Julia Finch is running away, having hopped in her car and headed nowhere in particular after the meeting with her birth parents went about as badly as it could have. She has no plans to stop, let alone in a tiny Colorado town, but her car takes the agenda out of Julia’s hands when it breaks down.
She can’t afford to pay for her classic car’s repairs, so Julia has no choice but to accept an offer to become a ranch hand. When she gets to the Bennett Ranch, the owner is none too pleased to see that her lead rancher has hired someone who has zero experience with horses, can’t ride, and doesn’t even have the right jeans or boots.
Elena Bennett is as beautiful as she is cold, and Julia is annoyed at how attracted she is to her. But the longer she stays, the more the ranch feels like home and its people (and horses) feel like family. Could it really be time for Julia to toss out her running shoes?
I think this is the first time I’ve seen a book with two ice queens and it totally worked for me! Julia and Elena are both guarded, prickly, and not particularly likeable, and the reasons why are understandable. And yet, they manage to slowly thaw each other so they can build something beautiful.
The whole story is told from Julia’s perspective, so we see her emotional journey the most clearly. Even still, we see Elena shift and grow too because her behaviour changes in ways that Julia and the others around them notice too. Although I would love to have seen Elena’s perspective, I don’t feel cheated because Zak did a great job of helping us get to know her through Julia.
The Writing Style
I enjoyed Zak’s first book, so I knew I’d be in for a great romance and I was right! Breaking Down Her Walls is super easy to read and I had a hard time putting it down.
It’s also worth noting that this story is a love letter to Colorado. If strong setting is at all important to you, then you’ll love this one.
I listened to this book eight or nine months after I read it for the first time and I was totally captivated by the narration. Despite already knowing what was going to happen, I found myself making excuses to listen to it because Erin Zak’s words and Brittni Pope’s performance were such a perfect match. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I especially recommend you pick it up in audio because it’s such a great way to experience this story and these character
Great character arcs, a nice slow burn to the romance, and a satisfying story overall.
Keep an eye on Erin Zak. She really grew as a writer between her first book and this one, so I think we have some amazing books in our future. If you like contemporary romances, ice queens, ranchers, or age gap pairings, you’ll want to pick up Breaking Down Her Walls.
Excerpt from Breaking Down Her Walls by Erin Zak
“Insulting me isn’t exactly the way to get me to work hard.” Julia is getting mad. Who does this guy think he is?
“Well, I reckon you don’t have much of a choice. Am I right?” He studies Julia. “Unless you’re curious?”
“The only thing I’m curious about is why you’re helping me.”
“Listen here.” Elijah folds his arms across his chest. He looks as if he’s kind, but his demeanor is completely the opposite. “Cut the chitchat, okay? I need the help. And I thought you were a hard worker?”
“Then? What’s the problem?”
“You want that car back, don’t you?”
“Of course I do. I just don’t know if this is the job for me.”
“Because all you’re good at is running away?” Elijah drops his words and then turns to walk toward the barn, motioning for Julia to follow him.
“I’m not a runaway,” Julia shouts, rushing up to help him slide the large barn door open. “Quit acting like you know anything about me.”
“Okay, then,” Elijah says over his shoulder.
“I’m too old to be a friggin’ runaway.”
“You sure shouldn’t be in this town if you’re trying to hide from someone.”
“I’m not hiding.” She’s defiant in her tone and body, but her heart is racing because she is hiding, and she is running, and goddammit if she’s going to start telling people here why. No one needs to know, especially this random cowboy in this random town. And he doesn’t really want to know the sad, stupid details of her sad, stupid life. No one does.
Elijah stops what he’s doing and looks over at her. He smiles a crooked little grin and asks, “Ain’t ya, though?”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635553697
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
- Narrator: Brittni Pope
- Erin Zak online
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