Fleur McDonald has once again managed to capture the essence of the outback in Emerald Springs, a town like so many small towns in the Australian outback; a town where everyone knows you and also knows your business, whether they do or not.
When Amelia Bennett returns to her home town of Emerald Springs she is at first reluctant to become involved in the everyday matters of the town. Her past as young, forgetful, naïve girl still haunts her. Known for her forgetfulness she has still, in the town’s eyes, got to prove she has grown up and is capable of responsibility.
It makes no difference that she is now the bearer of a Degree in Commerce with Honours, she is still Milly, who lost the kids and who is full of good intentions but with her head in the clouds.
She decides to join the local Rodeo Committee as a way of getting back in touch with the town and trying to change people’s ideas of her: and to show them she is now a responsible adult. She is made Treasurer of the Rodeo Committee by default and decides that by working hard and making a good event even better, she can prove her point.
The day of the Rodeo dawns, with this year’s event being the best for many years, thanks to her hard work and marketing efforts. While driving the takings to the bank at the end of the day, she is involved in a smash and grab raid on a dark, deserted stretch of road, her escort having fallen behind in his car.
Badly beaten and traumatised she discovers that both she and boyfriend Paul are initially the main suspects.
The more Amelia tries to work out just what happened and why, and more to the point who in the local community could have done it, the more doubting she becomes of everyone, including Paul, who may have had reason to want the money so badly.
Adelaide Detective Dave Burrows has been sent to the Emerald Springs area to investigate a spat of robberies; this is just one more to be added to his list. Cynical and rebuilding his life after a divorce he calls into the roadhouse only to discover the owner is friend and lover of his youth, Kim, Amelia’s Aunty.
And so the storyline is set to entice the reader into the life of a small town when things, big things, start to go wrong with tragedy and love coming out of the most unlikely circumstances.
A great Sunday afternoon read on the couch!
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin Childrens|