I enjoyed learning about Hendra virus and community reactions to it, via this book. It's obvious the author has conducted her research and this certainly came through. For me, I enjoyed the start and set-up the most. After halfway I found the book slightly slow. I think that for me, the Hendra storyline overshadowed development of the characters. Having got to the end, I'm not sure I feel I really know Charlie and Joel? This might also be due to me looking for more romance in the book and more tension between Charlie and Joel, when really the greater storyline involved the Hendra outbreak and the unresolved relationships between Charlie/Emma, Charlie/Emma's mother and Emma/Garth (Emma's awful husband). That said, my mother read Close To Home and she really enjoyed it - so for readers interested in the plotline more than the romantic element, this may be the perfect Australian rural read for you.