Book Review: The Vet From Snowy River by Stella Quinn
By turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, I absolutely loved this Australian rural romance about a mid-thirties couple both trailing a lot of baggage in their wake finding happiness together in the small (fictional) town of Hanrahan in the Snowy Mountains. Josh is the vet of the title and I’m here to tell you; if you’re wary about vets in fiction because there are occasionally surprisingly gory and confronting scenes, you’re quite safe here. While the facts of life for a vet are that they have to make hard decisions on a daily basis, everything is tastefully handled off the page. SImilarly the sex scenes in the book are closed door; they happen but it’s fade to black and nothing is explicit.
Josh has quite a past, having left Hanrahan after something of a cloud after getting a trainee teacher pregnant right after he graduated high school - and never setting the record straight on when their relationship actually started. He worked construction for a decade to make ends meet before finally getting to go to vet school, so now in his mid-thirties he’s only just qualified and is late on starting his career. Good thing his little sister (also a vet) has invited him to come partner with her in her practice. Josh’s teenage daughter Poppy also makes an appearance, and it’s interesting to watch her navigate the town where she’s infamous for merely having been born. I find myself hoping Stella Quinn gets to write more books set in Hanrahan; Josh’s sister Hannah definitely deserves a romance (and there’s the setup for one in her acrimonious relationship with a local horse stud owner) but I’d like to see Poppy get her own happily ever after somewhere down the road too.
Vera is our heroine, opening up a new cafe in town, and despite Josh’s troubles, Vera’s the one whose problems are very real and present, as she’s facing a court case and potential jail time after just trying to expose poor treatment of her aunt in a nursing home. Aunt Jill has dementia and is fading, and Vera does have to deal with her loss here. Vera thinks she’s alone but discovers her ‘found family’ in a gorgeous cast of characters from Hanrahan who are absolutely not about to let her struggle.
I loved everything about this. I’d have liked more time for Josh and Vera to explore their romance, but both of them have such a lot going on it’s hard to carve out time for each other or even themselves… which honestly, feels very reflective of real life and real relationships! The town of Hanrahan with its heritage feel is beautifully brought to life on the page and I definitely hope we get to spend more time there in future books. Five stars for a really great read which handles sensitive topics with a delicate touch.