Unlucky-in-love zoologist Zoe King has given up on men. Moving from Sydney to take up an exciting new role in marine science in the small sugar town of Kiawa is a welcome fresh start. Zoe is immediately charmed by the region’s beauty – by its rivers and rainforests, and by its vast cane fields, sweeping from the foothills down to the rocky coral coast. And also by its people – its farmers and fishermen, unhurried and down to earth, proud of their traditions.
Her work at the Reef Centre provides all the passion she needs and Zoe finds a friend in Bridget, the centre’s director. The last thing she wants is to fall for her boss’s boyfriend, cane king Quinn Cooper, so she refuses to acknowledge the attraction between them – even to herself. But things aren’t quite adding up at the Reef Centre and when animals on the reef begin to sicken and die, Zoe’s personal and professional worlds collide. She faces a terrible choice. Will protecting the reef mean betraying the man she loves?
Jennifer Scoullar has a gift; she is able to weave the most extraordinarily beautiful, inspiring stories about Australia’s natural environment, ecology, wild life and conservation into a modern romance. How unique! Ms Scoullar writes with verve and such radiant colours I could almost see myself underwater exploring the Great Barrier Reef, her images are so vivid and engaging:
“Black fins cut the surface and a vast shadow passed underneath them…Manta Rays, five in all caught in a courtship train of magnificent grace…The larger female leading the dance was five metres across, wingtip to wingtip…The eager suitors mirrored the female’s every move, performing a series of backward rolls, looking for all the world as if they had been choreographed…they reappeared like magic, slicing back into the water many metres from where they had left it, flapping wings like giant birds as they flew away….”
Manta Rays, turtles, dolphins, the colourful fish of the Barrier Reef, even the humble octopus all burst into life on these pages. All descriptions poignant, magnificent, captivating. And by a wonderful coincidence when we went on a walk today along the banks of the Blackwood River (Augusta Western Australia) we came across a playful pod of about five dolphins, close to shore, who delighted us with a display of graceful flips and dives as they powered through the water. What beautiful wild mammals! What a special book.