20/02/2006

A Question of Trust

In general I like Alexandra Raife's novels. They're generally set in small villages in Scotland, amongst mostly wealthy, highly educated landowners. This one is no exception, but although the two main characters were quite well-drawn, and the settings as lovely as ever, I found the plot rather predictable and implausible. Philippa, a lovely girl with a rather painful past, has settled back amongst her friends to build a new life. Jon, a handsome but bad-tempered hunk with an army background, has arrived in the area to recuperate after something stressful.

Naturally they meet, they're mutually attracted, and conflict ensues. It felt like a classic Mills-and-Boon storyline, and unfortunately it didn't really deviate from that formula. There's a gradual discovery of the painful past as it affected both of them, and a few pleasant interludes with minor characters, but by-and-large the entire book is taken up with misunderstandings and yet more conflict. While some of it is believable, other incidents seem very contrived, and the inevitable resolution at the end relies mostly on luck.

I did also find the huge cast of minor characters a bit overwhelming and confusing. Some of them came into other books by this author - as is her general tendency - but as I hadn't read most of them for some years, I barely remembered them.

Not a bad book - I kept reading, and there were some moving moments as the story progressed. But not one of the author's best.

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