This book was my first unsolicited book post (thanks Red Door Books!), so this book review holds a special place in my heart. Lucky it was a good book 😉
The Claim* by David Briggs
When his father dies, leaving behind a legacy of debt and failed businesses, Evan Cadwallader is doubtful that the derelict cottage in the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps will provide a solution but decides to visit anyway. He falls in love with the simple property and its remote location and he tends and repairs it, creating a still oasis away from the loose and shifting life he leads in the world outside. He retreats there every summer, prospecting for gold at the claim that has been left to him by a passing stranger.
Out on his claim on a stormy night his dog goes missing, and, following her frantic barks through a devil of a storm, he finds himself on a gorge edge, halfway down his claim, looking at the body of a young woman. Addie is close to death but Evan carries her to his cottage, and as he nurses, her back to health, gradually pieces together the story of her life. Evan is torn between his growing feelings for Addie and the pull of his claim but as the gold begins to flow, they draw ever closer to each other and for a few glorious weeks they thrive.
However, Evan returns to the cottage one day to find the place ransacked and Addie gone. Frantic with worry he reports the break-in to the police and events spiral out of control. His faith falters and he begins to wonder how well he really knows this mysterious young woman, and whether love and truth have ever truly coexisted within this brief and intense affair.
The entirety of The Claim plays out over one summer. With this and the softness of the author’s writing style, it reminded me somewhat of The Notebook. Except The Claim is a very different type of book. For one, it is certainly not the same type of love story. With Allie and Noah, the love was instant and full of passion. The bond between Evan and Addie grows over time and is somewhat of an awkward love story. It made me feel slightly uncomfortable and I’m not sure how I wanted it to play out. At the same time, both authors did a wonderful job in describing the close relationship between two human beings, leaving a warm tinge on the reader’s heart. It is that which bounds these two books together for me.
But that’s not all that The Claim has to offer. Probably its best feature is the wonderful descriptions of New Zealand’s countryside. In the past, I was guilty in believing that New Zealand was just a smaller Australia (I hang my head in shame). I’ve been learning more about the county lately but nothing has made it come to live more for me than the descriptions in this book.
Also, some other interesting themes run through The Claim besides love. We are also given trust and deceit, which also play into love, of course, but which are also very much tied to the Evan and the time he spends prospecting for gold. Prospecting was another interesting element for me in this book. It’s not something I will ever do but learning about a new topic is always fun.
Overall, this was a great read. I truly enjoyed watching the bond between Evan and Addie develop. You will too. Trust me. All you need to do is pick up a copy of the book.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.