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Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.

Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#1 by MarisaRose
» 22 Apr 2017, 12:25

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Handful of Destiny" by Tony Nash.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by MarisaRose
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In his novel, A Handful of Destiny, author Tony Nash sheds light on controversial Australian history. After the American Revolution, the British government began transporting convicts to penal colonies on the continent of New Holland (Australia) in order to relieve overcrowding of their prisons. Thomas Nash and his wife Martha are amicable Norfolk farmers, but tenants on their own family land due to the crimes of a black-hearted ancestor. To save the land, the kindly Lord Rainforde provided the family a loan which the Nash descendants have been working to pay off for some 85 years. Just as Thomas is about to be reinstated as rightful owner, the suspicious death of the current Lord Rainforde sees an unworthy and villainous successor take his place. The dishonorable new Rainforde has no wish to give up the Nash family land and falsely accuses Thomas and Martha. The two are then sentenced to New Holland for their crimes. Thomas and Martha face great fear and uncertainty as they embark on their journey to a new land and a life neither could have ever imagined.

Many elements are required to make a successful historical tale come to life, and Nash masterfully transports the reader from the present to the world of the 1780s. From the unsanitary prisons where Thomas and Martha are first kept, to the terrifying bowels of the transport ship, the ‘Jayne Doe,’ and finally to the lush lands of New Holland, the author breathes life into each location with vivid depictions. Further, the author comprehensively constructs the time period through language, physical geography, relevant politics, attitudes and social customs.

Though the world building is exquisite in this book, the plethora of believable characters truly make this one shine. Thomas Nash is an honest man with recognizable human characteristics. His feelings and motives are relatable given the conditions he is forced to live through. Similarly, one of my favorite characters, Banjora, an indigenous man whom Thomas befriends, is a true representation of Australia’s inhabitants during this era. The author expertly kept to the facts when drawing his characters to ensure historical accuracy and a realistic portrayal of the peoples of the past.

The main themes of A Handful of Destiny are reminiscent of those found in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Power, powerlessness, vengeance and absolution are all contemplated within this novel. Further, the historical context and diverse characters lead the reader to contemplate social change. Thomas would not have survived without the help of the various indigenous peoples he encounters throughout his journey. Regrettably, these groups are simultaneously being massacred by settlers with the approval of the newly established government. Through his prose, the author provides a clear message about the impact of the past on modern times.

It can be difficult to standout in the category of historical fiction as many in the genre fail to educate or connect the reader to the past. However, A Handful of Destiny is a masterfully woven tale with all the elements required to bring the past to life. Upon its conclusion, I felt empathy for many of the characters, but I also felt I had gained a better understanding of the historical events surrounding the colonization of Australia. The considerable research put into this book along with the spellbinding plot and endearing characters lead me to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Those who enjoy historical fiction or tales of redemption will be enchanted by Nash’s historically accurate and imaginative prose.

******
A Handful of Destiny
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 23 Apr 2017, 11:44

This is both an enlightening and educational read. I like the fact that it talks about Australia's history. You said that the world building in the book was exquisitely done so I'm interested in learning about how the times were back in the 1780s.

Great Review! 😀
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#3 by MarisaRose
» 23 Apr 2017, 11:49

Amagine wrote:This is both an enlightening and educational read. I like the fact that it talks about Australia's history. You said that the world building in the book was exquisitely done so I'm interested in learning about how the times were back in the 1780s.

Great Review! 😀


Thank you! It really was a pleasure reading this one. I highly recommend it :)
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#4 by kandscreeley
» 23 Apr 2017, 14:48

It sounds like you really enjoyed this book. You also made it sound like something i must read. I'll put it on my list. Thanks for the great review.
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#5 by MarisaRose
» 23 Apr 2017, 14:52

kandscreeley wrote:It sounds like you really enjoyed this book. You also made it sound like something i must read. I'll put it on my list. Thanks for the great review.


I really hope you read this one! It is truly an enthralling tale :)
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#6 by Kitkat3
» 23 Apr 2017, 18:39

Great review! The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorites, so I'll put this in my to read. I really like how you said that the reader gets taken back in time.
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#7 by MarisaRose
» 23 Apr 2017, 21:25

Kitkat3 wrote:Great review! The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorites, so I'll put this in my to read. I really like how you said that the reader gets taken back in time.


Thank you! This really was a wonderful book :)
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#8 by Frances Reid
» 24 Apr 2017, 12:55

This is good, Discribing fully the hstorical event after the American Revolution.
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#9 by Chrys Brobbey
» 24 Apr 2017, 15:08

This is quite a moving and pathetic story. It shows kindness juxtaposed with wickedness in humanity. I need to check it out.
Thanks for an enjoyable review.
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#10 by Guppy
» 25 Apr 2017, 07:27

I like stories about Australia so I'll probably give this a go. Thanks for the great review.
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#11 by Ceciltrixiedom
» 02 May 2017, 20:36

This is very interesting.I am curious about how prisoners are treated in other country.This is something to add to the readers mind about Australi's history...very educational.This is worh reading for.
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#12 by Jaime Lync
» 06 May 2017, 13:12

This book sounds like it would have me talking to the characters ( I do that when I am reading a book that grips me- no I'm not crazy). Awesome review.
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#13 by MarisaRose
» 06 May 2017, 13:14

Jaime Lync wrote:This book sounds like it would have me talking to the characters ( I do that when I am reading a book that grips me- no I'm not crazy). Awesome review.



That is a wonderful way to put it! You will definitely be talking to these characters. Hope you read this one :) thanks for the kind words!
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Re: Official Review: A Handful of Destiny by Tony Nash

Post Number:#14 by CatInTheHat
» 14 May 2017, 14:24

Although I did know that Australia was colonized as a penal colony, I don't know much about the era. This story sounds like a great way to enjoy a fresh story and learn a bit as well.
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