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Pamela Cook

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Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for half her life. Not that she minds – she has her work as a vet, her friends, and most days that’s enough. But then she’s sent to a small town on the south coast of New South Wales to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus. Travelling back, she will find herself torn between the haunting memories of her past and her dedication to the job.

Returning to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family – her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and Hazel, her aunt, who allowed her abusive husband to spend all of Charlie’s inheritance.

When the local vet dies and more horses are taken ill, Charlie is caught in the centre of a professional crisis, and a personal one. Working with local Park Ranger Joel Drummond, Charlie finds herself drawn not only to Joel but to his eccentric mother, siblings and sister-in-law. Through them, she begins to understand what it means to be part of a family.

As the panic around Hendra increases, and Charlie’s cousin’s husband starts to make threats, tensions in the country town rise. While trying to remain professionally distant, Charlie must decide whether to run away from her family or step up and allow them back in. But can she reconcile with the past and find herself a new future in the town she left long ago?

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