Release Date: February 19th, 2021
Daynah Walsh’s ticket to her dream job at Metropolitan magazine has just been handed to her—but before she can move into that corner office, she must take on an assignment in the small town of Sugarloaf Ridge and expose the town’s longest-held secret. What became of the baby that was abandoned on the steps of the bakery almost twenty-five years ago?
Daynah expects easy answers and to gain some editorial experience. What she doesn’t expect is a growing friendship with cattle station manager Finn McAllister and the tight-knit community to welcome her like a member of their family.
The problem is, no one will talk.
Three years ago, Finn McAllister was dumped at the altar. Every waking moment since he’s devoted to the family property, Banridge Station.
When the new contract editor of The Song arrives, she’s like a brilliant ray of sunshine. Daynah awakens his heart as she brings life and hope to the town. Finn’s always been one to fall fast, and before too long, he’s done for.
The problem is, she’s asking too many questions.
Will Daynah break the story? Will Finn and the town finally be the key to healing the scars of her past?
“We’re fireworks, you and me.”
Sugarloaf Ridge Secrets is a small town romance with a little bit of suspense and a whole lot of awesomeness. Plus, it’s set in a small town in Australia! It’s so rare to read romances set in Australia and that alone made me really excited to read this book.
As the title suggests, there are secrets in Sugarloaf Ridge and Dayna Walsh is being sent undercover to get these secrets for the newspaper she works with. It’s a little shady, but a whole lot of fun! A baby was abandoned in front of a bakery 25 years ago and nobody knows anything about this baby or what happened to him. But Dayna’s editor gives her the one job of uncovering the truth. So off she goes, transplanting herself into this small town in New South Wales where she gets herself a job with the local paper called The Song. Dayna’s mission is to just uncover the truth, find out information that nobody else has been able to uncover and move back to Sydney once she has everything for her big story. She’s also just ended her engagement to a man she now knows was the wrong choice for her, so there’s a lot that Dayna is putting aside to focus on the now.
Except Sugarloaf Ridge is an incredible town with a good group of people who look out for each other and care for each other and always ensure that everyone is safe. Dayna finds herself sucked into their magic and she starts to forget why she’s there. The community treats her like their own, they all wrap her up in their arms and their excitement and Dayna starts to fall in love with the place, with the sense of life and with the people. Especially when she meets Finn McAllister – cowboy, local favourite and all round stud.
Dayna knows that she’s got to get to the bottom of this Bakery Boy story, but she doesn’t know where to start. Her friendship with people in town turns into her helping them improve their business and finding herself. Of course, like all small towns with secrets, nobody wants to tell Dayna about Bakery Boy much less acknowledge that they know what she’s going on about.
“You burst into town like sunlight breakin’ out over the ridge in the peak of summer. Bright-eyed and wearing that yellow outfit that looked more like a shirt than a dress.”
Dayna and Finn’s romance is a slow burn. There’s a lot of subtle flirting and cutesy nicknames, but it takes them a while to really burn through those feelings. And honestly, I loved it. He’s such an amazing character. He’s got no airs about himself, he doesn’t behave like he’s some kind of hotshot. Finn is just your regular small town boy who’s had his heart broken by a city girl in the past and is just trying to work through it. Finn’s also the kind of guy that everyone relies on and he’s never complaining about it. Honestly, there’s just so much to love about Finn. His feelings for Dayna are also quite something to experience.
It is a love story, yes. But Sugarloaf Ridge Secrets is also about found families and finding yourself. I absolutely loved just how much depth and feelings I experienced as I was reading Dayna interacting with different members of the town. There are secrets and then there are secrets and boy, you’re in for a treat. I spent the whole book speculating about this Bakery Boy and till the twist and the reveal, I didn’t even consider that route! I’m not going to give anything else away, because it was such a wonderful surprise and a wonderful turn for the story to take too.
Jennifer Ryder is a new-to-me author, but also an author that I absolutely adore right now. This story was so well crafted. I wish I could see her plot board or sheet to connect all the dots and keep track of all these wonderful characters. When you read the book, you’re transported to Sugarloaf Ridge, to the cabin Dayna is staying in, to the experience of being in a small town where everyone knows who you are. It’s the most incredible feeling and everyone needs to experience it!
Thanks to Jennifer Ryder and Wildfire Marketing Solutions for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.