Book Reviews

Echo Point by Virginia Hale at Bella Books

Genre Lesbian / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Kym Palmer on 17-August-2017

Book Blurb

Bron never intended to move back to Australia. Wracked with guilt over her sister Libby’s death, she’s spent three months trying to handle her grief while taking care of Libby’s young daughter, Annie. 

Libby’s best friend Ally never had a chance to say good-bye to her dear friend. When she finally returns home, Ally finds Libby’s family open and welcoming…everyone, that is, except Libby’s sister Bron. 

For her part, Bron can’t fathom why her family is so enamored with Ally—even offering her a job and a place to live—but grudgingly admires the way Ally and Annie get along. 

While Bron contemplates moving Annie to Boston and away from the only home the little girl has ever known, bushfires begin to rage in the nearby mountains, and Bron begins to see that she’s sorely underestimated her sister’s friend. 

Soon Ally’s past and Bron’s future collide—with a heat and wonder that neither of them expected.

Book Review

This is Hale’s debut novel and she’s got a great career ahead of her judging from this one. It’s a story of recovery, redemption, and how you deal with unexpected tragedy that changes the trajectory your life was taking.

Bron’s sister Libby has recently died in a car crash, leaving behind a six-year-old daughter, Annie, whom Bron is now the legal guardian for. Bron is struggling with her grief and her guilt over not being around when Libby died; Bron lives in the US, whereas her family still live in the Blue Mountains of Australia. And this is Bron’s second struggle – does she return to Australia and give Annie a nondisruptive life, or does Bron follow her own path to her dream job at MIT, but in doing so, uproot Annie from the life she’s always known.

Ally was Libby’s best friend, but she’s just come out of prison where she was doing time for arson. Bron has always resented the relationship Ally had with Libby, and resents even more how Annie seems to worship Ally too. Bron and Ally are at loggerheads the minute Ally arrives at Bron’s family’s home on her release on parole – it’s another annoyance for Bron that her mother has agreed to take Ally in and monitor her through her parole. And the issues between Bron and Ally have another intriguing little twist: it’s obvious from early on in the book that Ally is very attracted to Bron…

I read this book in pretty much one sitting, which speaks volumes of firstly, how well it’s written, and secondly, how much the story pulled me in. In terms of quality of writing, Hale’s style is for beautifully written scenes that flow superbly, and with, as far as I could tell, one edit error in the entire book, which is very pleasing.

But it was the story that sucked me in. The book is told entirely from Bron’s point of view, in third person, but Hale’s writing is so good that all of Ally’s emotions come through the pages equally as strongly. The way Hale writes the early stages of their interactions, like two injured animals circling each other, knowing they can help each other but totally wary of asking, is brilliantly done. And Bron’s dawning realization that Ally is not stupid, nor a lifelong criminal but is instead something so much more, is captivating, and Hale paces that learning path for Bron superbly.

The secondary characters are good. Annie is adorable and feisty, and Bron’s mother, Jackie, is there at key moments, giving her take on events. The Australian setting is not overplayed, as if this were some tour of the Blue Mountains, but it’s integral to the family’s life, and it was nice to read about another part of the world.

It’s a great book, definitely not a fluffy romance but the romance it contains is wonderful. Highly recommended.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Bella Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 194 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 17-August-2017
Price $9.99 ebook, $16.95 paperback
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