4 out of 4 stars
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Incredible book! This is an extremely vibrant depiction of a young girl’s struggle. I enjoyed reading this story much more than anticipated. It has been some time since I last read something that kept me up late into the evenings. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane is an amazing account of a young girl growing up being a little different from everyone else. It is an account from Natalie’s point of view. Jennie paints details of her daily life including how she deals with racism, financial difficulties, and blended family problems. Natalie lives with her devoted mother, siblings, loving grandfather, and her abusive and alcoholic step-father. This story wonderfully addresses issues faced when one is different; such as being disabled, multiracial, or having speech problems.
As I read about the various hurdles faced by Natalie, I found myself cheering her on even through the times when she was defiant and doing the wrong things. This author definitely has the ability to make the reader feel the emotions of the characters in her book! It made me angry at times and brought me to tears at others. I feel Natalie was so protective of her cow Libby because she felt so helpless to protect and care for her family and herself.
Natalie misses her father, who has passed away, dearly. However, she cannot even bear the sight of her step-father, Alex anymore because of the way he treats her mother as well as how he is constantly bullying and intimidating her. However, she does not allow this to diminish her determination and persistent protection over her family and her cow, Libby. There is nothing but admiration for the way she defends her siblings that have disabilities and teaches them to be proud of who they are and to never lose hope.
Natalie has a low opinion of herself throughout the story and struggled to accept the genuine compliments of others. Her mentor and employer, Mrs. Glover, encouraged her to follow her dream of being an artist and taught her the foundational basics to build on. It’s while working for the Glovers that Natalie becomes very close to Mr. Glover and develops feelings for him…but does he even notice her?
Overall, an amazing story that pulls your heart strings throughout its entirety. I highly recommend this book as well as the author if you enjoy a dramatic read.
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