Beyond Sunrise, by Candice Proctor

>> Sunday, February 22, 2004

Looking for somthing a bit different, I tried Beyond Sunrise, by Candice Proctor, a new-to-me author.

Ever since she can remember, India McKnight has craved adventure, dreaming of lands past the horizon. Following her calling, she becomes a travel writer, a vocation that takes her far and wide. All the while, she vows never to risk her freedom by falling in love. But when she sails to the exotic and unknown regions of the South Pacific, a rugged man brave enough to be her guide just may be the one who can lay claim to her heart.

Having turned his back on the “civilized” world long ago, Jack Ryder has been living in seclusion, hiding from the pain and betrayal buried in his past. When the beautiful, hotheaded Scotswoman arrives at his hut looking for a guide, he agrees to take her to the island of Takaku—despite the challenge—just to prove that her stubborn theories about native life are wrong. But when their journey turns dangerous, their fates become forever entwined. Forced to rely on each other for their very survival, they soon discover that passion and even deeper peril await them . . . just beyond the sunrise.
It was, indeed, something different, and I very much enjoyed it. A B+.

Beyond Sunrise was very much an adventure story, and while I might have liked a few more quiet moments, I actually had fun reading about India and Jack's adventures. This is not usually my cup of tea, but the very original setting and the good writing kept me interested. Being chased by cannibals through a tropical island is so much more entertaining to read than running from drug lords! ;-)

But it was India and Jack and their relationship that made this book so good. They were lovely together, and it was fun to see them banter the way through the South Pacific.

I really enjoyed the characters themselves, especially India. I really admired her reasons for living the life she'd chosen, and her motivations to become a travel writer, and I appreciated the fact that she wasn't a virgin (very refreshing!). This was a woman who had strong ideas about marriage, about how it wasn't an institution tailored to women's advantage. In this she was like many other romance heroines, but, unlike, most of them, she didn't simply forget about this the minute the man she loves proposed.

As for Jack, he's more a typical tortured hero, but I loved his wicked sense of humour and the way he genuinely cared about the world around him and its people.

In spite of this book being full of humourous touches, it touches upon certain themes that are not exactly light fare. What was happening at that time in that part of the world, with the native people and cultures being practically obliterated was an awful thing, and the author brings this to life perfectly, and without preaching.

All in all, a wonderfully satisfying book.


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