Nearing the end of a suspended jail sentence should unlock a brighter future for CJ Davis, only the chip on his shoulder is as hard to shift as his bad reputation. Born into a family of career criminals who live down Davis Road, an address the cops have dubbed Davis Row, his name alone is like a rap sheet that makes optimism impossible.
Brand-new parole officer Noah Huxley is determined to see the good in men like CJ. After all, he knows firsthand that bad things can happen to good people. His colleagues mock his doe-eyed optimism, but Noah soon sees CJ’s bad attitude and bravado are weapons he uses to keep people at a distance.
Both men know one simple mistake can change a life forever. At first glance, they might seem to be polar opposites. Yet underneath, they’re not that different at all.
I love to travel Down Under with NR Walker. I enjoy her books immensely and feel confident as I begin the first page she’s going to take me on a compelling adventure. On Davis Row isn’t a smooth sailing ride, rather a stirring and striking story. It will stir your emotions and strike you straight through the heart. Though never fear, as dire as things become, there’s always light and optimism at the end of the…road. Then she gives us love, as pure and bright as the first day of Spring. Fresh beginnings overflowing with firsts make way for a beautiful love story I won’t ever forget.
To the casual eye, you would think CJ Davis is just another “Davis”. The well-known family in the small town of Ten Mile Creek hasn’t gathered their reputation under good circumstances. CJ is the baby of the family and the only child not imprisoned. But he’s anything from free. His father used all of his boys to his advantage and taught them everything he knows. Sadly, there’s not much to be said for that. He’s an abusive alcoholic spinning through a revolving door of incarceration. CJ never knew his mother (a now deceased drug addict) and suffered years of abuse from his father until his Pops took over guardianship. Pops did everything he could to save CJ from following in his father’s footsteps. He helped shape him into a good man despite the world fighting them. Then CJ is caught breaking the law and he’s granted probation in lieu of jail time. Although he’s walked a straight line, it’s a slippery slope. What he wouldn’t give to have someone there to catch him if he falls. Then his new parole officer swoops in and wants to help him, guide him and maybe even save him. And as it turns out, CJ rescues him right back.
The Australian setting was pleasant and fun. I feel as though I picked up a few new things as if I was truly visiting in real life. Walker’s writing is engaging and enticing. I enjoyed most of the characters but I especially adored both CJ and Noah. Once their history begins to unravel, my heart ached and I was desperate for their happiness. I held my breath and fidgeted during some of the heavy scenes and then rejoiced when the weight of the world was lifted from their shoulders. Their story packs a heavy emotional punch which leads me to….
*sniff* CJ and Noah. I just wanna leap into the pages and crush CJ in the biggest bear hug possible. I saw past his disguise and instantly knew his genuine heart. I desperately wanted him to have a chance. Life kicked him and beat him down every chance it could. But no matter how low it got, he picked himself up and pushed on. However, his walls and defense mechanisms grew thicker and stronger every time. Then Noah enters the picture and I knew it was going to be okay. Noah is full of faith and hope. He is the buoy in CJ’s storm. Even though he is strong and stoic, appearances can be deceiving and Noah is hiding his own anguish and fresh grief. As the walls crumble my heart raced and I longed for the good fortune fairy to bless them both. *sigh* And I couldn’t get enough of their firsts.
Abuse and loss. Both men have suffered and suffered greatly. Be it bad luck or out of their hands misfortune, tragedy has struck both men. Triggers include child abuse and neglect, alcohol abuse, and suicide. BUT! I’m a stickler when it comes to balancing angst and I believe this was evenly balanced.
If you are willing to take an extreme ride from bleak darkness to blinding brightness, I urge you to take a chance on this powerful love story. It’s one to cherish and love for all time.