Lawson’s Bend Review

Title: Lawson’s Bend
Author: Nicole Hurley-Moore
Published: February 2019
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Readership: Adult
Genre: Fiction
Rating: ★★★★
RRP: $29.99 AUD

I received a copy of Lawson’s Bend from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In the hot summer of 2008, Henny Bolton loses her best friend on a night they should have been celebrating their futures. It’s a loss about which she remains grief-stricken.

Right after the accident, Henny flees the small country town and true to her word, she’s not been back.

Stephen Drake never left Lawson’s Bend. He once had ambitions for a different life but staying close to family became more important after that tragic night.

But when Henny’s mother dies suddenly in a fall near the old quarry, and Henny is forced to return to Lawson’s Bend, it’s apparent that questions need to be asked. Was it really an accident?

Her plan was to get out of town again as quickly as possible. But then there is Stephen . . .

I really enjoy Nicole Hurley-Moore’s writing, and so when I see a new book being released, I pretty much send off an email going I’d love to read this book without actually reading the synopsis. So, going in to this book I thought it would be a light, easy read with some romance – perfect Summertime reading, right?

Serves me right for not paying closer attention.

Henny is returning to Lawson’s Bend after many years away. She left after high school, and after the death of her best friend on a fateful night after the end of school. She’s clearly traumatised by the event, and yet has to return home when her mother dies suddenly, and it’s suddenly clear to her that there are unanswered questions about both events.

This had all the feelings of a cozy-mystery/sort of a thriller with all the heart of an Australian country romance book. It’s honestly a great combination (even if I wasn’t expecting it) and Lawson’s Bend itself is a huge character in the story.

Henny is a wonderful female protagonist; she understands that she’s spent her life running away from what happened in her home town, and yet when she comes back, she can’t look away from all the questions that come up as the town remembers an event from ten years ago. She’s determined to find the answers – if nothing else, for her own piece of mind – and finds herself becoming embroiled in a secret that’s been kept for a decade.

Her developing relationship with Stephen Drake is, for the most part, secondary to the mystery, and Stephen himself isn’t sure if Henny is grasping at straws over the strange happenings or if there might be something more to the situation. Stephen has a very loyal personality – he stayed in town to be with his family, and never ended up leaving.

I love how Hurley-Moore incorporated the past and present timelines to tell the story, slowly revealing more about the events that took place the night everything changed for Henny, Stephen and their friends. It built suspense in all the right places and kept the pace of the story just right.

This was a great read, and I highly recommend it.

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