Bex 'n' Books's Reviews > Dawn at Birch Crossing

Dawn at Birch Crossing by Stephanie Rowe
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May 31, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: earc-review
Read in May, 2012

ARC Review


‘Dawn at Birch Crossing’ is contemporary romance at its best.

Visualise that checklist; you know the imaginary one that we all have whilst reading. The one that you’re metaphorically ticking off to see if it meets your literary standards! The one that, by the end of the novel, you mull over to see whether or not the book that you’ve spent the last few hours, days, or even weeks reading, has been worth your while. Of course you know the list that I’m refering to. Well, throw the list away. You will not need it with ‘Dawn at Birch Crossing’; it does everything it says on the tin and more!

Okay, enough of the clichés, but surely you get the idea!

Immediately, Stephanie Rowe throws her readers into the thick of drama. We are greeted with fairly complex, yet deeply human and therefore ‘normal’ characters. Both of the characters, who are quickly established as the two protagonists, Griffin and Clare, clearly are individuals with ‘history’, and what we’re interested in, considering the genre, is the romantic history and baggage attached to both of them.

Both Griffin and Clare are extremely likeable individuals (you’ll soon be cheering for them and be swooning over Griffin) with deeply embedded morals, values, ambitions and even flaws. It is the development of these characters, the level of depth and detail that is used to tease out their characteristics, that makes this book so very enjoyable and powerful to read. Yes, this is a contemporary romance, but there’s a hell of a lot going on in this novel, by no means is it all fun, laughter and kisses, even though there’s plenty of that too!

The path that both Griffin and Clare find themselves on is unexpected for them both. In many ways, their lives are turned upside down, which inevitably creates amazing tension in the novel. We never fully know how things are going to turn out. I think this is a testament to Stephanie Rowe’s skill and talent, one that deserves applause; her ability to keep the reader second, third and even fourth guessing was pretty phenomenal. I was amazed by her adeptness to successfully fool me, yes frustrated too, but a little in awe of her ability to craft and shape her novel so very successfully.

Stephanie Rowe very effectively paints a realistic world for Griffin and Clare: a world where emotions, desires and ambitions are carefully considered and crafted; they drive the characters along in their journeys. There was not a moment that I wasn’t completely engrossed in the novel, the story, the characters. I very audibly cheered for them and did not shed just one tear, nope, rather bucket fulls. My heart at times broke for them. The narrative and dialogue surrounding these ‘tender’ moments in particular were so beautifully crafted, poetic even; it was this that had me blubbering. And of course on the flip side of the heart-wrenching events, was the amazing, witty humour.

There are numerous, superbly developed and highly likeable secondary characters in this novel, who really helped to raise the humour to the next level. Yes, there were a few quiet giggles, then the huge stomach hugging laughter, one unfortunately, at the most inopportune time, was when I was sipping my tea!

If it’s not obvious by now, then just to be clear, I love this book! I would most definitely and happily reread, which is an absolute first for me in this genre.

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