Tag Archives: protagonist

Suzannah’s Gold by Carol Preston, Even Before Publishing, 2013Book

Book Description
Suzannah Casey was just twelve years old when she was transported to the Australian colony from Ireland. Though devastated by her circumstances, she was grateful to be given an opportunity to start a new life on the Goulburn Plains with ex-convict, George Oakes. However, Suzannah could never have imagined the trauma and loss that lay ahead of her. She must find the faith and courage to overcome abuse, abandonment, religious bigotry and her own yearnings in order to discover what is more precious than gold.
Review by Hazel Barker
Suzannah’s Gold is a smorgasbord of women’s fiction, family saga and historical fiction. The author uses excellent dialogue and vivid characterization. She delves into the main characters’ minds and we get a sense of their deep loyalties or hostilities and hatred.

Mary Anne springs to life with her Irish accent, her flirtatious behaviour, her bigotry and hypocritical ways. Adversity brings out the best in her and the reader sees remarkable character growth.

The protagonist, Suzannah, on the other hand, follows her conscience regardless of the consequences on her own happiness. She is intrinsically good: long-suffering, kind and forgiving, and faces no spiritual struggles. I found her too good to be true even though she was based on the author’s great-great-grandmother.

The book has been well-researched and its 309 pages are crammed with descriptions of drought, fires and floods. The description of the fire sets the scene realistically. It is vivid and quickens the pace. Although faithfully mirroring the early history of Australia, the frequency of births, sicknesses and deaths is repetitious. The number of characters causes confusion.

There are two rape scenes in the story—the first from the point of view of a child-witness. The second rape scene is well-written and depicted in all its horror without being offensive to the reader. Unfortunately, errors in the grammatical use of the word ‘lay’ interrupt the story and diminish the pleasure of reading. Readers should, however, add to their knowledge of Australian history and better understand the sufferings and strength the pioneers experienced.

Suzannah’s Gold with its theme of Christian charity, faith and forgiveness delivers a message with a strong ending:

‘Come to Me you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Review of Cicadas In Summer by Sara Delaval

Cicadas In Summer by Sara Delaval FeedARead.com Publishing, 2014

Author’s Blurb
In Brisbane, single parent Kate Anderson, 34, drops her two youngsters at school before a routine visit to Lisa, an emergency housing client. A Queenslander, social worker Kate has rebuilt her life after divorce and enjoys her work supporting disadvantaged people. After being first to witness the gory scene following the brutal murder of Lisa and her children, Kate turns to her close-knit family for support. She meets Jack, her brother’s solicitor friend and gratefully accepts his help, as the horrors multiply to engulf her. Suddenly and inexplicably, as she tries to piece the mystery together, Kate becomes the target of a prowler and telephone threats. Determined to find out why this is happening and feeling that the police are missing something, she ignores all warnings of risk to herself. Jack’s assistance becomes increasingly important and although romantic entanglements are out of the question, Kate finds herself strongly attracted to him. Events escalate with another killing and when Kate’s own precious children are kidnapped the stakes reach a new level. With the help of the police the children are rescued. Then when Prue, a work colleague disappears, Kate becomes bait to catch the killer.

Review by Hazel Barker
Cicadas in Summer is an excellent debut crime fiction set in the Redlands, Queensland. The author tells of a shocking tragedy in an otherwise idyllic suburb. Cicadas in Summer is a dark story with likeable investigators and a bumbling though well-meaning protagonist. It is deftly plotted and fast paced with a blend of mystery and romance, and possesses all the elements of a good crime novel, not forgetting the foreshadowing.
The dénouement packs a punch with a satisfactory ending.
I read Cicadas in Summer as I was intrigued by its title. I haven’t indulged in this genre since my childhood, and often wonder why women love them—not only its cosy, sanitised version, but explicit accounts of murder, rape and torture. This story is more of the former type of mystery. It may not result in nightmares for the reader, but could cause one to keep on reading late into the night.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Review of View from the Faraway Pagoda

View from the Faraway Pagoda: A Pioneer Australian Missionary in China from the Boxer Rebellion to the Communist Insurgency by Robert and Linda Banks, Acorn Press, 2013
Authors’ Blog
This book describes the life and service of an inspiring woman, Sophie Newton, the grand-aunt of Robert Banks, whose desire to serve God led her to the forefront of missionary work in south-east China from 1897 to 1931. She lived through the tumultuous events of the Boxer Rebellion and Nationalist Revolution, as well as warlord conflicts and early communist uprisings.
Sophie spent her life empowering women through establishing schools and training Christian workers, as well as opposing the opium trade and challenging the practices of foot binding and infanticide.
Drawing on a wide range of family journals, personal letters, official records and newspaper reports, this story describes how the conviction, sacrifice and compassion of one single-minded woman can make a real and lasting difference to a community.
Robert and Linda Banks have worked in churches, universities and other educational institutions. Robert has taught in history departments and theological colleges and written several award-winning books. Linda has been a teacher, pastor and chaplain. Together they have produced a range of creative Christian resources.
Review by Hazel Barker
The story opens with an excerpt from The Sydney Morning Herald, August 1895. Due to the recently installed cable system, it reaches the ears of Australians, with life-changing consequences for the protagonist, Sophie Sackville Newton. She longs to serve the Master, but her father’s death delays her departure as family responsibilities require her to wait.
Early the following year, the Church Missionary Association accepts her, and, after undergoing six months of training, she joins a little band of missionary sisters and embarks for China.
Besides spreading God’s message to the Chinese, Sophie and her co-workers endeavour to stop such practices as foot-bind, opium addiction and the disposal of unwanted babies. She writes that Chinese fathers squeeze the little ones through openings in miniature round towers specially built for the purpose.
Sophie suffers from migraines despite prayers to remove her affliction. She lives in fear of her life during the Boxer Rebellion, when ruffians attack mission stations. The inmates are hacked to pieces, set alight or skinned alive.
Even during her leave back in Australia, she does not rest, but spends her furlough speaking about China and raising money for the CMA.
Sophie Newton dedicated 34 years to the cause of Christ in China.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized