About the Book:
A gripping romantic suspense of betrayal, hope and love.
Jessie Hilton is tough. Since the age of fifteen, she has dreamed of being a principal dancer with the Australia Ballet Company. Now at twenty-four, she stands on the brink of fulfilling her dream unaware of a secret buried deep within her.
Ex-military officer, Brad Jordan is rebuilding his life with the help of his boisterous Border collie, Whiskey. After helping Jessie out of a tight spot, he discovers a kindred spirit in the ambitious ballerina.
But with the sudden attention of an unwanted admirer, Jessie’s life begins to spin out of control. Called back to her family home in country New South Wales due to her father’s unforeseen illness, she is torn between career and family. As her dream of being principal dancer fades, her stalker edges ever closer. But there is more to overcome than a lurking psychopath. Can Jessie and Brad confront their own past demons and finally be free?
Retribution is a romantic suspense and not my usual type of reading. Those who follow this blog will note that I don’t read a lot of romance titles, romantic elements yes, but not romance as such. Still, it’s nice to occasionally break with the program and Retribution was a great title to choose for this. I was fairly captivated from the start, intending for this to be my work lunch break book for this week, however, I got so into it that I kept reading at home and now I’ll need to pick another lunch break book because Retribution only lasted for one day.
The things that worked for me with this novel:
The ballet dancing – loved all of this! Jessie’s dedication and drive to fulfill her ultimate goal was admirable. Despite being so single focused, she still came across as someone you would want to hang out with.
The hero – there wasn’t much to not love about BJ. He really was a dream personified, and such a gentleman! He was perfectly suited to Jessie and they complimented each other well.
The atmosphere – Diane’s prose is a delight, her settings were infused with atmosphere, be it in the city or the country. She brought Melbourne to life so well and the Yass countryside just sang from the pages.
Whiskey the dog – I can’t go past a great dog character and Whiskey was such a beautiful, obedient, loyal dog. Plus, I used to have a Border Collie so I have a particular soft spot for that breed. I kept picturing my old dog as Whiskey, so she was always going to be a winner for me.
The things that didn’t work for me with this novel:
The stalker – I don’t feel that adding the POV of the stalker enhanced the story. In my view, it pre-empted the suspense and if I’m completely honest, some of the content in his chapters, particularly towards the end of the novel, made me intensely uncomfortable, but not in a good ‘this book challenged me and I’m enriched by the experience’ kind of way. Even knowing his backstory, I had no sympathy for him, just an unpleasant feeling that made me wish I’d skipped all of his chapters from the beginning of the book.
The deal making between Jessie and her Uncle Frank – I just don’t like the inference that you can pay your way out of crime. And as to his wife’s reaction to his predicament, forgiveness only stretches so far, in my opinion, and there’s a very fine line between forgiveness and condoning.
All the beautiful people – I just don’t like all the good people being beautiful and all the bad, weird or ordinary working folk being ugly. It’s cliché and one of the reasons I don’t read romance much. It was very present in Retribution, particularly with BJ’s circle of friends.
All in all, the things I liked about Retribution more than balanced out those few things that I didn’t, but in the spirit of reviewing honestly, I felt the need to discuss those points above. For those who read a lot of romance and romantic suspense, this is a novel that will appeal to you immensely. There’s plenty of romantic tension and sizzling scenes of anticipation. The issues explored were done so with sensitivity and were clearly well researched. The suspense aspect of the story was well drawn out with a few unexpected twists. There’s plenty going on in Retribution and you’ll find it to be one of those stories that you’re hard pressed to put down.
Thanks is extended to the author for providing me with a copy of Retribution for review.
About the Author:
Award winning author, speaker and presenter, Diane Demetre is a storyteller at heart.
Winner of the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Pro Award 2017 for Best Unpublished Manuscript, Retribution is her first romantic suspense. Diane writes genre-busting stories with a twist, featuring empowered heroines who live life to the fullest on their terms, much like the author herself. She loves to hear from her readers.
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