On Christmas Day Sarah packs a picnic for one and takes her horse Tansy up into the mountains for a day of solitude. After being caught in an extreme weather event she seeks refuge in a former bushranger’s hut. Out from the mist emerges Heath. He says he is injured, lost and in need of shelter but how true is his story?
First Impressions: I liked the opening pages and wondered why Sarah was fleeing. I could just imagine how terrifying it would have been to be trapped in the storm.
Highlights: There is a lot to like about this story, particularly the mystery about Heath. However I would have liked even more mystery, tension and intrigue and less about the relationship between the two. In my mind Sarah needed to be a more unreliable narrator and Heath needed to be more dubious. I would have also liked to see the motif of the bushranger’s hut used more. I was surprised by the final section (in a good way!) and this was my favourite part of the book.
If I was an editor: I would easily see the rural and farming elements of Honey Brown’s life in the details of this story and guess that she has a great love of the bush and a particular fondness for horses. I suspect this novel is quite close to her heart. Unfortunately I don’t have this same background so found it hard to really get into all the details, particularly about Sarah’s relationship to her horse Tansy although I did respect it.
Overall: I now doubt I would survive for long if lost in the bush during an extreme weather event.
Dark Horse: 3.5 stars