Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on November 25th 2014
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After ten years pursuing a prestigious career in New York, Pip Martin has returned to the Yorke Peninsula to farewell her dying grandmother. She doesn't intend to linger - there are too many memories in the small country town and not all of them will stay in the past.
Like Luke Trenorden, her childhood sweetheart. A man Pip had promised her heart to, until tragedy stole Pip's family away, and a terrible lie tore both their lives apart.
Pip cannot deny there is still a spark between them, even amidst the heartache of losing her Gran and the demands of her new life. But it may not be enough to rekindle a love that has been neglected for so long.
When a long-kept secret is revealed, Pip is free to go back to the life she thought she wanted... unless Luke can break down the stone castle Pip has built around her heart.
Pip Martin hasn’t been back to the rural town in which she grew up for a long time and meeting Luke Trenorden wasn’t supposed to be part of the plan after rushing back to make her granny’s final moments. But her return brings back to the surface all of the issues between them that have never been resolved and Pip is finding, to her horror, that it is increasingly difficult to leave Luke…once again.
Evocatively written, Stone Castles is a second-chance story of 2 teenagers torn apart reuniting once more…fifteen years later. As with stories that deal with an long time gap between meetings, I’ve always been interested to read how an author bridges that gap between 2 characters who have clearly grown in different directions in the intervening time. It’s a delicate balance as always: a romanticised but ultimately unbelievable version would typically have both characters who still pine badly for each other while two people finding each other again as near-complete strangers would make me question the feasibility of this pairing. Trish Morey straddles the middle line fairly well as Pip and Luke struggle with forgiveness, heaps of memories and a chemistry that time can’t really erase.
Character-wise, there’s so much of an ‘outsider’ perspective and that disconnect written into Pip that I could definitely relate to, but Pip’s self-righteous posturing and extended sense of entitlement clearly made me feel a lot more for Luke than her. I liked how her friends grounded her and set her straight in the blame game that she’d been determined to foist on Luke’s shoulders and for me, the real growth of character was on Pip’s side, whose HEA was at least well- and hard-earned. But Morey thankfully never makes this too much of an ‘countrysider vs. citydweller’ issue, and the decent folks she writes about in the rural town play a big part in contributing to my enjoyment of the story.