Official Review: River Kids by Jennie Linnane

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.
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stacie k
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Latest Review: River Kids by Jennie Linnane

Official Review: River Kids by Jennie Linnane

Post by stacie k » 28 Nov 2018, 15:29

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "River Kids" by Jennie Linnane.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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River Kids, written by Jennie Linnane, is a historical fiction novel set in Australia in the mid-twentieth century. It could also be considered a coming-of-age story as it is told from the perspective of Annie Hughes and covers her entire childhood until she is on the threshold of adulthood and her dream of becoming a nurse. Annie is the second of nine children born to Jack and Margo Hughs. Although Annie was born shortly before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, the Hughs children were insulated from the war in their home at Oyster Bay. This village-like community is the backdrop to an engaging story of the growing Hughs family in an evolving period of history after World War II.

What I liked most about River Kids was its cast of memorable characters. Jack, Annie’s father, was portrayed as a hard-working chef and a fun-loving practical joker with a peculiar sense of humor. Margo, Annie’s mother, was also a hard worker characterized by a soft heart, kind spirit, and practical nature. Their flaws were not hidden but rather added to the authenticity of the story as they faced the consequences of their moments of anger, jealousy, and pride. It was a pleasure to read about the family’s interactions with the people of the community, such as Fast Fred, Humphrey Smithers (Smitto), Mrs. Next Door, Ruthie, and Sister Agatha. Readers will laugh at the fun, be entertained by the tomfoolery, be frightened by the close calls, and feel sadness at the losses experienced by this family and community.

In addition to the authentic characters, I loved the historical elements interwoven with the story. Family gathered around the “wireless” to hear the programs, which was later replaced by the television. Their food was stored in an ice chest with periodic ice delivery. When their needs exceeded the capacity of the ice chest, they upgraded to a refrigerator. Picnics and boat outings were great entertainment, as was exploring the outdoors. New technology of the kerosene heater and the washing machine brought ecstatic happiness to Margo. The death of King George VI brought sadness to the family and community, whereas Johnnie Ray, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe were sensations.

I have no criticism to offer, other than my sadness about the seed of discontent that grew between the Hughs family and their neighbors next door. Unfortunately, they never could reconcile their differences and become friends, and this eventually led to the Hughs selling their beloved home. However, this also contributed to the authenticity of the story.

River Kids appears to be professionally edited as I found no grammatical errors and only a few punctuation mishaps such as missing or extra periods or commas. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy stories of family relationships and the nostalgia of a world in simpler times. For its historical accuracy, relatable characters, and excellent presentation, I award 4 out of 4 stars.

******
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Post by TJanowski23 » 29 Nov 2018, 07:58

This seems like a great book. I like the theme of close families and neighborhoods. It takes me back to my childhood. Thanks for the review!

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Post by cpru68 » 29 Nov 2018, 08:47

Isn’t this author so talented? I have read two of her books, and I absolutely love the way she describes scenes and gets the emotions across. This one sounds like an absolute delight, so I will have to add it to my want to read list.
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Post by kandscreeley » 29 Nov 2018, 09:05

Annie is the second of nine children?? I can't even imagine. I love that the characters in this are so well-done. A good coming of age novel intrigues me every once in a while. I'll keep this in mind for when the mood strikes again. Thanks!
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Post by gen_g » 29 Nov 2018, 09:35

This seems like a really well-rounded book! I love that the author manages to weave in tiny little historical details like crowding around the wireless to contribute to its authenticity, which makes me more immersed in the story. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Espie » 30 Nov 2018, 05:53

Relatable characters and historical tinges are notable elements of this piece. I think this is another Linnane work I should place in my ever-growing Want to Read list. Thank you for your descriptive review.
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Post by T_stone » 30 Nov 2018, 20:54

A good coming-of-age story with very relatable characters. I think I'll check this one out. Thanks for the review
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Post by Kajori50 » 01 Dec 2018, 09:25

I always like to read a good historical novel. The fact that this is centred around a family makes it all the more appealing.

Thank you for the great review.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 01 Dec 2018, 23:08

In addition to the authentic characters, I loved the historical elements interwoven with the story. Family gathered around the “wireless” to hear the programs, which was later replaced by the television. Their food was stored in an ice chest with periodic ice delivery. When their needs exceeded the capacity of the ice chest, they upgraded to a refrigerator. Picnics and boat outings were great entertainment, as was exploring the outdoors. New technology of the kerosene heater and the washing machine brought ecstatic happiness to Margo. The death of King George VI brought sadness to the family and community, whereas Johnnie Ray, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe were sensations.
Wow--I love this description! Sounds like a great story. Well done, Stacie.

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Post by Jgideon » 03 Dec 2018, 03:29

Sounds like a fun read. The author has done a great job in developing the characters. The use of historical facts in developing the story is also commendable.

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Post by Shrabastee » 03 Dec 2018, 22:22

This sounds like a beautiful novel that depicts the everyday life of a well-knit family set in Australia. I admire the simplicities in their life, and how authentically the author portrayed them. Thanks for the great review. I will read this book.
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Post by SpencerVo » 06 Dec 2018, 00:25

After reading your review, I think this is a "gentle book" which will rekindle the warmth in your heart and remind you of family and childhood memories. The historical elements sound interesting enough, so I will check this book out if I have the time to.

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Post by Hamid Shah » 12 Dec 2018, 07:51

After reading your book I think it is book of great efforts and strong emotions towards childhood and family.

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Post by Sarah Tariq » 13 Dec 2018, 09:55

The story of a family that bears the aftermath of WWII sounds interesting. I like historical fictions with a good plot. I think this one is one of them. Great review as always. :)
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Post by Fozia-Bajwa » 13 Dec 2018, 14:42

The novel consisting of a story of a girl Annie who wants to be a nurse and her childhood has been described here. This is a historical fiction novel because it consists on the River Kids in AustraliA.

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