Guest Review: Sunrise Canyon by Janet Dailey (@mgriffiths163)

Today I pass the blog back over to guest reviewer Mandie who shares her thoughts on the novel ‘Sunrise Canyon‘ by Janet Dailey. This book is set in one of my favourite places on earth, so I’m intrigued see what Mandie thinks…

sunrise-canyonThe Official Book Blurb

In the heart of Arizona’s Sonora Desert, a little girl in need of her father, a woman in need of forgiveness, and a war hero in need of love come together to create a family . . .

Before he left for Afghanistan, Jake O’Reilly had everything–a beautiful wife, a baby on the way, a wonderful life. Three years later, his wife is dead and he is so haunted by his memories of war that he can’t bring himself to go home. But when his wife’s grandfather tracks him down and persuades him to come work on his ranch, where Jake’s daughter is living, he agrees–even though he is reluctant to expose his little girl to the man he’s become.

At Flying Cloud Ranch, his daughter doesn’t recognize the brooding stranger he’s become. But the beauty of the ranch and the immediate connection Jake feels with his wife’s cousin Kira slowly begins to heal his wounds. Though he doesn’t want any complications, he finds himself impossibly drawn to the tough woman who runs a horse therapy program for troubled teens. And as they each begin to imagine a new future, they discover that happily ever after is always within reach–if only you are willing to open your heart . . .

Sunrise Canyon by Janet Dailey is a love story set on a horse ranch in the Arizona Desert. Here you meet Jake O’ Reilly who appeared to have everything he could ever want, a beautiful wife and a baby on the way. On his return from Afghanistan his wife is dead and he is suffering from PTSD that forces him to shut himself away from everyone and everything he knows. Then there is Kira who blames herself for the death of Jake’s wife and has taken on the responsibility of bringing up Jakes daughter Paige.

When Kira’s grandfather tracks Jake down he has been arrested for fighting. He persuades him to return with him to the Flying Cloud ranch where he comes face to face with the past he has been avoiding in the form of his young daughter, and his wife’s cousin who resents his presence and what it could mean for the life she has made.

Kira’s grandfather is taken ill shortly after his arrival and they are forced to work together to keep the business going, something neither of them is too happy about.

Jake comes across as your typical alpha male… someone who refuses help and would rather shut himself away from the world than try to face his problems head on and rely on the help of others. As the story progresses you do see traces of the man he once was as he starts to bond with some of the troubled teens staying at the ranch, finding that his army training can come in handy. You also learn that he may not be such a tough guy with his reaction to snakes and horses.

Kira is a trained psychologist who uses the horses on the ranch to try to help the teenagers and despite her initial feelings about Jake she manages to use some of that training to get through to him during one of his PTSD episodes. From this moment on there is a spark between them that they try to fight. As with all love stories they eventually give in to their feelings and when Paige goes missing they realise that they belong together.

It has been about 15 years since I have read one of Janet Dailey’s books and so the opportunity to pick up Sunrise Canyon was one I could not pass on. Whilst my reading preferences have expanded in that time I wanted to see if I would enjoy the stories as much as I used to. And for the most part I did. The setting of the Arizona Desert gives you a longing to be there and experience life on a ranch and the wide open spaces. Janet Dailey has a way of describing places, people and situations that has you wanting to be a part of it. The only downside for me was that so much time was invested in explaining the back story of the main characters and showing their struggles in the present that Jake and Kira coming together seemed a little bit rushed. One minute they seemed to distrust and dislike each other and the next they were fighting their feelings and deciding to make a life together. This is the only problem with love stories in books and I guess it is also a sign that as I have gotten older that maybe I am a little more cynical than I used to be. That being said I would still recommend this and any of her other books for those who like a bit of romance, rugged men and rugged scenery in their life.

4 stars.


My thanks to NetGalley and publishers Kensington Books for the ARC of the novel. It is available from the following retailers:

Amazon UK


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