Saturday 16 April 2016

Review ~ Midnight Sky and Palomino Sky by Jan Ruth


Laura Brown, on the surface, seems to have everything she could possibly want, she co-owns Dragon Designs a successful property company with her partner and boyfriend, Simon, and maintains a loving and supportive relationship with her older sister, Maggie and yet, underneath the showy success, Laura's life is shadowed by doubt and indecision. At one of her lowest ebbs, Laura comes into contact with Liz and James Morgan-Jones, the brother and sister who run a local stables, and her commission to renovate a couple of farm cottages is met, at first, with a degree of scepticism from James, who seems averse to any sort of change. 

And as the layers of the story are gradually revealed, what then follows is an intricate story about feelings and about the betrayal of trust which Laura finds to her cost. The story is not just about individuals,  it's also a story about families and their connection with each other, of the secrets that are so often kept to protect each other, and how learning to trust again can be fraught with difficulties and challenges.

As always, in this author's novels, the stunning backdrop of North Wales takes centre stage and becomes so much part of the narrative that you can visualise places with ease. I loved how the story draws you in, and as a reader there is something supremely comforting about characters who soon become as familiar as friends. I stared to really care about what happened to Laura, fell completely in love with the brooding presence of James and really wanted to everything to work out for all of them.

The other characters that flit into and out of the story are a lively bunch and I enjoyed spending time with them, particularly with Jess who made me smile and yet, who also annoyed me to the point of exasperation. The horses, of course, are an absolute dream and add real authenticity to this lovely story.

Midnight Sky was published in 2013 and forms the start of the Midnight Sky Series of novels which will see the progression of the story, and further development of the characters in Palomino Sky.

Palomino Sky


In Palomino Sky, we take up the story where we left off in Midnight Sky. Laura and James are now living together and planning a wedding and yet, whilst they are enjoying being together, there are also troubles looming, and there are huge decisions to be made before they can hope to find happiness and a semblance of peace.

As always, this author’s writing, draws you in, and with wit and warmth takes you completely into a different world. I love the mayhem of the riding stables, the horses are a wonderful addition to the story and the understanding between both the equine and the human world is done so thoughtfully that it is obvious that the author is writing about a subject she understands completely. Those characters we met in Midnight Sky, particularly Maggie and Jess, continue to form a backdrop and provide a different view of life and a fascinating insight into their world. As always, the characters get right into the heart and soul of the novel, and yes, they make you laugh, but I'm afraid this time around, they also make you cry.

On reflection, I think that Palomino Sky is an altogether darker read than Midnight Sky, as there are some tough issues unfolding for both Laura and James, and there's a real sensitive pull to the story which made me quite sad in places. However, ultimately, what shines throughout is the author’s commitment to storytelling, her fine attention to detail and her affinity with both landscape and character which infuses the story with an incredible authenticity. 

I read and review so many books, and it's a real privilege to get to read so many lovely stories in advance of their publication but sometimes it's really comforting to read an author whose books are as familiar to me as cherished friends and in whose company I always feel safe in the knowledge that both she and her characters will never let me down.

Best Read with....a thermos flask of hot tea, liberally spiced with brandy and a slice of Bara Brith thickly spread with salty Welsh butter...

Jan Ruth writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic with a smattering of humour, dogs and horses. Her books often blend rural life with city business, exploring the endless complexities of relationships.

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My thanks to the author for sharing Midnight Sky  and Palomino Sky with me.



  1. As a fellow writer and horse lover/owner, I have treated myself to both Midnight Sky and Palomino Sky. I have yet to read them (trying to re-edit my latest novel is taking some doing!) but I knew I would really enjoy Jan's writing and, having read these reviews, can't wait to start these books. :)

    1. Hi Su, lovely to have you visit us and I'm thrilled that you have been encouraged to give these lovely books a try. I'm sure that you'll love them as much as I did :) Best of luck with your re-editing !!


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