Review by RSturrock25 -- Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane

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Review by RSturrock25 -- Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane

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[Following is a volunteer review of "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The book Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane begins on Natalie Chapman’s sixteenth birthday and ends on her seventeenth. Natalie spends this year facing many challenges in her life, such as her abusive stepfather Alex Townsend, an affair with an older married man, and discrimination due to her part-aboriginal heritage from her father. Natalie’s goal in life is to become a landscape artist, which is encouraged by her employer Mrs. Glover, a fellow artist.

Natalie spends much of her time trying to support her mother who is mourning the loss of her three-year-old son, while also being put down repeatedly by Alex because he believes their son’s death was her fault. Natalie also does her best to take care of her developmentally disabled fifteen-year-old brother, and her two half-sisters aged twelve and five. Her grandfather also lives with the family and needs taken care of. Natalie works for Bruce and Rosemary Glover, an upper-class couple that try to help her improve herself. Her interest in Bruce Glover inevitably leads to an affair, although he is in his thirties and she is only sixteen.

The author used a great deal of advanced words when simpler ones would have sufficed. It was very distracting, as I had to continually find the definition for several words. There were a few misspellings and punctuation errors, but not enough to portray poor editing. I felt that the story was well written, and the author covered her points she was trying to make very well. The story discusses domestic abuse in a way that really makes you feel for all the family members that suffer at the hands of Natalie’s stepfather. The author discusses an event in which Alex beats Natalie with a belt to the point that she is unable to move or speak for several days due to the extremity of her injuries. The author also discusses Natalie’s part-aboriginal heritage and the discrimination she faced when she was in school, as well as the discrimination she and her brother face from their stepfather.

The parts I liked the best from the book were the talks that Natalie had with her grandfather. Natalie is able to find out many things about her own father Johnny Chapman through these discussions. What I liked least about the book was the flowery language, it felt like the author was trying too hard to sound intelligent. I also did not like the affair Natalie had with Bruce Glover, it felt unnecessary and did not really contribute much to the story.

I would rate the book Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane three out of four stars. I enjoyed the story overall and it kept my interest until the very end. However, I cannot give it a four out of four rating due to the spelling and grammatical errors, as well as the advanced language. I would recommend this book to anyone with a passion for art. I would not recommend this book to anyone that has suffered from domestic abuse as some of the scenes described could be very traumatic.

Ironbark Hill
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