Breathe the Sky
By Michelle Hazen
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Mari Tucker is a wildlife biologist who scoops bunnies and endangered tortoises out of harm’s way on construction sites. Still haunted by her past, she takes the most remote jobs in the Mojave Desert to avoid people and hide from her ex. It’s a simple, quiet life filled with sweet animals and solar-powered baking until she ends up assigned to Jack Wyatt’s crew.
Construction foreman Jack Wyatt’s loud, foul-mouthed temper keeps even the most rugged of men on his crew in line. No mistake is overlooked, because out in the desert it could mean life or death. In his opinion, the job site is no place for sensitive biologists, especially one as shy as Mari. But instead of wilting from the heat and hard work, Mari wins over Jack and his crew one homemade brownie at a time.
Jack and Mari find a comfortable rhythm, building a friendship that’s rare for both of them. After Jack’s rocky childhood, they have more in common than they’d imagined. But even the Mojave sun can’t chase away the shadows when the past is determined to track them down…Goodreads)
Breathe the Sky by Michelle Hazen is the second book I have read by Ms. Hazen and my opinion of this author has not changed – I really enjoy reading her stories! They are engaging, interesting storylines with a pace of action that kept me engaged throughout.
Take note: there is a fair amount more detail in her love scenes than in the previous book I have read of Ms. Hazen’s (Unbreak Me) and that may bother some readers (I felt a little too much detail, but not so much that I was put off – I just like to leave a little more to my own imagination).
Mari, a wildlife biologist, has left an abusive ex-husband and has restarted her life keeping under the radar by living in her vehicle while taking jobs in remote locations. Jack, a construction foreman, has had to endure a childhood of abuse not just from his father but also from his older brother is also leading a more socially secluded existence. Both seem to feel they are undeserving of love (i.e. blaming themselves in part for the abuse they have had to endure).
I REALLY enjoyed the aspect of the story that Mari was the watchful eye on site to protect the wildlife (by making sure the construction site adhered to the Endangered Species Act. We often, as a society ignore the fact that we are all this planet in a relatively symbiotic relationship with other creatures and must respect that, if we are to sustain life on this planet.
Along the way to Mari and Jack forming a relationship, we have a number of other interesting and engaging storylines. The inter-relationships with their other co-workers shows that these two “socially inept” individuals can indeed create bonds with others, it just takes longer. And as they form relationships with others – they gain the confidence in themselves again. The transformation was slow and steady and intriguing to experience along with Mari and Jack. Of course – there were some hiccups – but that is to be expected as life is never a that easy.
We get to see Mari stand up for the wildlife she is trying to protect and how she transforms Jack’s views on this! Truly inspirational and in some respects kind of funny how much Jack changed his tune! Mari’s slowly developed close relationship with Jack’s team was endearing. Some of the characters on the team are “interesting” and will keep you chuckling time and again.
I found Michelle Hazen’s writing style very descriptive, evocative and thought provoking. Parts of the story were very heavy, yet the writing was handled with such care for the character and her struggles to overcome her past. And then, we have scenes where I just could not help but laugh. As a prior resident of the deserts in Arizona – I loved reading the descriptions written by Ms. Hazen – a lovely trip down memory lane.
In the final analysis, Breathe the Sky is a slowly burning love story between two individuals with very heavy baggage that they are both dealing with. This baggage allows them to understand each other and take the slow road to a wonderful, simpatico relationship where each is better off.
I will certainly endeavour to read more of Ms. Hazen’s books as I find her style easy to read with wonderful content which engages my imagination and in fact, teaches me many things (an lovely education on the wildlife that needs are concerted effort to respect there habitat).
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*