she worked in so it's quite a surprise when she finds him in the new place, he works at a coffee shop owned by him. Kate and Joel start as friends and they help each other when necessary but can Kate keep her feelings neutral? Will Joel ever feel the same for her?
My expectations for this book weren't the highest ever but they were considerable and I wanted to read a good contemporary, even more so because the setting is Australia, a country everyone knows something about but which is (especially geographically) far away and not easy to see with one's eyes how close reality is.
For me, in Europe, the US is as distant but the movies and pop culture so heavily set on America do help in creating an idea. When it comes to Australia, it's not the same, so the little facts about the country, the different areas were interesting to read about, even if that wasn't the main point in the story.
The story had its interesting moments, for sure. The idea of stating over in a new place has an appeal many people would enjoy, in particular if they were confident professionals and knew they would be successful. I also liked how plenty the medical situations were, so the author investigated medical procedures, why they happened and how they would be treated.
The problem, as it was with mostly everything, is the writing itself.
I think the writing style isn't very captivating, it's both descriptive but rushed which means the plot doesn't feel like it's flowing very well. For instance, we would have many medical descriptions like I said but they would come out of nowhere, a patient would arrive and things jumped from there. The link between one scene and whatever was happening before and then after just doesn't fit the pace and often I would wonder if some scenes were there just to fill up some space or if the author didn't know how to incorporate them into the plot.
The plot had several situations I found weirdly done or without much realism.
Kate finds out her boyfriend cheats by seeing a text message. She asks no questions, she demands nothing, she just leaves everything behind and starts over. Not even a phone call/message to demand an explanation at least.
Conveniently, Kate finds a new job in a matter of hours.
Kate's new co workers are all a bit mean to her for who knows which reasons (the explanation didn't convince me).
Kate and Joel are an item, they want to (and do) take thinks slowly but their relationship isn't very passionate (ok, not a real issue but it was so lukewarm I lost interest in them together).
Kate is an interesting character but some of her attitudes seemed a contradiction. She says at first she hates confrontation but she does let her inner fighter out many times...I liked some aspects of her personality but as a whole she didn't win me over.
Joel is very intriguing but his behavior isn't easy to understand all the time. Oh well.
All in all, this was pretty much a boring story, there are several situations that seemed compelling but the execution left a lot to be desired in my opinion. The emotional side was done well in parts but where most readers would want it to - the romance with Joel - it just felt so...simple and without enough punch. Perhaps the balance wasn't met, I'd say but to be honest I don't feel intrigued enough to read the next ones to find out if the writing gets better.