2016 Reviews · Australian

Book review: The Horseman by Charlotte Nash


Book blurb:

Craig Munroe is the kind of man legends are written about.Escape to the high country in this passionate love story of a young doctor and a legendary horseman whose lives become inextricably linked, by the bestselling author of RYDERS RIDGE, Charlotte Nash

It’s been fifteen years since Dr Peta Woodward, born into a horse-breeding dynasty, fled the family stud in the wake of a deadly tragedy that split her family apart. Carrying wounds that have never truly healed, Peta has focused on helping others. But when an injury during a solo trip through the Australian high country leaves her stranded, the man who comes to her rescue is Craig Munroe, a born and bred high-country horseman ,and the kind of man legends are written about.

Stuck in the tiny town of Yarraman Falls while she recovers, Peta is surrounded by prying eyes and heartbreaking reminders of all she has lost. But while she resolves to leave as soon as she can, fate has other ideas . . .

4.5 stars

The Horseman marks Aussie author Charlotte Nash’s fourth novel. It is safe to say I’m a fan of Nash’s work, as I have read Nash’s entire back catalogue.  I was keen to read the latest release by Charlotte Nash as soon as it was released. I am happy to report that The Horseman is now my favourite novel from Charlotte Nash. The Horseman is a stirring read, which will appeal to romantics, fans of Australian based rural fiction and those who enjoy a good dose of medical romance

The Horseman is focussed on the story of a fiercely independent young doctor named Peta Woodward. After a personal tragedy, Peta decides to embark on a solo hike across the high country region in Victoria. Peta has turned to hiking as a form of therapy, hoping that it will ease a tough decision that lies ahead of her.  Unfortunately for Peta, an accident occurs that renders her unable to continue her trek. Peta is extremely lucky when Craig Monroe, a local horse whisperer of sorts, is making tracks in the same area as Peta and finds her injured. Craig insists Peta abandon her trek and follow him back to the local town of Yarraman Falls to receive treatment for her injury. After much persuasion, Peta reluctantly follows Craig back to Yarraman Falls. Despite her reservations, Peta finds the close-knit town of Yarraman Falls welcoming, providing her with the healing she needs both physically and emotionally. Peta even begins to turn her thoughts to love and a long term stay in the town. However, Peta’s determination to complete her trek may sway her decision to stay put in Yarraman Falls.

What a truly beautiful and emotional journey I was taken on through my experience of reading The Horseman. What makes this book extra special are the characters that fill Nash’s pages. Main characters Peta and Craig, along with an excellent ensemble of secondary characters, are well formed by Nash. Nash shapes her characters in such a way that they offer a good dose of realism, connectivity and appeal. Peta and Craig are characters who stay imprinted on the mind long after reading the last pages of The Horseman. I was completely engrossed with the emotional journey both Craig and Peta take during the novel. Craig in particular is a highly memorable and likeable leading man, the relationship he holds with his horses was very touching. Peta is a character who is surrounded by her own fair share of grief, sadness and hardship. Peta’s personal journey and eventual love story held my interest for the entirety of the novel.  Secondary characters supplement the story perfectly, interacting with main characters Craig and Peta well. The casting of the villain of the story was a good choice of Nash’s behalf, adding a sense of intrigue to this mainly medical/rural drama.  As in Nash’s previous novels, her employ of the Australian landscape, in this instance, the Victorian high country, is top notch.  Readers will enjoy, as I did, being taken away by the descriptions depicting the sheer beauty and often brutal isolation of this part of Australia. Touching on some essential rural based medical themes is explored well by Nash. Inserting Peta as a doctor provides Nash with the opportunity to highlight medical based rural issues. I feel this is an important area of contention that all residents in non rural areas should be made aware of.

The Horseman offers the reader a wonderful blend memorable characters, an appealing storyline, a picturesque rural setting, with a good exploration of issues at the core of country communities. Take a chance on this lovely book, you will not be disappointed.

The Horseman was published in 2016 by Hachette Australia https://www.hachette.com.au/books/detail.page?isbn=9780733634246






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