Orphaned at 13, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for a while. Not that she minds - she has her work as a vet, her friends, and most days that is enough. But then she's sent to a small town on the south coast of NSW 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 the members of what is left of her dysfunctional family - her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and Hazel, her mother's sister 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, and a personal, crisis. 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 Emma'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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This is smart writing from Pamela Cook, who manages to tug at the heart strings, while keeping the brain fully engaged. - Book Birdy
A strong heroine, cheeky hero, a close-knit country community and a hint of danger and suspense makes Close to Home an engaging and easy read. I'd recommend it. - Australian Bookshelf