My rating: 4 of 5 stars
From ‘The Beautiful Game’ in Lucky to Blood Sports in Cash, Garrett Leigh’s new release takes readers through a tumultuous narrative which may be confusing to those not aware of all the ins and outs of Fox Hunting and the saboteurs that come along hand in hand.
This isn’t typical romance genre fare, there’s a deeper understanding to this story of how far under a saboteur can get involved in trying to disrupt a hunt and the unusual lengths some hunts go to try and get round the present ban on hunting foxes with packs of more than two hounds.
The romance in this is also a more complex one as it is so intricately entwined with that of the book’s message about blood sports.
It fluctuates between intense passion and understanding to dislocation and mistrust and all points in between and I honestly don’t think this will be for everyone.
My own opinion is that is exceptionally detailed, an incredibly strong narrative with great pacing and the characters are compelling but I’m not actually sure if I can say it’s a ‘sit back and chill’ read.
I have mixed feelings about the behaviour of hunt saboteurs in the same way as I have similar feelings about the hunts themselves. I’m not sure that two wrongs ever make a right and illegal activity shouldn’t be condoned on either side.
I think in this instance there is clearly a right and a wrong side to be on however, as it befits the storyline being told and it is told well.
Both Cash and Rae are engaging and equally frustrating men, with their own foibles and unique stubbornness and they play well against the other when they’re on the same page but also when they’re on the outs.
There’s wonderful extended cameos from Dom and Lucky, who are on hand throughout to offer up their own brand of unasked for help and advice but also unwavering loyalty and friendship.
There’s a fully fleshed out set of secondary characters and a clever plot which unveils itself steadily throughout.
So, while I haven’t 5*-ed this one, that’s more down to my own experiences growing up in a Yorkshire market town surrounded by active farming communities and my journalism history of being an agricultural correspondent and rural affairs specialist.
I perhaps have a slightly different view than most of the fox as a creature capable of devastating destruction as well as the beautiful subject of much wildlife photography. Not that I think chasing them to exhaustion with a pack of hounds is the solution either mind.
This is a brilliantly drawn narrative but focused on a subject I’m not truly at ease with and it’s certainly coloured my own enjoyment.
Ultimately I think the message about illegal hunting practices outweighed the romance just a little bit for me to thoroughly enjoy the book as a whole fully.
However, we do also get a sneak peek into book three of the series which is beyond tempting and I can’t wait to find out more about how that will play out.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.