For a professional writer, I don’t read nearly enough. Not because I don’t love it. Actually, it’s the opposite. I love it too much. When I’m absorbed in a good book, I don’t care if your miniature schnauzer is having an epileptic episode next to me.
So, A Fractured Land actually presented the perfect situation to me. A book that I need to proofread. See? I’m working. Busy, busy. Sigh. What helped a tractor-load, though, was how much I enjoyed this book.
Briefly (far too brief to do it justice, in fact), Lexi’s heart has been broken, she’s been plunged into the deep end of starting her life over, and she decides to do this by working at a charming guest house in the Karoo. Ideally, she would slowly find her feet and make a new life for herself with nothing too eventful getting in the way. Until the tough Texan with just the right amount of charm and angst arrives to spy out the land for fracking. But, this isn’t actually a boy-meets-girl story. There are thrills, twists, triangles and eerie finds that keep you flipping the pages long after the schnauzer goes to the big farm. I mean, literally, there are dead bodies. And surprise affairs. This isn’t your average love story. Well, not unless you’ve made some terrible relationship choices. And, as you plough your way through the romance and drama, you’ll quickly find that you just can’t anticipate the twist. I’m smiling just thinking about it.
It is Melissa A Volker‘s first published novel, but I was very happy to hear that her second, Shadow Flicker, is hot on its heels. Her genre of choice is ‘environmental romance’. I love how specific it is, but how much scope it has. In A Fractured Land, she shows how the world of fracking precious land is exposed, or rather proposed, to the locals. She reveals how syntax can mislead a community, how the industry can dominate some of the sleepiest and most rural parts of South Africa, and how it can affect the lives and relationships of everyone that lives and works there. But, mostly, she manages to capture the essence of her protagonists in a very real, tangible way. I felt like I knew Carter and Lexi. I felt like I could invite them over and talk about “that whole fracking thing”. That’s a pretty special skill to have as a writer.
As a proofreader, the quality of Melissa’s writing was refreshing. She made it so easy to do, thanks to her beautiful, easy style. I promise that I don’t get any commission for saying that! I mean it. This is a fab book for holiday or bedtime reading because, while it is easy and flows well, it is intriguing and interesting too.