Review: Backwoods by Jill Sorenson

BackwoodsBook info:

Title: Backwoods
Author: Jill Sorenson
Publisher: HQN
Pub date: May 27, 2014

Book blurb:

The more you trust, the more you risk…

When plans for a wilderness retreat with her teenage daughter Brooke go awry, Abby Hammond reluctantly pairs up with Brooke’s stepbrother and his dad, Nathan Strom, for the weeklong trek. The only thing Abby has in common with the bad-boy former pro athlete is that their exes cheated with each other. That…and a visceral attraction that’s growing more complicated with every step through the picturesque woods.

Nathan’s wild-card reputation lost him his career and his family. After years of regret, he’s ready to fight for what truly matters—and that includes Abby’s hard-won trust. When Brooke goes missing, Nathan knows he’s her best and only hope of rescue. But the deeper into the rugged mountains they go, the more dangerous the territory will prove—for their safety and for their hearts.

My thoughts:

I really liked the premise of this book. I loved the second chance at love that the two main characters got, and they were such likeable characters, I wanted it all to end well for them. Nathan, as a recovering alcoholic, was really well done. The issues and problems they had with their children and their failed marriages rang true, and the secondary plot with Abby’s daughter Brooke, and Nathan’s son, Theo, and their relationship, was also well-drawn.

The suspense part of things was good, with some of the scenes being really edge-of-the-seat tense. It was reminiscent of the movie Deliverance, which I think was intentional, and was carried off well.

I would have liked more dialogue, though, and going deeper into the characters’ heads. There was a lot of introspection and explaining what happened in the past, especially in the beginning, but I was still hooked enough to keep going.

There were two things that didn’t work for me. One was an intimate scene between the two main characters while they were out in the open, with nowhere to run and no weapon, both too tired and / or injured to easily run away, while they knew they could be discovered by the bad guy at any time. They were only three minutes from their camp, at some hot springs, and it would have been the obvious place for the bad guy to come looking for them. I thought it unlikely they’d have made themselves even more vulnerable, especially with their children in danger.

The second is difficult to mention without giving away spoilers, but Brooke chooses to do something near the end of the book, hoping to save someone’s life, which I thought was unlikely as well. She is alone, facing someone with a gun, and her choice of how to get out of the situation was like nails down a chalkboard to me. She made herself way more vulnerable and I couldn’t see her doing that, certainly not after what she’d just been through.

But those gripes aside, I read this in one sitting, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reviewed by: Tara

I really liked this book.

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