(3.5 / 5)
It should be an easy decision for Lexi Taylor. The American needs a place to stay, and she needs people to fill her newly-opened guest house. The problem is, Carter O’Brien isn’t just your average tourist, coming to the Karoo Basin in South Africa to espy a black rhino or take in the natural beauty on a walking trail. He fracks gas for a living, and is looking to do so in Lexi’s metaphorical (and literal) back yard. To the residents of Lexi’s modest town, he is an imminent threat to their way of life and to their most precious resource—water.
Despite pressure from the community, Lexi allows him to stay at Apricot Farm. She has no way of knowing that in doing so, Carter will unearth deep, dark secrets that are even more dangerous to Lexi and those she holds dear than the drilling they fear. A decade-old murder and the lengths to which it is covered up will rock everyone in Graaff-Reinet to their core.
As a first novel, Fractured Land is imperfect but promising. Melissa writes with a descriptive, appealing voice that is sure to get clearer and more intriguing with every book. She has an obvious love of her native South Africa; it is evident in Fractured Land when she is describing the unique, stark beauty of that corner of our planet. Her main characters are likable and engaging. She does a lovely job of creating a relationship between Lexi and Carter that is realistic, yet still plucks those romantic heart strings. The plot culminates in an interesting and unexpected climax—one that is sure to take you by surprise. All in all, Melissa A. Volker delivers an entertaining story of romance and suspense that will please her current fans and garner her new ones.