Mayon by Mickie B. Ashling
Published by: DSP Publications on February 23, 2016 (2nd Edition)
Rating: 4 stars (★★★☆☆)
It’s the Philippines in 1946. John Buchanan, recently retired from the Marines, remains in the country to consider Ignacio Saenz’s offer of a position overseeing his plantation. It’s not something John would likely seek out under normal circumstances, but since the job would put him so close to Mount Mayon he can see it in the distance, he’s willing to consider it. He’s always had a fascination with volcanoes, so he’s not sure he can pass up living so close to an active one. The current overseer, Gregorio Delgado, begrudgingly takes John out to see Mount Mayon. John quickly learns that Gregorio isn’t leaving the plantation–Greg will be demoted if John steps into the role. John knows Ignacio is hoping to find a husband for one of his daughters, but he’s not really bothered by Ignacio’s ulterior motive. But when a spark of mutual attraction strikes on their campout near the volcano, Greg has a difficult time accepting any part of this new fate. And while John makes it clear to Greg the two of them can’t have a future–society’s just not ready for it–it turns out that there’s no controlling an active volcano…when it erupts, it erupts.
Overall, this is an engaging and oddly romantic story. It’s paced well, and I felt like the core relationships develop quite naturally. The cast of characters provide for some moments of comic relief against the backdrop of the broader drama. I was a bit bothered by the way John seemed to quickly dismiss Greg at times, though I felt there was some redemption as the story continued. Some situations seemed coincidentally a bit more convenient to furthering the plot than anything else, but nothing confused or derailed me during my reading. A nice historical romance.[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]