In Mateland’s romance novel, a kayak trip through the Victoria, Canada, region comes alive through the eyes of two lovers.
Dr. Juli Armstrong needs a break from her high-intensity practice, and what better way than a guided ocean kayak tour? Despite the advice of her best friend, who wants Juli to meet a man, Juli is convinced she’s there for her own enjoyment…until she gets partnered up with Dr. Richard Thompson, an arrogant, overbearing doctor from rural Cortes Island. She wants peace and quiet, not commands from a man who isn’t even her tour guide. However, once others abandon the trip, he actually does become her tour guide. Rich loves his rural island practice, but working constantly for the last several years has taken a toll on his health. He wants a break, and the kayak trip is exactly what he needs. Despite his stress, however, Rich is ready for a relationship. He’s immediately interested in Juli, but it takes a lot of paddling and some natural challenges before he can start to break through her guarded exterior and get to know the woman beneath. Both Juli and Rich are reluctant to trust, but their souls are drawn to each other, pulling them together despite the differences and challenges between them. The relationship between Juli and Rich is believable, fraught with real-life difficulties. Their emotional growth is complex, with the stops and starts of real life as they try to change and evolve. Despite strong characters, the story is slowed by pacing issues. Mateland spends time on mundane things like Juli’s preparation for the trip even though the story doesn’t really begin until she arrives at the docks. The author does a fantastic job bringing the setting to life, providing vivid detail about all aspects of the region. At times, however, the book reads like a tour guide, and even Juli rolls her eyes at Rich’s extensive lectures about the local tides, animals, and nature.
Takes time to gain momentum, but an
enjoyable romantic adventure with a strong conclusion.