Sentence of Marriage

by SL Parkinson | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by futurecat of Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on 11/3/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, November 3, 2006
A friend's first novel, published through Lulu. How could I not buy a copy?

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Journal Entry 2 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Sunday, November 5, 2006
I must admit, I did come to this book with a few preconceptions. When Shayne said she'd written a historical saga, I imagined some sweeping epic covering multiple generations (what MrPloppy always calls disparagingly a "three generations of women" book). Of course, there are some really good examples of such books out there, and I knew from reading Shayne's blog that she can tell a story well, but as a genre it's becoming a bit trite and predictable, so I admit my first thought was "Does the world really need another one of those?"

Happily, this isn't another of "those" books. Instead of sweeping historical epic, it's much smaller in scope (and hence more intimate, and much more interesting) - the story of a young girl on the edge of womanhood in colonial New Zealand.

Shayne has an easy, fluid writing style, and she paints a vivid picture of early New Zealand, evoking both the harshness of colonial life and the beauty of the landscape. The story, though slow paced (the entire first book only covers a few years of Amy's life), was never boring, and kept me turning pages.

Now for the tough part. It's always difficult to be critical of a friend's creative efforts, but it is a friend's duty to be honest, so I'd better mention the not so good bits (don't worry, Shayne, there aren't too many of them!). My main gripe is that the Cinderella theme is laid on a bit thick in places. There were a few times when I was thinking "Ok, we get the idea now, her stepmother doesn't like her and makes her do all the work. Move on now."

Other concerns were more minor. I would have preferred the narrative point of view to have remained Amy's all the way through. While I can see why it was necessary to switch away sometimes, to portray events she wasn't witness to, and to provide contrast between Amy and Lizzie, the fact that the majority of the narration was from Amy's point of view made the times when it wasn't seem strange.

But apart from that (and the odd typo, but not enough to be distracting), I really enjoyed this book, which despite being self-published can easily hold its own against many of the books produced by "real" publishers. And I'll definitely be buying Book 2, Mud and Gold, which Shayne announced the publication of yesterday.

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Journal Entry 3 by awhina from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Tuesday, November 7, 2006
I picked this book up at tonights meetup; eventually it will be read and released.

Journal Entry 4 by futurecat from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Um... you do remember I said I want this one back? Please don't release it!

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