Where We Belong by Fox BrisonWhere We Belong by Fox Brison is a beguiling tale of personal discovery and how stepping out of your comfort zone can not only be illuminating, but can also lead to true happiness.

Life for Brianna McAteer is anything but exciting.  Plodding along in bland mediocrity, she seldom challenges herself or the status quo.  That is, until her safe and secure life begins to come crashing down around her in one painful blow after another.  Her Father’s construction company, where Brianna works as a project manager, succumbs to bankruptcy leaving her unemployed and forcing her parents to move.  It is the first domino to fall, beginning the chain reaction of tribulations that alter the course of her life.  When a mysterious job opportunity arises in Ireland, Brianna jumps at the chance hoping it will lead to answers to the burning new questions that are suddenly filling her life.    

Elisha Callery is the visionary and benefactor behind the “Free to Dream” project, a large camp for disadvantaged children.  She has donated the land for the camp and will be working closely with Brianna on the project.  The two women quickly form a strong connection.  Between working together on the project and trying to solve the mysteries of Brianna’s past, the attraction between them becomes too strong to deny.

Sometimes it takes a major catastrophe to shake us out our complacency.  But when one more devastating event threatens the happiness Brianna has finally embraced, will she have the strength to carry on?

The Characters

Brison brings us some extremely likeable characters in this book.  Brianna McAteer, gave up on her dreams of performing with the violin long ago.  Living with a man she does not love and following a career path that is second fiddle to her dreams, she is stuck in a rut until her safe world comes crashing down around her.  Once she makes the decision to finally take a risk, she embarks on a wonderful journey of self-discovery and I loved watching her finally come to realize who she really is and take the leap towards happiness.

I adored Elisha Callery.  She perfectly embodies the sweet small-town butch in her mannerisms and attitudes.  Her vision and local expertise make her the perfect partner for Brianna, and her charm doesn’t hurt either.  She is entirely swoon worthy.  It was adorable watching her trying to navigate working so closely with Brianna with her brewing attraction to the woman.  I was really rooting for her to finally find happiness.

There is also a wonderful smattering of secondary characters that add many more layers to the story.  Elisha’s family explains much about her own character and behaviour (I confess I wanted to have words with her sister more than once!).  Her neighbors and the other townsfolk add humour and a genuine atmosphere and Brianna’s friend Sam is supportive and insightful like a best friend should be.

The Writing Style

The book is reasonably well paced and has a perfect mix of drama, sweetness and humour.  The tale alters between the perspectives of both Brianna and Elisha which gives wonderful insight into their characters and highlights the depths of emotions they develop for one another beautifully.  There is quite a bit of local terminology interspersed throughout the book as well, which gives it a great authenticity.  While I had to look up a few meanings, I found it to be a lovely way to immerse myself in the story even further.

The Pros

In a stroke of fate, I actually read this book while flying to Ireland and couldn’t wait to arrive and be swept away by the breathtaking landscapes Brison describes.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  Brison’s descriptions of the Irish landscape are stunning and hold true in real life!   I also find the characters to be wonderfully authentic and sweet and the evolution of their relationship is so touching.  It is impossible not to be drawn to them.  Oh, and there is a delightfully steamy scene involving a private violin solo that I really enjoyed.

The Cons

The plot is somewhat predictable at times, but it is still enjoyable and the characters are so well written that I enjoyed the story nonetheless.

The Conclusion

Where We Belong is a charming tale of one woman’s journey to find herself and ends up finding so much more.  The characters are real, flawed and the budding romance between Brianna and Elisha is absolutely adorable.  It is a quick and pleasurable read with a bit of mystery and a lot of attraction, and the piece de resistance is the majestic Irish landscape that serves as the perfect backdrop for the story. 

Excerpt from Where We Belong by Fox Brison

My life was turning into a soap opera – although even the Brannings in a Christmas episode of Eastenders would struggle to compete with the level of drama I was experiencing.  I needed time and space to process and then hopefully I could make some sense of it all.

I turned the key in the ignition of my Suzuki Swift, then slumped over the steering wheel, my arms wrapped around it like it was an anchor; I listened to the engine smoothly tick over.  The sound was normal, expected and surprisingly comforting.  I don’t know how long it took me to regain some poise, but it was long enough for the heaters to begin warming the car.

Well this isn’t getting you anywhere, Brianna.  Straightening my back, I placed the car into gear (both actions painfully deliberate) and drove.  I didn’t want to go home, yet had no idea where else to go.

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Bits and Bobs

  • Publisher: Bold Fox Publishing

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