- Author: Jan Ruth
- January 2016 by Celtic Connections
- Category: Contemporary Fiction, Drama
A golden promise for the future in a lonely palomino mare, but life deals a cruel hand for James and Laura.
James is still running from the past after the loss of his wife, and a devastating accident forces him to face his final demons, but at what cost? Laura is forced deeper into his rural world – a life she once despised – but discovers empathy and hope in the palomino mare she calls Song.
Repercussions abound for Maggie too, when the full extent of her daughter’s dangerous liaison comes to light, leaving the entire family in turmoil. Will James and Laura ever find a golden future, or has life dealt too vicious a blow?
Palomino Sky is the sequel to the wonderful Midnight Sky, where we first meet Laura and James and their siblings, and are drawn into their complicated family lives. James and Laura, both recovering from momentous and traumatic life events, are finding solace in each other, although they are not helped by Laura’s wilful and temperamental teenage niece causing no end of trouble.
This story opens with Laura and James engaged and about to be married. James is in the process of the selling the farmhouse, cottages and land as well as dissolving his equestrian business. He is hoping a move to somewhere new, without memories, will finally lay the ghost of his late wife to rest, allowing him to fully move on with his life and finally let go of Carys. For all his issues and his dark moodiness, James is just as appealing and irresistible as in the previous book.
Through the rain-streaked window she watched him moving the horses onto fresh pasture, his movements deft and practiced as they waited respectfully for him to open the gate and file through. His ease around them and their mutual body language seemed like a special pact. She watched him working troubled horses a lot, those abused frightened souls of the equine world. Although a lot of his work worried her, on a deeper level it drew her in to some of those dark places she knew existed in his mind. At other times, his quiet intensity reminded her of their private time together, when words were irrelevant and love had the power to change everything.
Maggie, Laura’s sister, who now runs a B&B with her husband is trying to get used to having her eldest daughter, Jess, back home under less than encouraging circumstances. After Jess’s unhealthy crush on James had caused numerous difficulties, Laura helped her find a house share in Chester for which she stood guarantor. Not only is Jess close-mouthed about her reasons for returning home, she is affecting her parents’ business with her challenging behaviour and attitude. Jess is in a deeply troubling situation which eventually impacts on everyone, devastatingly so on James and by default, Laura.
This is a brilliant, if heart breaking, sequel. The characterisation, writing and dramatic descriptions of Snowdonia are excellent and evocative. There are several well paced threads running through which present unexpected twists and for some, a terrible tragedy to get to grips with and attempt to overcome.
As with all Jan Ruth’s books, the ones I’ve read anyway, the narrative is full of emotion and very moving. The characters, their relationships, the ups and downs and different aspects are finely drawn and realistic, the dialogue easy and believable. The protagonists, both male and female, are attractive and charismatic with underlying personal difficulties so that nothing is straightforward, which makes for a strong and compelling read.
This book is reviewed for Rosie Amber‘s book review team and is based on a digital copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About Jan Ruth
Jan Ruth writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic with a generous helping of humour, horses and dogs. Her books blend the serenities of rural life with the headaches of city business, exploring the endless complexities of relationships.
The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day struggles to make sense of anything numerical.
Her first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.
Many years later Jan’s second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. It didn’t fall into a specific category and, narrated mostly from the male viewpoint, it was considered out of genre for most publishers and too much of a risk.
Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing; opening up the market for readers to decide the fate of those previously spurned novels. Jan went on to successfully publish several works of fiction and short story collections and after a brief partnership with Access Press in 2015, has returned to the freedom of independent publishing.