Title: Only We Know
Author: Victoria Purman
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Opens: …Calla Maloney just wanted it to stop…
My Thoughts: Victoria Purman is one of a handful of authors who is on my ‘must grab every book she writes’ list, and she did not let me down with ONLY WE KNOW.
The story is set on Kangaroo Island which is off the South Australian Coast and a destination that is still on my wish list. There are two ways onto the island – small plane or ferry. ONLY WE KNOW opens on the ferry with Calla Maloney searching frantically for somewhere to hurl!!! Sam Hunter comes to her assistance and directs her outside where she can do so safely. There is instant awareness between the two, but each has come to the island for a purpose rather than a holiday. Sam comes from Kangaroo Island but is now working as a fireman back in Adelaide; his father lives alone on the family sheep farm and is in the early stages of dementia. Sam’s role is to persuade his father to give up the farm and go into care. Calla is an art teacher who has just come out of a heartbreaking relationship and has arrived to find her missing brother who disappeared the day their father was buried two years earlier; she received a tip indicates that he might be living here now.
Once they set foot on dry land they keep bumping into each other and they instantly both feel strongly attracted to each other, even though they both are recovering from disastrous relationships and are not looking for love. Being a love story you know that something has to bring them together so that they focus on each other – and the trigger in this case is a bad vehicle accident where Sam’s training as a fireman has him using the accident as an excuse to sleep over at Calla’s rental to make sure she is ok. Minds out of the gutter people – this scene is innocent. After this event the story takes off and the ‘love skirmish’ begins as they advance and retreat, attract and repel, and leave you on the edge of the seat wondering how on earth they are ever going to get together.
I was swept up into the story almost immediately and really bonded with the chocolate loving, wine appreciative Calla; she’s my type of girl. She has lost all confidence in herself and is running around keeping everyone else happy and not daring to be happy herself. Sam has his own problems, he has rejected the island but now he is seeing everything anew through Calla as she hones in on perspectives that he has never noticed. What was ‘same old same old’ is now new and fresh.
ONLY WE KNOW is about families and relationships, and how both can either break your heart or be the making of you; pull you down or support you. Both Sam and Calla have broken families and been badly hurt in relationships but they come to learn that you can make your own family to replace a broken one and create new, strong relationships to replace soul destroying ones. They just have to let go of the past and grab the future.
Kangaroo Island is a perfect setting for the deep emotions that unfold during the story – the wildness of hurt and the peacefulness of acceptance matches the wildness of the Island and the peacefulness of the scenery. All of the characters in the book come alive on the pages and are totally believable and I came to care for Sam’s dad quite deeply as he reminded me of my dad in so many ways – even the minor ones – the pub conversations are spot on. The descriptions of the scenery are vivid and the emotions just swirl around your own heart as you read. There is a Happy Ending – romances do – that’s why we love them. But it is a bumpy ride to get there – and tears will be shed, well I shed them anyway.
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A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.
With thanks to Harlequin MIRA Australia and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.