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13 March 2017

Review: 'Smoke' by Catherine McKenzie (2015)

After a decadelong career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in her former life for a quieter one with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce and a fire in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed. 
For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who has lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation. 
As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved. 
I love the feeling of having a completely new novel written by an author whose writing you just really love, waiting for you to pick it up and give it a read. Over the past few years I have had the chance to read several of author Catherine McKenzie’s novels, such as ‘Forgotten’ and ‘Spin’, which I both really enjoyed. I fell in love with Catherine McKenzie’s writing straight away; her captivating storytelling never feels to pull me in, so I was definitely curious when I was asked to review another one of her books, namely ‘Smoke’. I don’t know whether this is really the kind of read I would have picked up based only on the book description, but with this author I think I would have picked it up anyway, no matter the description… Fingers crossed it would live up to my expectations! 
Elizabeth and her husband Ben have been together for a long time, living in the town of Nelson in the Rockies, but things haven’t been great between them for quite a while now. Both of them see no other way out than to get a divorce, but their plans are put on hold when a raging forest fire suddenly threatens their town. With a former career within the world of wildfires, Elizabeth is involved in finding out what started this fire: can it be stopped on time, was it perhaps started intentionally? Elizabeth’s former friend Mindy is also dealing with how the forest fire is affecting her life; initially she is determined to help out a man who needs it, but then certain allegations result in her and her family getting even more involved in the fire than she ever expected. 
‘Smoke’ is another great and convincing novel by author Catherine McKenzie; an author whose books I hope to be able to pick up for years to come. The story focuses on female characters Elizabeth and Mindy, who used to be good friends but are now no longer speaking but both dealing with some pretty big things going on in their lives. The different storylines are all linked to a big forest fire that is threatening the town of Nelson, and the questions is what is going to happen to the town and what is the story behind this fire? I really enjoyed the different elements that were brought together in the book; there was a touch of mystery/detective, but also a focus on relationships, family, friends, and a touch of romance. 
It’s clear author Catherine McKenzie did quite a bit of research before writing this book; there are a lot of details focusing on the forest fire, and everything that goes with it. She also created some realistic leading ladies in the form of Elizabeth and Mindy; whose stories both intrigued me and I was really keen to just keep on reading and see what would eventually happen. I have to admit this wasn’t my favourite Catherine McKenzie novel, but ‘Smoke’ was still a convincing and entertaining read and one I can definitely recommend to women’s fiction fans out there, and I’m personally already looking forward to what this author is going to treat us to next.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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