01 Sep '12

A Vicky Review – Sylvan God by Katherine Spencer (3 Stars)

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Neena, known to her friends as Newt, has moved to Maine to start a new life after a disastrous end to a relationship that cost her a lot not only emotionally but financially and landed her in court.  So to start afresh she moved to a house on the waterfront of a small town and is fixing it up herself.


When Jake is walking through the forest one day the last thing he expected to see was a gorgeous woman singing and dancing along to the radio and finds he’s immediately taken with her. He decides to introduce himself and offers to help her with the work in the house at a rate that even the landlord would agree to. He is totally taken off guard when she tells him that she has brought the house and so abruptly leaves.

When Jake returns that evening to apologise and explain why he left so sharply Newt learns that his father had built the house and Jake was born there and he had been saving for years to buy the house back from his step-father. He explains his childhood and understanding how much he really wants the house, Newt offers to swap houses with him. Jake refuses and insists that helping her will be a labour of love and will help keep the costs down for her. 

Newt and Jake end up spending an awful lot of time together and their relationship develops quickly, so when Jake realises that she has no hot water at her house he asks her to move in with him while they continue to renovate the property, making it easier to get some of the larger jobs completed.

Everything is going fantastically for them until Newt receives a letter to say that her visa application has been denied and she is unable to stay longer than her allotted 90 days. Will Jake and Newt be able to find a solution and stay together or will Newt have to go back to England without Jake?

I really liked Newt, she seemed down to earth and a bit of a free spirit. She was also quite feisty and hadn’t let her change in circumstance affect her as a person, it’s just made it easier for her to do the things that she wanted to do. I found it surprising that she was able to trust Jake so quickly with her past relationship problems but this also showed that she was a very rational person.  Her reaction to Jake when he explained about the house highlighted how understanding and compassionate she was.

Jake is a bit of a recluse who has been angry at the residents of his home town for years. He’s a wilderness man, totally at home in the outdoors. His reclusive nature has made him bad at communicating with people but when he first speaks to Newt he is very honest and finds that it becomes easier to be open with her about everything including his feelings.

I think Jake’s true nature worked well with Newt as she was able to draw him out and make him more sociable while he provided Newt with a stability that she needed. They made a really sweet couple and although their declarations of love seemed to come a bit soon for me, I did like that they felt that sure of each other.

The story itself felt a little bulked out with the sex and also some of the plot elements. I get that new couples are normally at it like bunnies but sometimes you have to just say enough is enough surely! The story would have flowed better for me if the plot had been more concise and some of the sex cut out, and I don’t often say that as, come on, who doesn’t like a good sex scene?!? Generally I found the conversations to be very formal but towards the last 3rd of the book I found it felt more like reading instructions than conversation.

Overall I did enjoy the story but felt it would have worked better for me if it was more concise and if I experienced the story rather than being told it.

Nix

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