Georgia Rose, A Single Step, 2014
The first instalment into The Grayson Trilogy, A Single Step introduces us to Emma Grayson, a divorced mother who is still reeling from losing her daughter some years prior, as she is hired to look after horses and a stable on a large farm. Emma’s character early on fully establishes herself as a loner, or someone seeking isolation, and she often rebuffs attempts from people to assist her in her duties. The most frustrating to her is Trent, who continuously insists she has help because she’s a woman (and we learn he wanted a man to get the job).
The story builds characters really well, fully establishing Emma’s early on before witnessing her transformation in her new life. Other characters do not get such an arc, as they’re already firmly established on the land at the start, but Trent and a few others have secrets and histories, and the unravelling of these is nicely paced out to build those characters without taking away from Emma’s arc. And Georgia’s writing style is very clear and very detailed; with a lot of characters and a lot of horse-related terminology it can be easy to confuse the reader but Georgia uses her knowledge of horses in a way that’s helpful to those without that knowledge but without being condescending with it, too. She guides us through the story very effectively and her storytelling is wonderful.
One slight downside to this novel, however, is the overall plot, and the rushed-ness of the ending. Emma’s ex, Alex, has a weird arc in that it’s firmly established their marriage is over before he turns up at the farm out of nowhere and begs for her to take him back, after she says no he’s completely gone again. It doesn’t really strengthen her new relationship, so it seemed out of nowhere. And the ending, while exciting and had a decent build-up throughout the story, did seem a bit rushed. Small incidents were dotted about here and there which nicely pieced together a puzzle, but it ended all too quickly. Emma getting threats was fun and exciting but it could have stretched a little bit further to show her weakening due to the stress, but instead the culprit shows themselves and a small scuffle later and that’s the main part over with. Considering everything else in this novel is afforded time, it’s a little shame that felt rushed.
Georgia Rose’s writing style, though, and her character and world creation are brilliant, and by the end you can feel truly invested in the characters and each of them stands out as different from the others we come across. Emma takes on a brilliant arc and her romance comes across as natural and authentic. The only downside is the ending’s pacing, but overall it’s still a lovely novel to sit down and read, and a lovely introduction into The Grayson Trilogy.
Writing: * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Plot: * *
Presentation: * * *
Overall: * * * ¼