Beyond The Bay #bookreview

  • AUTHOR – Rebecca Burns
  • PUBLISHER – Odyssey Books
  • PAGES – 244
  • SUBJECTS – Fiction, Cultural Heritage

The night before Esther’s shop was due to dock, her sister dreamed of her.

Auckland at the turn of the century. A city on the cusp of change. Isobel, a settler of ten years, waits for her sister to cross the ocean to join her. Separated by distance, disappointments and secrets, the women reunite in a land where the rules of home fo not apply. Women push for the vote and the land offers opportunity and a future for those brave enough to take it. But some secrets run to deep, some changes too shocking to embrace. Against this backdrop of uncertainty and promise, Isobel and Esther have to determine what – and who means the most.

Thank you to Henry Roi at Odessy Books for my copy of the ebook for my honest review.

The story follows the lives of two sisters meeting after ten years apart. At first the story feels very awkward and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it or not, it felt kind of rigid and like I was imposing on someones life, sticking my nose where it was not wanted. I couldn’t connect with either Isobel or Esther and did wonder myself if I would make it to then…,

But I plodded on and I am so glad I did, I found myself 30% the way through the book when I finally connected with Isobel, I felt sorry for her, made to move across the other side of the world because her mother didn’t approve of her marriage, she had nothing, despite the lies she wrote of in her letters home and her marriage now was also a sham. She found that her Mother too had lied to her, well maybe not lied but kept things from her like deaths in the family and fortunes inherited, her family back home in England living the high life while she struggles day by day,

The further into the book you get the worse it is for Isobel, she had a glimmer of hope that maybe she could have her sisters unborn baby after reading a letter her mother had slipped into her sisters trunk. This didn’t sit very well with me, it annoyed me how bitter Isobel was towards her mother and her mothers ways yet she was selfish enough at one point to will the baby to be ok after birth over her sister so she could bring it up as her own.

I did not connect at all with Esthers character and I should have willed that Esther and Jack (Isobel’s landlord) got together but I didn’t and I wanted Isobel to get with him and find her happy ever after, however I did feel for Esther when Isobel and Jack had a moment…, I just wished he would have chose her in the end over Esther. That being said, I do hate it when there is a good story of hurt and pain and then all of the sudden they get the happy ever after they wanted as it always comes across as false to me so in a way I’m glad the story ended the way it did.

The book was continuously good throughout, it had a steady pace and although I wondered if it would possibly be a book I would not finish I found myself intrigued throughout to find out what the next chapter holds. Then at 90% way through the book turned into a could not put down, the ending was most definitely the best part of the book for me.. it was edgy and fast paced which is my usual type of read but I would definitely give this book a read if you like cultural heritage.


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