Title: Home to Whiskey Creek (Whiskey Creek #4)
Author: Brenda Novak
Release Date: 1 August 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page count: 400 pages
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Links: Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads
Adelaide Davies had only just returned to Whiskey Creek when someone kidnapped her and dumped her in the mine she was gang-raped in fifteen years ago. Fortunately Noah Rackham was riding his bike nearby and rescues her. He can’t understand why she is so unwilling to report the crime and why she recoils from him. Adelaide never reported the crime and can’t bear to admit to Noah, the guy she used to have a crush on at school, that his twin brother was one of the men who raped her. The fact that Cody died shortly after the incident, fuelled her guilt. Novak has given us quite an unusual romance that is handled very sensitively.
Addy avoided Whiskey Creek ever since she graduated but with her grandmother ailing, she has come back to take care of her and try to convince her to sell up. Addy has tried to deal with the past but it has affected her relationships, particularly the one with her ex-husband, and isolated her from a town she was fond of. Addy’s decision not to report the rape initially was obviously a difficult one. She showed enormous courage coming back to a town where she would have to face these men, most of whom have become successful members of the community. I would have liked her to take a stand earlier but I can understand why she didn’t.
Addy is determined not to fall in love with Noah in order to protect him and his family from Cody’s actions. Taking things at face value, it is difficult to understand how her crush on Noah could have lasted for so long and then how easily Noah could have fallen for her in turn. If on the other hand, you see Addy’s idealised view of him pre-rape as the last time she felt free with her emotions, then it starts to make sense. I would have liked to see more of what adult Addy saw in adult Noah though. For Noah, I think her outright rejection is what initially spurs him on. He’s not used to women not falling at his feet.
Noah had an awful lot of maturing to do in this novel and it took until the end of the novel for me to warm to him. In the past he favoured meaningless relationships but after meeting Addy, he finds he really wants to get to know her. He hates when his friends tease him for sleeping around but they seem to be taking their cues from him – he feels the need to share all his shenanigans. Noah is very caring and supportive of Addy but I wished he could have extended the same courtesy towards his best friend, Baxter. Baxter finally had the courage to admit he was gay and Noah didn’t deal with it as well as could have been hoped. He got there in the end but that was more to do with Baxter’s generosity of spirit than anything else.
The plot has lots of twists and turns. We don’t know until the end the identity of her kidnapper or whether that is the same person who has been leaving her threatening messages. Getting inside the heads of the attackers wasn’t enjoyable but the lengths they were willing to go to heightened the suspense. The secondary plot with Baxter followed a fairly well-worn path which was a bit of a shame. At least the friends were censure-free this time and went out of their way to be supportive of each other.
I really enjoyed this novel even though I had a few quibbles with it. You can read this as a standalone but there are lots of references to past events.
Others in the series: