Just This Once (Escape to New Zealand) Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Just This Once (Escape to New Zealand)

While vacationing in New Zealand, a young woman's fling with a handsome rugby player could turn into something more than she ever expected. Hannah Montgomery is a workaholic who's really looking forward to taking a three week vacation in New Zealand. Between her job as an executive at a women's sportswear company and constantly being the supportive anchor for her friends and family, Hannah needs some time to herself.
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When Hannah arrives in New Zealand, her vacation quickly changes from peaceful and relaxing to scary when she gets caught in a rip current while swimming at an empty beach early in the morning. Luckily, a stranger named Drew Callahan spots her in the water and helps her return back to shore.

Even though Hannah is grateful that Drew saved her at the beach, she's slightly intimidated by his height and muscular body. Drew is about 6'3" and has bulging muscles that make him look massive. Hannah reluctantly agrees to go to breakfast with Drew at a small cafe. During their meal, Drew lets her know that he is a professional rugby player. Hannah is surprised to find herself feeling comforted by Drew's solid build and calm demeanor as she gets to know him better.

After their initial encounter, Hannah and Drew spend nearly every day together. Drew is a native New Zealand resident and explains different aspects of the country's culture to Hannah. They go fishing, snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking. As the romance between the two of them blossoms, Hannah decides to change some of her previous plans so that she can spend the rest of her vacation with Drew.

Hannah develops strong feelings for Drew during her stay in New Zealand. Drew seems to have strong feelings for her as well. Since Hannah has to return to her home in San Francisco, she tries to be realistic and doesn't have any expectations of seeing Drew after she leaves.

On the flight back to San Francisco, Hannah picks up an in-flight magazine that features a full-page spread on Drew. While reading the article, she finds out that Drew isn't merely a rugby player. He is the captain of New Zealand's legendary national rugby team. Hannah had no idea that he is arguably one of the most famous people in the country. Hannah's insecurities rise to the surface and she is even more certain that she won't hear from Drew again.

As soon as Hannah arrives home, she is pleasantly surprised to see that Drew left her a message to make sure she arrived home safely. Drew remains in contact with Hannah and the romance continues to grow in spite of the long distance. After Drew spends time with Hannah in San Francisco and meets her family, he asks her to consider moving to New Zealand so that they can be together full-time.

Initially, Hannah is scared to leave behind the life she has built in San Francisco, but her friends encouraged her to follow her heart. Hannah decides to take a leap of faith and moves to New Zealand as soon as she gets a job and acquires a work visa.

Making the transition to a new country goes fairly well for Hannah, especially with Drew's help. As Drew tries to get closer to Hannah, her trust and intimacy issues put a strain on the relationship.

Hannah has struggled with letting people get close to her ever since her father died when she was a child. Her mother became emotionally neglectful and wasn't able to take care of Hannah and her two younger siblings after the father died. As a result of her childhood experiences, Hannah became fiercely independent and doesn't feel comfortable relying on anyone.

Drew wants a future with Hannah and keeps trying to break down the barriers she has built around her heart. He repeatedly tries to show her that she can count on him. If Hannah isn't willing to be vulnerable and get past her fear of getting hurt, she may lose her chance of being happy with the man of her dreams.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked the fact that Drew is a stand-up guy who was always honest with Hannah about his feelings. In spite of his incredible success and popularity as a rugby player, he is a humble man with integrity.

Best scene in story: The moment Hannah let go of her inhibitions and decided to fully enjoy her vacation by spending time with Drew. That was a big step for her because normally she is so controlled, organized, and cautious with her heart.

Opinion about the main character: Hannah is insistent on letting Drew know that she is an independent woman, almost to her detriment. She constantly objects to his acts of kindness and his numerous attempts to show her how much he cares for her. Rather than appearing as a strong woman, Hannah's behavior came across as annoying and I started to wonder why Drew remained so interested in her.

The review of this Book prepared by Pamela Parker a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Just This Once (Escape to New Zealand)

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Inner struggle subplot    -   Yes Struggle with...    -   angst over past dead relative(s)

Main Male Character

Profession/status:    -   sports figure Age/status:    -   20's-30's Sex makes him    -   blissful

Main Female Character

Age/status:    -   20's-30's Profession/status:    -   business executive Effect of sexing    -   blissful


Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Pacific Islands

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death What % of story is romance related?    -   nearly 100% How explicit is the sex?    -   vague references only Focus of story    -   Her How much dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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