I love it when a story makes you reflect on life and that’s what Burning Lies, by Helene Young, has done for me. It made me think about lots of issues such as working single mothers, volunteers, undercover police, the danger of fire in rural communities, grandparents parenting their grand children and more. There were so many issues in this novel and any one could have been the basis for a story on its own.
Kaitlyn Scott is trying to be all things to all people and not really succeeding with any of it. She has unbelievable tragedy in her recent past and has fled from Canberra to the Atherton Tablelands in the hope of a fresh start. Her mother Julia and son Daniel are part of the fragile life she has created for herself in the heart of the bush. Kait is able to pretend she has put her past behind her until the community begins to suspect an arsonist is at work on the Tablelands.
Hunky but troubled undercover cop Ryan is sent to investigate and takes up residence on the property next door. He is immediately drawn to Kait and her family and begins to imagine a life where safety doesn’t depend on a lie. But Kait is more involved with the arsonist than she could have predicted and soon all their lives are under threat.
We’re used to damaged heroes in romance, and Ryan is definitely one of them, but damaged heroines aren’t so common. Kaitlyn is one such lady, trying hard to ‘fix’ her life so the pain of the past can’t hurt her again. She’s only half alive as she battles to recover from the past and build a new reality for herself and her son. Guilt is a big motivator for her and she is willing to sacrifice time with her son to battle bushfires in the belief that by doing this she can right the wrongs of her dead husband.
I really came to understand Kait through the book and was fully invested in her future by the end. Ryan was a lovely hero whom I immediately felt empathy for. There were so many small elements that came together to complete the story eg Uncle Jack’s diary. Much thought has gone into this book and the technical details felt so accurate. The ending is bittersweet with sadness and more loss for Kaitlyn.
Ryan and Kait do get their HEA but tempered with the ever present threat of Ryan’s undercover past. Good job Helene! This story is your best yet. You can find more of Helene’s books here: http://www.heleneyoung.com/books/