Peter McAra is a fine writer. His prose flows crisp and clear, and his characters are real and endearing. This story is about a children’s author Erin and a greenie lawyer Hamish. Erin’s grandmother has left her her property in a sleepy seaside town. Erin goes to the property with the idea of working out what needs to be done in order to prepare it for sale. Erin doesn’t want to sell the old cottage, but she has to because her mother needs a heart transplant and this is the only way they can pay for it.
However, she hadn’t bet on meeting someone like Hamish. As you’d expect on a romance, Hamish is a handsome devil, and he has a dark secret that means that Erin had best keep her desires in check. The third wheel in the relationship stakes here is Erin’s ex, a rather sleazy money hungry chap who won’t accept that their relationship in OVER. His persistence is creepy, and later in the book even hints of danger. He also has clients, a Japanese corporation, that want to wood-chip the area behind the beachside town, something that Hamish and other green-minded people in the community will battle with every breath they have. When it appears to Hamish that Todd’s relationship with Erin isn’t over, it also makes Erin’s purpose in the town a little suspicious, thus throwing another spanner in the romantic works.
But, despite a few rocky bits, the relationship between Hamish and Erin grows until Erin realises that he is the kind of man that she would be happy to spend the rest of her life with. She can even see them having babies, but if she sells her grandmother’s house, she’ll probably lose Hamish.
The big question is, how will they work it out? Is there any hope of them getting together when the need for money stands in the way? This skilful author finds a way and brings the book to a very satisfactory, if somewhat cliched, ending – but it is a romance. All up, this is a light, entertaining read with a green theme.
I was surprised to find a couple of issues with the editing. As a reviewer for the Awesome Indies, I am often asking independent authors to correct their usage of various elements of grammar and punctuation before their book is accepted for inclusion on the Awesome Indies list, but that a mainstream publisher is guilty of the same faults is of concern to those of us who are trying to maintain standards. The editor for this book needs to check the rules for use of ellipses and em-dashes, because they have used them incorrectly.
Granted there are different conventions for ellipses internationally, but the Australian style guide says, ‘Always separate the ellipsis and any preceding or following text with a space’. This book has no space at either end.
About the em dash, the style guide says, ‘Insert a hairline space before and after an em dash if your publishing process supports it, otherwise omit spaces altogether either side of an em dash.’ The digital format does not permit hairline spaces, so there should be no gap either side. As it is, there is a full space either side of the em dashes. Both these editing errors look pretty tacky. As a message to the publisher, the book loses a star for this oversight. Sorry Peter, this is no reflection on your lovely book.
Of course, this doesn’t alter the fact that this is an excellent book, but neither does that fact excuse the publisher for poor editing.
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