book reviews

Book Review: The Crossroads

crossroads pamela cook

The Crossroads
: Pamela Cook
Published: 2016
Publisher: Hachette Australia
My Rating: 4.5/5

One family. Three women. Will the lies they tell and the secrets they hid lead to more heartache or will fate bring them together before it’s too late?
A story of deceit, betrayal and love that proves in the end you can choose your family.

When city girl Faith Montgomery heads to the outback Queensland town of Birralong after a life-altering discovery, she finds herself way in over her head. Mother and daughter locals, Rosie O’Shea and Stephanie Bailey, each have their own issues that they are secretly dealing with in the drought stricken town. Now, with Faith thrown into the mix, the three women are about to watch their lives unravel in the most unexpected way.

This is my first Pamela Cook rural fiction, and I loved it! Rural fiction is another new genre to me, and one that is fast becoming a favourite. As with most genres, stigma and unfounded impressions can taint your perception. And as with most genres, it’s not until you begin reading with them, that you find most impressions are totally incorrect.

What I’m loving about rural fiction is not only that it is relatable in many ways for me living in a region area, but that the characters are beautifully developed. They are real, flawed, and experiencing the challenges and dramas of life just as anyone else. They are characters that could be your next door neighbour, school teacher, or local shop keeper. And I imagine for those city dwellers who love rural fiction, it’s the draw of a different lifestyle – but again with characters that are real and relatable.

Pamela Cook has created three characters that couldn’t be more different if they tried, each with their own quirks, flaws, and distinct voices. But they are all likable! As a writer, I know how difficult it is to create such characters, so am totally envious that Pamela does it with ease. And it’s not only the three main characters, Pamela has gone to great lengths to have her secondary characters be as believable and fully formed as Faith, Rosie and Stephanie. Each character adds a different and enjoyable element to the story, in turn adding to the fibre of the overall plot.

Without going into the specifics of the story, the plot is well thought out. Pamela expertly weaves each characters journey into the storyline. Tension, humour, drama, and emotion fill every page, all which creates a puzzle and you’ll find yourself wondering how it will all fit back together. Of course as with life, it doesn’t fit back together perfectly, but the ending is more than satisfying.

Pamela’s research is evident throughout the book. The fictional town of Birralong is loosely based on the township of Hughenden in Queensland which Pamela visited to help her flesh out the story. She vivaciously captures the outback town and it’s outlying areas in striking visuals. She also respectfully does justice to the issues such as drought and depression that often go hand in hand in these areas of Australia.

The Crossroads is my first Pamela Cook novel, but if it’s anything to go by, I know it won’t be my last.

The Crossroads is available in all good bookstores or you can order online at Booktopia.