Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Fido Publishing has graciously provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

She vowed never to return.

To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she'd never do - return to the tiny island hometown where Ryan "West" Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild - much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who's part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn't stop the guilt she feels over her father's drowning death. Now, nine years later, she's obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.

She's a risk he can't take.

West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can't imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she's back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother - his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can't resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?

Saying goodbye for the second time might just destroy them both.

In Too Deep is the first book in the Due South series by Tracey Alvarez.  The story concludes, there are no cliff-hangers, and the book can be read as a stand-alone.

Straight off the bat I loved Piper.  She’s a tough cop, facing her worst nightmare every time she takes part in a search and rescue or recovery dive.  When Piper was a teenager she was best friends with her brother, Ben, and his best friend, West.  She, however, made the mistake of falling for West, and after a few blissful weeks of secret hook-ups, West broke her heart in the worst possible way – telling her he only slept with her because she was convenient and willing, that he wasn’t even attracted to her.  I don’t care what his motivations were (leaving her before she left him, letting her go to follow her dream of becoming a cop in Wellington), once I read this I had a really hard time warming up to West.  Piper and I both learned, however, that it is very hard to stay angry with West.  His treatment of Piper does improve throughout the book, and you truly find yourself rooting for these two.

I didn’t like Piper’s family much at first.  Her brother, Ben, is such an ungrateful jerk, willfully hurting his sister time and time again.  Her sister, Shaye, actually throws things at Piper because she’s mad at her for leaving home.  The thing is Piper has never felt welcome in her own family, always feeling like the outsider; her family don’t try hard to make her feel otherwise, either. On top of that Piper blames herself for her father’s death, and so does Ben.  The author does a really good job of explaining everyone’s motivations, and Piper’s conflict with her family is skilfully handled throughout the book.  It takes several weeks for them to repair their family ties, and this whole thread was very realistic – as was the community’s treatment of Piper.  At first treated very much like an outsider, Piper is gradually reclaimed by the community. 

I was emotionally involved in Piper’s journey right from the start.  Everything she felt, I felt.  Piper's guilt, doubts and fears are all legitimate and the way she handles all of them, and comes to terms with them, leads to wonderful character development.  West also has to face the issues keeping him from the woman he loves, and the author does a good job of seeing both of them through their trials.  As far as romance novels go, this one is very realistic, which makes it that much better.  Everything isn’t perfect, everything doesn’t magically work itself out and a happily-ever-after for Piper and West is never a certainty. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book – especially the ending where everyone finally realises that relationships are give and take.  Piper and West are each willing to make major sacrifices for the other, and everything wraps up as it should.      

Product information:
Title: In Too Deep (Due South Book 1)
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Publisher: Fido Publishing
Year: 2014
Number of pages: 309

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