Book Reviews

Half Moon Bay by Helene Young

I have signed up this year for the Australian Women Writers Challenge – a challenge that encourages us all to read and review books written by Australian women authors.  Doing this allows, bloggers like myself, to raise awareness of excellent women writers and encourages others to read those books.

The first book I have chosen to review is by an author I have not read before – Helene Young.  I have had this book on my ‘to read’ list for almost 18 months before finally finding it at my local library.  (I’m not buying any books this year as part of my savings plan)


Half Moon Bay by Helene Young is part thriller, part mystery and part romance.
Half Moon Bay by Helene Young is part thriller, part mystery and part romance.

Ellie Wilding has been running from her past, but when the residents of Half Moon Bay call for help she knows it’s finally time to return home. As an international photojournalist, she’s used to violence in war zones, but she’s shocked when it erupts in the sleepy hamlet on the north coast of New South Wales, threatening all she holds dear.

Battle-weary Nicholas Lawson walked away from his military career leaving unfinished business. In a coastal backwater, that decision returns to haunt him. He remembers all too vividly his last lethal assignment in Afghanistan when Ellie’s sister, Nina, was shot and killed. Ellie’s been in his dreams ever since, even if she doesn’t remember him…

As a storm rages and flood waters rise, Ellie struggles to save her community. But who can she trust? Nick Lawson, the dangerously attractive stranger with secrets, or an old friend who’s never let her down?

A compelling story of danger and desire.



Ellie Wilding is a journalist whose sister was kidnapped by insurgents in Afghanistan and died trying to escape.  Ellie is still carrying the guilt of her death with her when she returns to her hometown of Half Moon Bay to help the town fight against an unwanted development.  Half Moon Bay is a fictional town on the New South Wales mid north coast somewhere around the Yamba/Angourie area, both of which I am familiar with, so I had no trouble imagining what the area described in the book looked like.

This is what I imagine the beach at Half Moon Bay would like.
This is what I imagine the beach at Half Moon Bay would like.

On arriving back in town she meets Nicholas Lawson, who is working for the developers. Ellie takes an instant dislike to him personally, despite an obvious physical attraction on both their sides.

Throw in some corrupt town officials, some drug smugglers and a best friend who may or may not be all that he seems and you have all the ingredients of a great mystery that keeps you guessing as to who the good guys are and who the bad guys are right until the final chapter.

Helene Young has skillfully woven together a main plot along with several sub-plots that explore the relationship that Ellie had with her sister, and also the relationship she has with the townspeople and how much those people respect her achievements during her career.  As her father is absent for most of the book, other characters keep an eye on her, with one or two of the cheekier ladies suggesting that her and the very attractive Nick Lawson would make a great couple.

All in all this is a really enjoyable read, in a genre that I always enjoy.  I love reading Australian authors, but I especially enjoy reading how they describe the Australian countryside, or coastline as is the case in this book.  When I am familiar with the area that a book is set in,  it makes me feel as if I am part of the story.

Half Moon Bay by Helene Young

Published by Penguin Books

First Published 2013

Available from Dymocks Books

Love Me



***This post contains an Affiliate Link which means I will receive a small commission from purchasing this book***


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