Snowy River Man by Lizzy Chandler

In brief: Katrina and Jack had one night together, years ago. But when Katrina sees a missing boy in a dream, she knows she has to help find him. Reunited with Jack, sparks fly and the lies of the past come to the surface. (Read more here).

The good: A gripping story with suspense, love, lies and a touch of the paranormal.

The not-so-good: Would have love to read just a little more – sequel please?

Why I chose it: Possibly the nicest review request I’ve ever had from Lizzy, thanks to her and Escape Publishing for the copy.

Year: 2015

Pages: 165 (eARC)

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Setting: New South Wales high country, Australia

My rating: 8 out of 10

Snowy River Man is an incredible debut from Lizzy Chandler, combining a number of elements in this romantic story. There’s multiple suspense elements, short term lovers reunited, a secret baby plus family mysteries to unravel. Plus the heroine has visions that help her to find lost people – what more could you ask for in this action packed story?

The story begins with a little boy, Nick, going missing at a rodeo in the high country of New South Wales. That night, a woman far away in Sydney has a dream about a lost boy and knows that she must help with the search. When Katrina Delaney arrives, she is shocked to find that Nick’s father is Jack Fairley, who she had a one night stand with several years ago. The encounter ended badly when Katrina found that Jack was engaged to another woman and they haven’t seen each other since. But even though Nick is found unscathed, Katrina (or ‘Katina’ as Nick calls her) will have a number of demons to deal with. There’s the aftermath of that night with Jack and working out where the pair stand now, with Jack a widower and interested in rekindling his time with Katrina. Katrina also must deal with family mysteries being brought to the fore and how they link in with the increasing number of visions she’s having.

There is a lot of plot packed into Snowy River Man, which made for a fast, page-turning read. Sometimes things were a little shorter than in a full length novel, but that suited me as I was snatching chapters briefly before bed (and in the intermission of Michael Palin’s recent Australian tour – yes, it’s that compulsive a read). I liked not having to wait too long for a mystery to be solved and then having the next problem presented to me as the reader. There are loads of issues tackled (such as multiple episodes of infidelity), but Lizzy Chandler handles them with a careful, delicate touch.

Katrina would have to be one of the most original heroines I’ve read in recent years. Not only is she a kind, loving woman but she’s come through some very difficult times that even she won’t realise the full extent of until the end of the story. There’s a part where Jack gives her some incredible news that flies in the face of everything she’s thought about someone in her life and her reaction is very true and understandable. It’s the strength and grace afterwards that really highlighted her character to me – this lady is an extremely good woman. Nick was incredibly cute, but not in an over the top way. As for Jack, he didn’t shine quite as brightly for me but he’s a solid hero with all the characteristics needed to make him likeable. Murray Jack was an interesting character too and I’d love to see him reappear in another story.

An engaging debut, Lizzy Chandler’s Snowy River Man redefines the elements of contemporary romance and makes it into an original, spellbinding story.

I also want to give a shout out to Lizzy, who sent me possibly the nicest review request I’ve received at Sam Still Reading. I’m still blown away that she read my review policy and tailored her email to me! Thanks Lizzy and please keep writing!

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