Sunday, June 4, 2017

Review: Jewel In The North

Title: Jewel In The North (Flinders Ranges Series #3)
Author: Tricia Stringer
Publisher: 24 April 2017 Harlequin (Australia), TEEN / MIRA
Pages: 488 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre:  historical fiction
My Rating: 4 cups


Jewel in the North: A longstanding feud of land and love, a family torn apart and a quest for the ultimate prize…
A breathtaking historical family saga of love, death and forgiveness and a quest for the Jewel in the North
1895 The Flinders Ranges are a beautiful but harsh landscape as Joseph Baker, a pastoralist in that unforgiving environment, knows all too well. For three generations his family have farmed the land, married and had children at their property at Wildu Creek, but now, struggling with hostility from the local community for his choice of wife, Joseph finds himself fighting to save not just his friends and family but his very existence.
His son William has his own battles to fight: not only the drought that takes over the land but his own despair, as he faces rejection from the woman he loves. Meanwhile, a ruthless enemy will stop at nothing to take from William what he considers to be his. Could the vicious and cunning Charles Wiltshire be his nemesis? Or does another man, in a quest for the Jewel of the North, hold the key to his destruction?
As the First World War looms on the horizon, two men struggle to survive both the elements and each other on a quest to find that they hold dear — but only one will have the courage to stand strong.
The deeply satisfying conclusion to the bestselling Flinders Ranges series.

My Thoughts

This was the final instalment in a  three generational saga, titled ‘Flinders Ranges Series’ by Tricia Stringer. Each of the three novels can be read as a stand-alone book, with each instalment providing it’s own storyline in relation to the time period. Some characters carry over, especially seeing as this was the final book of the trilogy; however, there is no real confusion (I had not read the preceding two books).

This book alone was a wonderful indepth look at society at the turn of the century in Australia, set against the backdrop of the rugged outback - a harsh and often cruel country, especially during times of drought. Life on the land was hard and this is a first hand account of what it might have been like to live during such a pioneering time.

Moving from the late 1800s through the turn of the century, the history teacher in me particularly enjoyed the Federation celebrations. With the focus on two main families - the Bakers and the Wiltshires - this is family drama at it’s finest: love and loss, joy and grief played out amongst these two feuding families over the years. It was I feel,  a realistic portrayal of life on the land and the hardships they endured in their struggle for survival. You got a real sense of community in the outback and what life at the time may have been like.

That being said, there is quite an array of characters (given it spans over three books/generations) and each is given their voice - so you must be concentrating on the various relationships and understandings. Probably the most difficult thing I found was the time jumps - there did not appear to be ‘rhyme or reason’ to the chapter/dates provided. I found this a little disconcerting that a month, then maybe six months or longer may have passed by. I could not comprehend the significance of these dates and often large jumps in time.

Anyway, if you are looking to lose yourself back to the time of Australia becoming a nation and a genuine reflection of what life had been like, with the love and losses for those involved, then Tricia Stringers trilogy is for you.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release

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