Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: Thorn on the Rose by Joy Dettman (Book 2)

GENRE: Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 550
Sent to me from Pan Macmillan
Book 2 in the "Woody Creek" series

The second sensational instalment in Joy Dettman's epic new Woody Creek series
Pearl in a Cage ended in May 1939 when, just fifteen years old, Jenny Morrison fled Woody Creek for a new life in Melbourne. She left behind a dysfunctional family, a town of small-minded gossips and, most tragically, a newborn baby – the product of a vicious rape. Mustering all her strength, she resolved to put her past behind her, reclaim her identity and pursue her dream of becoming a famous singer...
Yet just months later she is back – wiser and with an expensive new wardrobe – but with a second child growing in her belly.
Cruelly labelled the "town slut", she finds refuge in Gertrude, her kind-hearted, dependable granny and Woody Creek's indomitable midwife, and settles into a routine in the ever-expanding household. Exactly how Vern Cooper – the one man Gertrude truly loves – fits into this family of misfits is something that Gertrude will have to grapple with.
Jenny thrives and, daring once again to dream, leaves Woody Creek for a second time and moves to Sydney, where at last it seems that the beautiful young songstress may find happiness...
But can the past ever truly be buried? And will Jenny Morrison ever fulfil her destiny?
Spanning a momentous wartime decade and dramatising rural Australia's complex and mysterious heart, Thorn on the Rose confirms Joy Dettman's place as one of our most gifted – and underrated – storytellers.

Another Intriguing Novel by Joy Dettman. Again, it was great to read a book that had a lot of historical input and truthful characters that have their own lives outside of the main characters lives.  Such things gave the novel a realistic feel and gave the appearance of the type of town where everyone knows everyone else's business.

At one point I started to think that the main character had been struck by too much tragedy. I thought that it was a bit strange that she had been taken advantage of so many times. Though, after thinking about it for a while, I guess back in those days with all the promotion of violence and men wanting to feel powerful I guess pretty girls would have a lot more trouble.

Throughout the novel I thought that Dettman's use of derogatory slang terms like bastard helped position the reader to see the many uses for the word and the lack of understanding or compassion for those who use it. I really appreciated this because it showed the audience the sexist values of people during that time frame. I'm a bit of a feminist, so any novel that pushes those ideologies gets my vote.

I don't think that this novel was as good as the previous one in the series because it was a little slower to read and it didn't seem to go anywhere. There were a few revelations in the novel that I had expected to some degree and a few major things did happen, but it felt like it had brought Jenny back to the beginning. Without it I probably wouldn't understand the next novel though.

I also really liked the repetitions and rhythm that was appearing in some of the novel. Sometimes it felt a bit like a school rhyme because of the way things repeated eg. "His wife, the whore" was used a lot, and "that independent bugger of a woman" I think phrases like this kept the story flowing and added humour to the novel.

Overall I think the book is worth 4 stars. The writing style wins me over again. I recommend this series to any one that likes to read authentic historical novels that are based in Australia.

Book 1: Pearl in a Cage
Book 2: Thorn on the Rose
Book 3: Moth to the Flame

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1 comment:

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