Book Review: "Blaze a Trail" by Claire Boston

October 24, 2016

They’re from the opposite ends of town but they’re worlds apart.

Zita Flanagan wants more. She wants to help more Central American refugees and make more of an impact. But her family comes first and fulfilling her own dreams seems impossible.

David Randall leads a privileged life and knows nothing about refugee issues. When he meets dynamic, sexy Zita, it seems like the perfect opportunity to learn. Zita’s passion for helping those less fortunate and her selfless devotion to the girls her mother fosters brings David’s life sharply into perspective.

Zita soon realizes that David is so much more than a rich boy. She begins to trust him with her foster sisters’ stories, and her own hopes and dreams. But when David’s father announces he’s running for governor and the focus of his campaign is the ‘refugee problem’, Zita has grave concerns for her sisters’ safety. Then David’s betrayal exposes secrets, and it becomes a race against time to save lives.

Can David convince Zita to trust him again, or will his mistake put the life of the woman he loves in jeopardy?

Do you know what I like to see in a contemporary romance book? Great characters? Yes. A realistic story line? You bet ya. But what I like the most is a unique story and plot, with issues that are real, that are different from the run-of-the-mill rich guy and pretty-girl-but-doesn’t-know-it thing. And yes, I am referring to Fifty Shades of Gray, and just about every BDSM/contemporary romance that has come out since E.L.James’ book made it to the big leagues.

So I read Claire Boston’s latest release “Blaze a Trail” and after reading another book in her other series (read my review here!) I was hoping I’d get that unique plot again. And I did. In “Blaze a Trail” the reader is faced with the issue of immigration. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like your typical backdrop for a romance novel, right? But in this case, it works. I like books with substance, with a message. Boston clearly has a passion for real-life issues, which, in turn, find their way into her sub-plots. It’s refreshing to have a character not driven by their own petty desires and vanity.

In “Blaze a Trail” we follow Zita Flanagan, the final sister in the Flanagan trio. She is the youngest, and from what I can tell, also the most compassionate. She has a seemingly endless capacity for empathy, but it seems like that is also her downfall as a character. She always wants to help people even if it’s to her detriment. With her mother, she runs a charity which takes in young girls who have fled Central America to escape gang or domestic violence. These girls await the US court’s decision on whether they’re allowed to stay or whether they’ll be deported back to their violent homes. Zita cares for these girls, these ‘foster sisters’, but in doing so, she has put her dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer on the back burner.

It takes the too-good-to-be-true David Randall to make her see that her dreams and desires are just as important as anyone else’s. David is the son of a wealthy businessman. He knows nothing of the poverty or violence that Zita’s foster sisters have experienced, that Zita has heard about over and over as she guides the young girls through the court system in the United States. He’s intrigued by her and feigns wanting to know more about what she does in order to get closer to her. What David doesn’t realize is just how much he doesn’t know about the situation, about how desperate these girls really are. With Zita’s help, he gets a first-hand look at the struggle that she goes through with every girl seeking asylum.

Overall, I liked the book. The characters were well-developed and I could picture both Zita and David as real people. They’re likable characters with no major flaws that would leave a bad taste in a reader’s mouth. As I’ve stated before, Boston’s style of writing is very easy to read, and I ended up finishing the book in two days.

I must confess, though, that on occasion I did find the dialogue, and consequently the whole scene, a bit stilted. It felt rushed and forced in some places, which left me with a sense of dissatisfaction of sorts. I wanted these scenes to be more detailed, I wanted to become truly immersed in the world, and invest myself emotionally with the characters.

The only time I really felt that amazing I need to read the next page, next chapterfeeling was when I got to the final few chapters of the book. That was when things truly happened, when everything Zita had been working toward came to fruition.

If you like contemporary romances that have a little less steam and a little more substance, I’d recommend Boston’s writing to you.

About Claire... 

Claire Boston was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she’d run out of books to read her mother handed her Hot Ice by Nora Roberts and Claire instantly fell in love with romance novels.

The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and she struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for her creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn’t looked back.

When Claire’s not reading or writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.

Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her two grubby but adorable Australian bulldog.

Claire loves to hear from her readers. You can find her at her website, on Twitter, @clairebauthor and on Facebook You can also join her reader group at

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