January 19, 2014

Review: In Too Deep. Tracey Alvarez.

Book Cover: In Too Deep
In Too Deep
Tracey Alvarez
Published: Icon Publishing 2014
Pages: 240
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: From author
To save her brother from financial ruin, Piper Harland must do the one thing she swore she’d never do—return to the tiny island home-town where Ryan “West” Westlake crushed her heart. Piper is tough, resilient and a little wild—much like the remote and beautiful Stewart Island where she grew up. As a cop who’s part of the elite New Zealand Police National Dive Squad, bringing the dead back to their families still doesn't stop the guilt she feels over her father’s drowning death. Now nine years later she’s obligated to return to a hostile community as the outsider, and forced to work with the man who was once her best friend and first lover.

West is an Island man, through and through. As owner of the local pub, he lives and breathes the local community, and sure as hell can’t imagine living anywhere else. But most of all he refuses to ever fall for a woman like his flighty mother. He lost Piper once to give her the chance to fulfil her dreams of becoming a cop. But now she’s back for an unexpected six week visit to help her brother—his best mate. Maybe West wants her a little bit, maybe he can’t resist the temptation to tease and touch her, but can he fall in love with such a flight risk?
Saying goodbye the second time might just destroy them both.

My thoughts
Author Tracey Alvarez has succeeded in writing a book that lives and breathes the New Zealand way of life. As an island nation New Zealand is surrounded by water; this novel mainly set in Stewart Island, embodies that outdoor life that many New Zealanders pursue. (Not me, I'm pretty sedate, but I do have men in my family who dive.) Water safety in all its forms is vitally important, this novel highlights the water pursuit of diving, and all its ramifications for adventure and safety. Sometimes I cringe a little when I read a book set in New Zealand, it doesn't feel real to me. However In Too Deep has it right, I believe. It reminds me a little of the Essie Summers books I enjoyed in my youth .... although its far more sensual, hot and sexy! So rugby, whale beaching, Stewart Island foibles, fake New Zealand accents, all played their part in providing the real deal. Alongside the important issue of water safety, another issue explored in this novel is that of guilt. How do you cope with it? How well do you communicate? What are the secrets family members keep from each other? What do we fail to do and why? How big an impact does that have on family members down through the years. The plot is well-developed and there is always plenty happening. The ending is satisfying; finally righting many misconceptions, misunderstandings and bringing a resolution for the guilt experienced by more than one character. The book is very well written - at times I found there was just too many details for my taste - I just wanted the story to move along, the dialogue to keep the movement flowing. A minor point though and only personal opinion. As the story opens Piper is a gutsy woman, while riddled with guilt, hurt by blame, she has made something of herself. A very traumatic experience has helped her to reach out and be there for others. Called home she begins a new part of her life journey, a journey that could lead her to repeating past mistakes or.... finding something new and important. When we meet West we find a tough male, with a definite tender spot, and able to be counted on when needed. Note how he treats Piper when she first returns, yet how he prepares a place for her to sleep! He too must struggle with what has gone on in the past, face what is important to him and reach for it with both hands. With a cast of characters that have stories of their own to be told this is a promising start for d├ębut author Tracey Alvarez.
4 stars


  1. This one sounds really good. And as a diver and water person myself, those details would be very important to me.

  2. My middle dd loves romance; this one sounds right up her alley! Thanks for the review!


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