4 out of 4 stars
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A very enjoyable book about a young girl, Natalie, on the cusp of 16 years and giving us a glimpse into her life, past and present. She lives at Ironbark Hill, with her mum, Irma, her stepdad, Alex, her 2 siblings and her grandpa who is very dear to her. She loves her family, but hates her stepfather, Alex, because of the cruelty he has exhibited toward her mother and her in the last few years. She finds, in herself, a desire to protect her mother and siblings and because of that, often stands up to her stepfather’s anger.
The farm has been in the family for generations and doing very well until grandpa had to give it up into Alex’s care, but because of Alex’s neglect of the place, it has led to a very difficult and impoverished existence. In the midst of all this she struggles with the question of what really happened to her Dad and so she goes about trying to find the answer.
She attends school in the local town and has an after school job cleaning house for a well-to do couple. As she lives through that year, we get to see her develop into a beautiful young lady and discover wonderful things about herself. We also discover that she has been telling her story as an older woman reminiscing about that particular year and the events that took place.
I would rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars. I gave it this rating because the writing was intriguing and so interesting. As I read on I was always wanting to know what would happen next. The ways in which she described scenes was made alive with her use of “like or as” often using these with comparisons that would amaze with the creativity of it. The vocabulary she used was enjoyable and challenging to me as I had to often look up some the words used to check the definitions which I did not mind at all because I felt it was so well written.
Something else that intrigued me was her use of vocabulary native to the area in which it took place. It gave to me a sense of authenticity of the story.
I believe this book would appeal to those who enjoy reading about families and the intricacies of relationships, good and bad. It would also appeal to those who are entertained by how people in other cultures might deal with situations in their lives.
I did not encounter any mistakes in the book, such as might happen in the publishing of the book.
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