Monday, March 1, 2010

Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson

Sentence of Marriage is the first of three books of the saga Promises to Keep by Shayne Parkinson, which takes us to New Zealand, 1880.

Twelve-year-old Amy lives on a farm and dreams of becoming a teacher and work in a big city. However, her dreams are thwarted when her father brings a new wife to be stepmother to Amy and her two brothers.

Amy, who has lost her mother far too soon, lives on a farm in New Zealand. She has big dreams which are nurtured by the village’s teacher. Although her father is not pleased, she aims to become a teacher, too. When she loses her grandmother, she cannot pursue her dreams any further, but must run the household. She manages well until one day, her father returns with Susannah, his new wife, from a trip to Auckland. Susannah loathes the hard farm life and especially Amy. When Susannah’s brother James comes to spent the summer, love spins Amy’s life out of control.

Shayne Parkinson allows us to acquaint ourselves with Amy and her world gradually. ‘Sentence of Marriage’ takes us back in time and introduces us to the realities of a young girl, growing up on a farm. There are friends and fiends, laughter and tears, injustice and hope. The plot is a bit predictable, but the characters are painted with love – and this shines through the work.