Author: Helene Young
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: 27th May 2015
Book Source: Penguin Aust & NetGalley
Synopsis: In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is living under an assumed name and rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown's youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and a chance to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark.
After tragedy tore her family apart, Kristy fled to Cooktown with her feisty teenage daughter, Abby. She hoped being part of the small community would help them both heal, but Abby's sports coach is turning out to be a compelling distraction.
When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger in Cooktown. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they'll both lose someone they love.
Helene Young's novels are an addictive mix of nail-biting tension and characters to emotionally invest in. Northern Heat is no exception, I couldn't put it down, finishing in the wee hours ... the sleep deprivation was totally worth it J
Northern Heat is definitely a stand-alone novel but if you've read Safe Harbour you'll recognise Conor as the yachtsman pulled from wild seas. I didn't pick up on that from the synopsis but I was so happy to get more of Conor.
Kristy and Conor are two of my favourite characters; scarred by tragedy but strong, passionate and resilient. They're portrayed with depth and compassion and I was completely pulled in to their lives, cheering them on. Whilst the attraction between Conor and Kristy sparks immediately, I loved seeing their relationship play out naturally over time.
Helene tackles the subject of domestic violence with sensitivity, Kristy and Freya's story rang true for me and I read with my stomach churning and my heart in my mouth. The vivid descriptions of our Australian landscape show respect and appreciation of the harsh beauty and diversity, the challenges faced in remote areas, the weather extremes, from drought to devastating cyclones. Cyclone Kate bearing down on the community of Cooktown heightened an already tense plot ... talk about building to a crescendo.
It's no easy feat to advance a plot at a cracking pace without sacrificing character development and authenticity. Helene Young finds the perfect balance and makes it look effortless. A favourite read this year.
Recommend: In a heartbeat
I was very excited to have Helene Young as a guest on my blog yesterday. Don't forget to check out her wonderful guest post Winds of Change and enter the awesome giveaway!