Official Review: Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane

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ReviewerDiksha
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Official Review: Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane

Post by ReviewerDiksha » 13 Jan 2018, 22:37

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Entering into the sixteenth year of her life, Natalie yearns, and strives, for nothing but a good, happy life. She wishes for her abusive, alcoholic stepfather, Alex, to turn his life around and put her mother out of the constant misery that her life has become. Her aversion for him meets with an equally mutual loathing that Alex has for her. She gets a reprieve from the glum environment at her home by going to work for the Glover family. There she finds tutelage under her employer, Rosemary Glover whom she admires very much. She, sometimes, feels guilty for being attracted to Rosemary’s husband, Bruce Glover. Things become complicated when Bruce reciprocates Natalie’s feelings.

Narrated in the first person by Natalie, Ironbark Hill is a beautifully written novel. The descriptions in the book pay attention to detail and create a distinct image in the reader’s mind. It was neither too flowery nor too intricate. Fluid and engaging, it created an unhindered reading flow. Before I realized, I had already read a hundred pages while it felt like fifty. I was completely under the author’s spell, and the story felt so alive that it was like watching a movie.

The characters of this novel were another feather in the cap of the writer. They were all quite distinct and so intricately written that I could imagine the way they walked, talked and behaved. Every character has been creatively diversified with their own qualities and flaws. With Natalie, we saw a strong girl trying to take responsibility for being the eldest child, trying to be there for her mother and siblings. The author has carefully drawn the contradictions in her character. So, while, in the beginning, she seems pure as gold, her flaws emerge later in the story that lay down the fact that she is human, after all. Even with other characters, we begin to have a certain understanding that make their actions, though loathsome, but justifiable, at times.

The story gets under the skin of the reader, and soon enough, we are emotionally attached. We feel a surge of pity, mixed with anger and hatred when Alex belts Natalie for protecting Libby, her cow. We feel happy when she is happy. We hope with her, and we dream with her. Her character arc takes an ecstatic turn throughout the novel. In the beginning, I had support and liking for her. However, by the end, I was left with mixed feelings about her.

Another thing that I liked was the approach of storytelling. The author has managed a control over the flow of the story, unfolding the events at the precise moments. It was effective in its deliverance of one issue at a time. Every chapter took one topic into focus and wove the events around it. The situations in Natalie’s family, her relationship with her employees, her ambitions, her feelings, everything has been brought to center-stage, one chapter at a time. The realistic setting of the story made it all the more relatable. From the lightest issue of sibling rivalry to the grave matter of domestic violence, the writer has touched all the right chords.

This book is for everyone who likes to read a good story. The teenagers will certainly relate to one or more aspects of Natalie’s life. The adults shouldn’t pass it on, thinking that it is only a teen’s story. It has denser issues at its core and will definitely surprise you with its maturity. My rating for Ironbark Hill is 4 out of 4 stars. Any lesser rating wouldn’t be justifiable because there was not a single flaw that I could find in this book.

This is the first novel I have read in 2018, and I am glad that it turned out perfect. It was well-thought out and perfectly executed. Some scenes were so dense that they’ll have you on the edge of your seat, making you impatiently turn the pages to see how the events finally turn out. The author was careful to clear every knot in the story-line, and honestly, there is nothing that was done wrong in the novel. I highly recommend it to every book-lover.

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Ironbark Hill
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Vickie Noel
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Post by Vickie Noel » 15 Jan 2018, 17:55

Wow, what a glowing review, I felt myself gently flowing with the peaceful river-life descriptions sprinkled all over it and on getting to the end, I'm truly craving to read the novel. I can relate to Natalie in more ways than one and I'm curious to find out why your feelings shifted gears from totally rooting for her to being mixed. Congrats to the author for such rave remarks and thanks for this awesome work!
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Post by kandscreeley » 15 Jan 2018, 18:02

That's quite the review. It's made me want to read the book just reading your review. Sounds like it has some good themes with nice writing. A real winning combo. Thanks!
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Post by RKS » 16 Jan 2018, 08:45

Your review makes this book sound very interesting. A strong character is always a good book's strength, and this one has one as Natalie. I look forward to checking out this book.

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Post by PratibhaG » 16 Jan 2018, 08:47

The story of young Natalie seems to have a lot of layers. Her character arc's turn has got my interest. What turned you from liking it to mixed feelings?

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Post by NeerajS » 16 Jan 2018, 08:51

I would have passed it on because of its teen genre, but you're note to adults caught me guilty of judging the book. The review is certainly insightful and does create an interest. I just might check this book out.

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Post by ShivaniS » 16 Jan 2018, 08:55

The setting and the characters of this book seem very interesting. There is a lot of praise in the review.thank you for recommending a good book

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Post by KamalK » 16 Jan 2018, 08:57

The variance in characters is a strong suit for any novel. You have provided clarity on many points through your review. Thank you

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Post by Gunnar Ohberg » 17 Jan 2018, 16:25

This is certainly very high praise for this novel, though to be honest it sounds a little too by-the-numbers for me (alcoholic stepfather, falling in love with a married man, etc.). Thank you for the informative review!

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Post by Mercy Bolo » 18 Jan 2018, 06:56

Thank you for the detailed review. I like that this is such a well written story and both adult s and teens have something to gain from it.
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Post by CommMayo » 19 Jan 2018, 16:42

Sounds like a great book based on your review. I'm glad you found a book that you so obviously enjoyed!

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Post by gali » 07 Feb 2018, 08:51

A narrative about the life of Sixteen-year-old girl that lives in an abusive house sounds quite a read. It is great that the writing is fluid, the descriptions pay attention to details, and the characters are well drawn. I do not care to read about abuse and infidelity, but I am glad you enjoyed the tale that much. It certainly sounds like a tale gets under the skin of the reader. Thank you for the review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by mercymwas97 » 07 Feb 2018, 09:09

Thanks a lot for the book its enjoyable And it will be an added advantage for the teens to learn alot from it. Surely the review is clear

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Post by KFree_Reads » 07 Feb 2018, 09:13

Great review! I had a chance to read a sample of the book and I was immediately pulled in. This is definitely a story I would love to read and your review has definitely heightened my interest. I really like the way the author takes her time to describe her characters and develop the story. It is always an amazing experience when you can visualize the way in which the characters express themselves as you read. I am really excited about this book! Definitely a unique and intriguing story! Welcome Ironbark Hill to my "want to read list"!

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Post by Snowflake » 07 Feb 2018, 09:17

Thanks for your review. It sounds like you really enjoyed this book. It sounds like an interesting coming of age story. I'm not sure it's my cup of tea though.
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