Synopsis from Goodreads
New park ranger Daphne Baum is a reformed good girl. Breaking free from her overbearing family as soon as she turned eighteen, she’s been on her own ever since. The life of a park ranger, moving from park to park, suits her just fine. Though still a rule follower, she’s okay with a little sin in her life.
Every generation of Hill men has its black sheep. The general consensus among the family is that Odin Hill is the lucky bastard this go around. At seventeen, he blew out of town like an angry tornado only to return fifteen years later withdrawn and secretive. Living like a recluse in the hollows in the Smoky Mountains, he’s happy to keep to himself and is content to let locals believe he’s the town weirdo. Odin prefers the company of his pet pig to the nosy citizens of Green Valley.
When Daphne discovers Odin might be committing nefarious deeds on parkland, she vows to find out the truth behind the handsome, yet chaotic, loner. Will the stranger help the ranger discover the difference between being good and doing the right thing? Or will they find themselves on opposites sides of love?
Stranger Ranger is a slow-burn romance where the couple’s jagged edges fit perfectly together to form a whole.
Daphne is relatively new to Green Valley and a little on the oddball side; although there are hints within the narrative as to the circumstances which have shaped her identity. At times Daphne can be a teeny bit judgemental especially when she can’t fit things into nice tidy categories, which is exactly why she is so intrigued by Odin. He doesn’t fit into any of the boxes Daphne tries to squeeze him into.
Odin is a native of Green Valley, although he has returned to the area following a prestigious career taking him across the globe. Hints and speculation are scattered through the narrative as to the reasons behind Odin’s return as well as his negative view of himself. However, I have to say I really would have liked to delve a lot deeper into Odin’s past and the events which shaped him into the person we encounter today.
There is an irresistible draw between Daphne and Odin which neither can deny. Although both try to avoid relationships they are unable to deny the connection between them, physical and emotional.
Although the romance was a large part of the plot, I adored the way nature was used in the story. Highlighting the return to old remedies and nature providing cures as well as nourishment. Foraging was highlighted within the narrative which stood out for me as we have had a lot of interest in books on foraging in the library I work in recently.
Stranger Ranger is a cute, slow-burn romance with some very interesting peripheral aspects.