Natalie's Character Growth

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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ReviewerDiksha
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Natalie's Character Growth

Post by ReviewerDiksha » 04 Apr 2018, 01:53

Throughout the book, we see Natalie going through various events that shape her personality. While for the most part, she was purely innocent and good; by the end, she was more in the grey area. Her stepfather's death scene was the one where I saw that part of her personality come out. And the last line of the book was, in particular, the strong indication of the person she had grown into. I have seen that certain tragedies and traumas slowly build around the personality of a person. Something similar seemed to happen with Natalie. As I mentioned in my review also, in the beginning, I had strong, good feelings for her. But by the end, I wasn't so sure. Something felt unsettling to me.
What do you think about that last line? What are your thoughts on Natalie's overall character arc? What do you think about Alex's death and the ending?

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Post by lesler » 04 Apr 2018, 08:53

The ending gave closure, but it was predictable. I still really liked Natalie's character, and felt connected with her throughout the novel.

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Post by FilmStar » 04 Apr 2018, 13:20

I thought it showed growth that even though she hated Alex, she was still willing to save him after thinking of how her mother felt after Davey's death.

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Post by azerikaj » 08 Apr 2018, 13:37

I thought it was all fairly believable till it all got wrapped up in a big shiny bow at the end.(I mean, I could even buy it more if the couple takes her family off to, say, Melbourne, to live, because Rosemary had her own bf) but the idea that all that could happen and the neighbors and the wife and everybody just lets them all drift in domestic routine...just, not really. Right? And I wanted her to be happy, so last night, I tried hard to believe it. I still don't, though, not down deep.
I thought the book was great, though, one of the best I've read on this forum.

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Post by Libs_Books » 09 Apr 2018, 14:57

I supposed the biggest change in Natalie is her sexual awakening, and her discovery that she can be attractive. She also learns quite a lot about her family background and has to deal with that. I would have liked to see more mature reflection at the end of the book.

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Post by Wise-wonderfulMamaw » 09 Apr 2018, 23:06

Having been raised for several years in an emotional and physical abusive situation, I know you can be driven to the brink of insanity by someone who dominates and demeans you constantly. The beating that Nat went through changed her...how could it not! She could not call on any of her family that cared for her in fear of placing them in mortal danger from Alex. The only true peace she found was in the home of her employer and even though it was misplaced she found in thus household acceptance and affection.

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Post by zilizopita1998 » 10 Apr 2018, 03:23

The author has developed Natalie into a likable character. I felt like identifying with her.

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Post by crediblereading2 » 10 Apr 2018, 15:22

With the role that Natalie plays, it is hard not to admire and like her. Whatever other flaws she may display should be understandable, based on the abusive situation she is faced with.

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Post by melissy370 » 10 Apr 2018, 18:04

The atmosphere that Natalie grew up in did shape her thoughts and actions. I don't see Natalie growing into a bitter and angry person in the story. In fact you can tell in the beginning that was her personality. She already had thoughts of Alex dying then so the ending was not a surprise. What did surprise me was she still did not take responsibility for some of her decisions in the end. That is what irritated me the most.

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Post by heidifinger » 11 Apr 2018, 14:33

I agree that her character changed throughout the book. I felt the author was building her up to show her as a strong woman, but the affair lessened the effect. That is one of the things that did not sit well with this book. It made me think about her more, which might of been the intent of the author. Nobody is perfect I guess and maybe the author was showing that.

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Post by CheyenneR » 11 Apr 2018, 18:42

Overall, I enjoyed Natalie as a character. The only thing that threw me off a little was her admission to being Bruce's lover for all of these years and that his wife knew about it. That part left an odd taste in my mouth but besides that, I felt that she had grown into a decent woman.

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Post by Libs_Books » 12 Apr 2018, 08:56

CheyenneR wrote:
11 Apr 2018, 18:42
Overall, I enjoyed Natalie as a character. The only thing that threw me off a little was her admission to being Bruce's lover for all of these years and that his wife knew about it. That part left an odd taste in my mouth but besides that, I felt that she had grown into a decent woman.
Yes, I agree about that. In one part of the story, Bruce is talking about it all being a secret (classic abuser line) and then suddenly his wife knows and it's all cool. I'm not saying that can never happen, but in real life things are rarely that uncomplicated.

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Post by Izesicle » 12 Apr 2018, 15:14

Character change, even if it's not a positive change for the reader, is a good thing in my opinion because it shows the strength of the author in fleshing out the characters. Even flawed characters are appealing to me because their point of view is fresh. Points of view from Flawed characters and even villains are popular nowadays, like in Gone Girl.

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Post by stacie k » 12 Apr 2018, 15:45

FilmStar wrote:
04 Apr 2018, 13:20
I thought it showed growth that even though she hated Alex, she was still willing to save him after thinking of how her mother felt after Davey's death.
I agree with your comment. Unfortunately, her hesitation rendered her effort useless and she was unable to save him. It seemed to be the thought of her mother, rather than her concern for Alex's life, that spurred her to action.
“The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.” Proverbs 15:2a

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Post by cpru68 » 16 Apr 2018, 20:32

While I do not condone murder or not doing all you can to help a person who is facing peril, I didn't find her reaction to Alex's death a surprise. All along the way, I felt compassion for her as she was becoming hardened to her feelings from all the abuse that had gone on in her house. The reader was given slight glimpses here and there of her happiness like when she received the dress from her mom. But, it had to be done in secret so Alex wouldn't know. The witty hiding of her prized heifer so Alex wouldn't know. Much of her life was being lived from a standpoint of not letting Alex on to what she was really doing because every little thing about her set him off. So, when he reveals that he knows about her and Mr. Glover, her response and instinct from all the years of hiding things from him are to cover it up. Unfortunately, Alex's death was her way of covering up what she was doing. She was actually just walking in the way that she had been programmed to walk. And, to those who had not endured the torment that she was going through, it looks like she doesn't care. But, this man had been allowed to terrorize her family by a mom who let it go on. So, I think in her mind, she was just doing the only thing she knew to do to protect herself like she had been doing all along. Sad way to live for sure.
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