Having read many of Kim Wilkins books in the Gothic Horror genre such as ‘Angel of Ruin’, or Gina Champion young adults series, when my friend said you should read Kimberley Freeman books, I thought I’d give her a go in this genre.
The story in the present bound together with a story from the past.
Beattie is a young woman in trouble. What will she do? Her Henry finds her and takes her away with him to Tasmania, on the other side of the world, away from Glasgow in Ireland. A few short years later with Lucy her daughter, she finds life difficult. Henry gambles and drinks away their money. She’s always having to ask for credit and when it runs out, she is desperate. Henry becomes abusive and Beattie takes matters into her own hands.
Emma, Beattie’s granddaughter, is a prima ballerina and she knows nothing of her grandmother’s past life or struggles. She is self-absorbed in her world in London. Her grandmother had died but left her ample fortune to charity. A point of contention for Emma’s mother and uncle. When Emma is ditched by her boyfriend her world comes crashing down around her. She pushes her body too hard, then knee injury forces her to return to Sydney to her mother. That’s when she discovers that Beattie left something in her will for her, a house in Tasmania called Wildflower Hill. What she learns there when cleaning up the house to sell, is that Beattie had a mysterious past. In searching for answers, Emma learns a lot about herself, makes friends and discovers that the life she believes she is wanting may not be her future.
I loved this story and know that from now on anything Kimberley Freeman will be on my to read list. But that not surprising as I’ve always loved her writing.
As with all of The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody, this book is difficult to describe briefly. It is simply another episode in the journey Elspeth Gordie is making in the Quest she has been set upon since the first book. Interwoven with her many talents including self-healing, she continues her journey.
This book is divided into three sections. The first is heartwarming in that at Obernewtyn as Guildmistress, her true love Rushton, Guildmaster to Obernewtyn finally returns. They consummate their love and forge a link between them.
The second part of the book is her journey away from her home and life at Obernewtyn and all those she loves. It is a heartbreaking journey she takes with her old and fey cat Maruman, and Gahltha the stallion, both who travel on the dream trails with her as her guardians. This journey takes them to meet up with a pack of wolves who also form a part of Elspeth’s Quest to stop them before time computer machines Sentinel being woken and permanently destroying the world already blighted by the taint of the Great White.
The third part of the book sees Elspeth reunited with those she loves and gives her courage to continue her journey. Her band of friends all learn more about the Quest during a journey across the black lands led by the wolves, facing illness due to the taint and frightening encounters with carnivorous, bat-like creatures along the way. They learn more about themselves, and the journey each of them made to reach this point and to be at Elspeth’s side on this perilous journey.
As a writer, who has been to courses and had been told many fundamentals about writing, one being ‘to limit the number of characters in a story’ as it’s confusing to readers; this book and whole series, does not adhere to that theory, with over five pages of characters listed. All the characters form layers over layers pushing the story further with Elspeth Gordie as the main character.
I found the ending frustrating as the hook leaves the reader gasping to read the next book. After 750 pages this is no small tome. I eagerly await the final chapter in The Red Queen.
Book Review by Jill Smith©Dec16
Author: Sandra Rogers
Publisher: Zeus Publications
I loved this book. I had to re-read the first chapter after I got to the end.
It’s a beautiful story about the joys and hardships of living on a property in central Queensland. Cooyar is vividly brought to life, the dust and the flies, the rough life of the characters and the love that develops on the soil.
Frances is the property owners head-strong daughter. She loves Cooyar and going to boarding school to make her a young lady is Jess and Malcolm’s only sacrifice. They are pleased with the result when she comes home for her fourteenth birthday party. The head stockman Will is her best friend. He understands the connection Frances has with the land.
Their link with each other becomes heightened as they grow older. They kiss just once when Frances delivers the evening meal for the stockmen. Granny sees them kiss. Disapproving she sends Will on a holiday to Darwin to be with his Aboriginal family.
The drought that cripples the country breaks with a flood. As often happens in Australia the extreme conditions dictate the lives of those choosing to live on the land. Frances returns to the farm to find Will has returned to help. They consummate their love for one another.
Frances returns to her city life and Will joins up to fight in WWII. When he is reported missing and believed dead, she impulsively marries a sailor, Arnold Smith who is deployed on the HMAS Vampire which is sunk. Arnold is rescued and returns to Australia where they settle down on their own cattle property Wongadoo and raise their son Barry. But they are not destined to live a happy life.
I loved the real-life feel to this story, particularly the end which is very fitting.
Sandra has returned to writing a book that is memorable and a joy to read. I hope she will continue to write more heartrending Australian tales.