A romance story more than a thriller that sheds a little light on the atrocious act of human trafficking. The Girl in the Forest is the first book in the Swiss Stories Series. The story takes place in Switzerland and was published in several countries other than the U.S. I am assuming that the typos and grammatical errors are due to errors in translation from Italian to English, not that it should be excused. Any critical reader will notice them right away and find them hard to overlook at times. AVC-Proofreading needs to try again with Carmen Weiz’s work.

The story opens with Thomas, a police officer, and his dog, Betsy, going on a run and coincidentally witnessing a girl being pushed off a cliff. Using his resources and skills as a police officer, Thomas rescues her, and she recovers in the hospital. Thomas and other police officers work to find out who she is and what happened to her. Apart from the hostage scene at the end of the book, that is the end of anything thrilling.

The story turns romantic as the moody and handsome Thomas falls for his damsel in distress, the innocent and graceful Anna. The captain of Thomas’s police department allows Thomas to let Anna stay on his family’s farm after she is discharged from the hospital. They still need her as a witness to their kidnapping and human trafficking case and cannot let her leave the country. Thomas feels protective and responsible for Anna. He introduces her to his family, gives her an apartment to stay in, takes her shopping for clothes and various items, and gets her a job on the farm. Predictably, beautiful Anna attracts plenty of attention from Thomas’s male friends and his jealousy rages.

As the case progresses and Anna’s return home to Brazil becomes eminent, Thomas struggles with allowing himself to completely fall in love with her knowing she cannot stay in his country after the case is closed. What he does not know is that Anna is researching and investigating her own case but ends up putting herself in danger. When Thomas almost loses her, he realizes that he cannot live without her even though he is angry with her lack of complete and blind trust of him. God forbid she think for herself! Of course, as soon as Thomas forgives Anna, she lovingly stays with him and they live happily ever after in his country and on his farm.

This story moves fast and has little down time. The characters are well developed and complex. Each scene is descriptive and easy to put yourself in, as though you are watching the story unfold instead of reading it. I found Anna’s character annoying and childish at times, enough so that I could not see what Thomas would see in her. This is a great book to pick up or download if you are a fan of romantic stories with a damsel in distress theme.

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