Author: Victoria Purman

Long Hot Summer by Victoria Purman

Long Hot Summer by Victoria PurmanLong Hot Summer by Victoria Purman
Series: Hot Aussie Knights #3
Published by Tule Publishing on June 5th 2017
Pages: 140
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four-stars

It's going to be a long, hot summer in Reynolds Ridge…

Hannie Reynolds has returned to the town she grew up in because no other place feels quite like home. But living in the stunning Adelaide Hills comes with risks--from the threat of bushfires that destroy everything in their path to the heart-stopping return of her high school crush.

Firefighter Dylan Knight has come home too, and old memories flare when he sees Hannie again. Have they waited too long to rekindle their love?

When they discover they were driven apart by a lie, they’re more determined than ever to fight for their second chance… until a bushfire threatens to destroy all they might share together and the very foundations of Hannie’s life in the hills.

Has she lost everything … and has Dylan lost her forever?

‘Long Hot Summer’ is such a lovely read, and it’s one that I know will stay in my mind because of the beautiful, extensive descriptions of the natural landscape of Adelaide hills and the slow burn, second-chance trope that comes with it when a jeweller returns home and runs into her teenage crush.

In fact, I was captivated by Dylan Knight’s and Hannie Reynolds’s relationship and how, even fractured by lies and a vindictive cousin who never really got her just rewards, that was never too broken to fix, 14 long years later. But if I was frustrated by Hannie’s big-heartedness and her passivity towards her cousin’s petty jealousies and manipulation, both Dylan and Hannie’s steadfast commitment to each other after these lies were uncovered were more fulfilling because of it and no less powerful because it burns bright and hot against the ever-present menace of the summer bush fires that threaten their homes.

Effortlessly woven into the drama of their lives is the inescapable bit of the unique (and biting) Australian weather and landscape that kept me engrossed and reading on, as Victoria Purman pays tribute not only to Dylan and Hannie, but also the rural community’s resilience and hope when tragedy strikes. By the end of it, it does feel as though Dylan/Hannie’s happiness is tied as much to the land as it is to each other and the bittersweet ending is simply one that speaks of their personal, hard-won victory.

four-stars

Hold On To Me by Victoria Purman

Hold On To Me by Victoria PurmanHold On To Me by Victoria Purman
Published by Harlequin MIRA on January 1st 2016
Pages: 300
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two-stars

Can she learn to trust him and love again?
Stella wasn't looking for love – and especially not from a younger man..
When Stella Ryan's successful life in Sydney crumbled, she returned flat broke – and broken hearted – to the beachside town she'd once called home. Five years on, she's opened a boutique and rebuilt her life in the tourist haven of Port Elliot.
Luca Morelli has been working flat out to establish his own building company in the city and doesn't have time to be driving back and forth to the beach to do a small job in a shop that was almost destroyed in a fire. But he soon changes his mind when he meets the glamorous owner.
Before long, Stella and Luca find that a working relationship isn't the only thing developing between them. But the closer they get, the ghosts of Stella's past come to haunt her once more. Can she ever believe a man again? And if she can, is the much younger Luca Morelli the man she can trust with her heart?

Victoria Purman’s straightforward storytelling is always a joy to read, but the (re)introduction of Stella Ryan as a former Middle Point resident seemed to come out of nowhere, like an afterthought for an author who couldn’t quite say goodbye to the beloved cast of characters who inhabited this particular place. It wouldn’t quite have been an issue however, had Stella been part of the regular crew from the very beginning of the series, but she wasn’t and with Luca Morelli together, felt more like a forced pairing than an inspired one.

There are some stereotypes explored in the book to varying degrees of success:
– the younger man/older woman dynamic in which age only became an issue in the way Stella used it as an excuse not to go for what she wanted, proving that sometimes it is the younger man who has more sense than the older lady.
– the dynamic of large Italian families and the strange impulsive flare of temper in Luca that he explains away as being ‘Italian’ made him seem less than his 29 years.

The most glaring issue however, was the protagonist herself whom I tried hard to like but ended up hating. I thought Stella, whose independent streak and stubborn desire to rely only on herself had long crossed over to obnoxiousness and insensitivity in the way she treats people around her.

Despite her behaviour being often given justification – a tragic childhood with hard knocks along the way – it seemed as though her new life was built on a lie that stretched pretty much the whole book because I found myself waiting for her to break and was disappointed when she hadn’t changed sufficiently for my liking by the end of the book.

two-stars

Our Kind of Love by Victoria Purman

Our Kind of Love by Victoria PurmanOur Kind of Love by Victoria Purman
Series: Boys of Summer #3
Published by Harlequin MIRA on November 1st 2014
Pages: 352
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three-stars

Anna is… unexpected… unbelievable… unstoppable.
And unavailable.
Will what happened in Middle Point stay there?
Dr Anna Morelli rarely makes mistakes. But this one is big, bordering on huge. Somewhere between sunset and sunrise at the simple beachside wedding of two old friends, she’s cried in the ladies bathroom, danced to too many ABBA songs and survived the best, knock-your-socks-off one night stand in recorded history. Has she gone crazy? She’s supposed to be running from the disasters in her life, not creating more.
Award-winning journalist Joe Blake is back in Middle Point to lick his wounds after being dumped by his wife and sacked from his Sydney job on the same day. But after one incredible night with Anna, he finds he’ll need all his investigative skills to figure out why she won’t give in to their sizzling chemistry….


Which is essentially what the feel-good, HEAs all try to portray, and perhaps never more so here, which feels like the wrapping up of an era of sorts after three very rewarding books. Victoria Purman’s love for this fictional slice of South Australia is evident in the description of the lovely Middle Point and constant reminders she puts out of the simple pleasures that the folks there take in the smallest things.

‘Our Kind of Love’ reminds me of the continuing soft spot that I developed long ago for for Ms. Purman’s boys and girls in Middle Point and I’m sorry to see the trilogy come to an end. Joe’s and Anna’s story finally comes together in Purman’s uncomplicated by heartfelt prose, aided in a large part, by Lizzie/Dan and Ry/Julie in the previous 2 books. The path that they take to get together is a long and winding one stretching 300 pages, but an unsurprising one considering the number of issues that they each face.

The same down-to-earth candour and spontaneity that could be found in the previous 2 books are present here and my only complaint is Anna’s fixation on wanting children and preserving the family tradition seemed to override her feelings for Joe. I would appreciated some greater compromise on her part (and less cowardice really) and not have Joe only having the change of heart.

three-stars