Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Mackenzie Crossing

Title: Mackenzie Crossing
Author: Kaye Dobbie
Publisher: 21st  November 2016 by Harlequin (Australia) TEEN/MIRA
Pages: 352 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: mystery, historical fiction, contemporary romance, women’s fiction, culture-Australia
My Rating: 5 cups


An old photograph holds the key to a missing man, a past love and a long-lost mountain village.

A passion for photography draws two stories together across time to Mackenzie Crossing.

Neville ‘Pom’ Darling, is on the hunt for the perfect photograph.

Skye Stewart, is searching for her long lost grandfather.

It’s 1939, and Neville, escaping an unhappy marriage and his memories of the Great War, finds himself in Mackenzie Crossing on the day of the terrible Black Friday bushfires. He meets the beautiful Georgie Mackenzie and in an instant knows that she is the subject he has been looking for. As the heat intensifies, Georgie and Pom begin to wonder if they have a future together; but first, they must survive the blaze.

Almost sixty years later, Sky Stewart returns to the area in search of her grandfather. Did he survive the Black Friday bushfires? Who is the exotic woman in the photograph she found? But when she arrives in Elysian, the closest town to where Mackenzie Crossing used to be, she finds more of her hidden past than she bargained for. A more recent past which she would prefer stayed forgotten…

My Thoughts

“Mackenzie Crossing was wild and lonely, not at all what she’d been expecting, but there was also a beauty about it. A desolate beauty that was beginning to creep into her heart despite herself.”

Checking off another addition to my growing list of Aussie outback authors, Kaye Dobbie delivers a fabulous drama. I found the 1939 and 1997 stories were both compelling, always a hard thing to do when dual timelines run concurrently in a story. I believe this was because both captured my attention with worthy mysteries that kept me guessing right up until the end.

“Royal commissioner who said, and I quote, “… it appeared the whole state was alight on Friday thirteenth of January nineteen thirty-nine”

The infamous Friday 13th January, 1939 – ‘Black Friday’ - when it felt as if the entire state of Victoria was ablaze, presents the story of the Neville Darling. 1997 finds Skye Stewart, having recently discovered her grandfather was not her biological grandfather, undertakes to discover who this mysterious Neville Darling really was. Combine that with the flashbacks to her teenage years, almost 20 years ago and ‘that’ night, and one understands why this book is full of twists and turns.

The narrative alternates between Neville’s story in 1939 and Skye’s in 1997 (with some flashbacks to Skye’s past with Finn as teenagers - you’re going to love him!), Mackenzie Crossing is well paced and has three fascinating plots that will engage you to the very end. It will jump back and forth between time periods but I did not find this difficult to follow.

“It came from familiarity with the summer fires, and possibly the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude, which he found in equal measure frustrating and endearing.”

I found Mackenzie Crossing to be a brilliant read - it was extremely well done. The 1939 Black Friday bushfires were horrific and the way the people dealt with it at the time was amazing. Neville’s relationship with those on the mountain is most memorable. But this is also a tale about secrets, both past and present, with the impact it has on those we love or can’t help loving. As Skye struggles to unravel the mystery behind her biological grandfather, in the contrastingly frozen and wintry present, you will inwardly cheer for her progress, especially when it comes to finding true love. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this wonderful Aussie drama.

“Over time, though, being out here in the never-never, the isolation, the stillness of the bush and mountains, began to restore his battered soul. Not completely—he’d probably never be completely mended—and why should he, when so many were dead? But there was a sense of renewal that he’d never expected.”

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

No comments:

Post a Comment