Streets on a Map, by Dale Harcombe

Reviewed by Dee White

Having lived for many years in a small country town, there was so much about Dale Harcombe’s new novel, Streets on a Map, that I could relate to.

Newly married Abby moves to Astley when her husband gets a transfer with work, but it’s not exactly what she expected and she wonders if she will ever fit into this close knit community. Abby’s husband, Joel doesn’t seem to understand her difficulties and Abby starts to think that this the whole marriage/moving thing might have been a mistake.

She finds a friend, Laila and ends up opening a restaurant with her. Soon Abby is back doing what she loves, singing and running a very successful business. As she becomes more content, things seem to settle down in her marriage too.

But harmony doesn’t reign for long. A deadly house fire and an unplanned pregnancy.

Then there’s the arrival of Laila’s sister Margot and the teenage tearaway, Zoe to add further complications.

The action just keeps coming in Streets on a Map and keeps the reader turning the pages, wondering what’s going to happen next to the characters they have come to know. In the final climactic stages of the book, one of the most well loved characters is stabbed and the reader is left biting their nails, hoping and praying that the victim will survive.

The main characters in Streets on a Map have been well developed so that they become real to the reader – so the reader cares what happens to them and those they love.

It was easy to engage with the likeable and talented heroine, Abby although she had plenty of flaws too that kept her from being perfect and made her authentic for the reader.

Every one of the characters in Streets on a Map has their own fascinating story to tell and Dale Harcombe weaves them cleverly together to create dilemmas for Abby and help her discover strengths she didn’t knew she had.

Streets on a Map is full of vivid description that places the reader right in the story, feeling as if Astley is a place they have visited themselves. The dialogue is authentic and there are strong themes of trust, friendship, forgiveness and self-discovery throughout the book. It’s also about the choices we make and the fact that choices have consequences.

Streets on a Map will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy a fast-paced story with engaging, memorable characters.

Streets on a Map, by Dale Harcombe
Ark House Press or available signed from Dale Harcombe
Paperback $19.95