WILDLAND By Rebecca Hodge


When breast cancer-survivor Kat Jamison retreats to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she’s counting on peace and solitude to help her make a difficult decision. Her cancer has returned, but can she face yet another round of chemotherapy? Or is it time to stop fighting? Self-reflection quickly proves impossible as her getaway is complicated by a pair of abandoned dogs and two friendly children staying nearby, Lily and Nirav. In no time at all, Kat’s quiet seclusion is invaded by the happy confusion of children and pets. But when lightning ignites a raging forest fire, Kat’s cabin is cut off from the rest of the camp, separating Lily and Nirav from their parents. Left with no choice, Kat, the children, and the dogs must flee on foot through the drought stricken forest, away from the ravenous flames. As a frantic rescue mission is launched, Kat drives the party deeper into the mountains to escape the inferno. She’ll do anything to save four innocent lives, but in order to save her own, Kat must discover the fire inside – her own burning will to survive.


This is an emotional story, of strength, survival and love. Kat has gone to the Blue Ridge Mountains, to assess her life, her cancer is back, does she want to go through more treatment, or does she want to stop fighting and give in to it. Her daughter wants her to continue to fight the cancer, this has caused them to argue, which I think is understandable. She hopes for solitude in the mountains to allow her the peace to make decisions. But it’s not what she gets. For one her daughter who runs a dog training rescue business brings her mum a trained adult rescue dog for company. Despite not wanting the dog Kat does bond with it.

The story is slo to start but soon moves on to a faster pace, with a great deal if emotional atmosphere, for me it was hard to read, having lost my sister to cancer a year ago, I hadn’t realised that this was the subject matter if I had I would have avoided it. But it gives an insight into how someone who has been through the treatment once but does she want to do it again. The numbers aren’t looking good for the second treatment. Recently widowed as well is it too much to deal with?

When in the mountains Kat isn’t alone so no solitude, in neighbouring cabins, there is a father Michael with his newly adopted son 9 year old Nirav, adopted from Pakistan, he wants to help him adjust to life in America. Michael is ex Special Forces which turns out to be quite a handy skill to have, in the circumstances they find themselves in.

In another camp there is Scott with his daughter 12 year old Lily, on their annual vacation trip to the mountains, Lily really doesn’t want to be there. But the last thing they expected was to get separated by a forest fire that is spreading fast.

The children like Kat’s dog and spend time with both Kat and the dog. During one day they find a neglected, sick and injured puppy. It’s in a bad condition, but Kat gives it treatment, so has two dogs, as well as two children who stay over for one night. No more quiet time for Kat.

The last thing any of them expected was for a fire to take hold in the forest, rapidly approaching the cabins and the wooded areas all around them. The children and Kat are cut off from the fathers and with the fire closing in its up to Kat to save the two children and two dogs. She has to summon the courage she didn’t even realise she possessed.

The suspense and drama from the blazing, raging fire, the rescue teams not knowing where the group could be, the smoke is hindering everything. The rescue team receive injuries, it seems impossible to get to them. Kat is traumatised but realises she is the only one who can try and save the children and dogs. But can they make it? This is edge of your seat tension not knowing whether they can get clear of the fire to be rescued, of course it’s not just the fire that can kill, but the smoke. Which seems to be all around them.

This is a story not just of a woman fighting the cancer that is in her body, but her realising how much strength she does have as she tries desperately to save these young children, to get them back to their fathers, as well as the two dogs. Kat mayhave more strength and fight in her than she ever realised. Now is the time to find out.

I give this book ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I will certainly be looking out for the next book by this writer.

I would like to thank #netgalley and #Crookedlanebooks for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.


Rebecca Hodge is an author of fiction, a veterinarian, and a clinical research scientist who lives and writes in North Carolina. Fiction writing is the space where her creative side comes out to play, and her writing centres on characters who discover that life is not a spectator sport. She has three grown sons, two crazy dogs, and one patient husband. When not busy writing, she loves hiking, travel, and (of course) curling up with a good book.

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