Where We Are – Annie McDonald

3.5* – To work out her grief, Mia Jarvis keeps on the move as an itinerant herding dog trainer. Her first encounter with her temporary neighbour isn’t exactly pleasant. Sid Harris, an art gallery curator, is back on her father’s ranch to give him a hand after he got injured. Not one to open up easily in normal circumstances, she’s confronted to problems on all sides: someone is stealing her father’s cattle and she has to put out a metaphorical fire at work. Hence the grumpiness. Mia, though, touched something in her, and Sid can’t stay away from her.

This could qualify as an enemies-to-lovers romance if the enemies part lasted for more than half a second. I’ll blame it on lust but the characters went too quickly from annoyed at each other to fascinated. Once it’s on, however, the chemistry between them is more than plausible, and the sexy scenes are for the most part excellent. They’re very well-written, as is the whole novel. I didn’t notice the writing most of the time then suddenly a couple of sentences would catch my attention just by being lovely.

I also loved that the story is set in Canada and the way the author described the scenery. The chain of events, however, is confusing: why is Mia suddenly interested in the springs? Where did that come from? Did I miss something? Most of Where We Are‘s flaws are classic debut novel, when the author tries to cram too many things in just one book. There aren’t any loose ends but some of the events clearly only existed to maintain some kind of tension, which wasn’t necessary and messes with the pace. Which is too bad as, when I wasn’t trying to figure out whether I should worry about what was about to happen to the characters or just go with the flow, I really enjoyed the journey.

While this book didn’t transport me as much as I had hoped, I’m looking forward the author’s next novels. There’s real promise in the way she writes.

3 stars

Where We Are @ Bold Strokes Books

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