May 19, 2014

Book Review ~ Heartland by Jenny Pattrick

Title: Heartland
Author: Jenny Pattrick
Release Date: April 4th 2014
Publisher: Random House NZ
Imprint: Black Swan
Source: Received from the publisher via BooksellersNZ for an honest review

‘Donny Mac was released at Eastertime, about a month before Pansy Holloway, also known as Nightshade, disappeared for good.'

After a short stint in prison on trumped-up charges, Donny Mac returns to the house left to him by his grandfather in the small settlement of Manawa, in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu. Now inhabited by a handful of colourful locals, the once prosperous milling town is only bustling in the ski season when the out-of-towners arrive.

Awaiting his return is the drunken and pregnant Nightshade, who claims Donny is the father. Donny's friends keep watch anxiously: the lace-making Bull Howie; Vera who can be seen every evening wheeling Bull's dinner in a pram down to his house in her own version of meals on wheels; farmer George Kingi and his fey four-year-old daughter Lovey; and the strange elderly sisters who have moved in next door. Also watching is the Virgin Tracey, a sixteen-year-old hiding out in one of the abandoned houses, with her own tiny baby.

When an accident threatens to put Donny back into prison, he and the Virgin Tracey come up with a solution to cover it up. But can the secret remain hidden?

My Thoughts

Heartland is the story of a sleepy little town.
A town of old stalwarts set in their ways; of busybodies, bullies, no-hopers and townies.
A town full of secrets and lies.

Heartland is the story of a lost and broken teenager, saving a slow and misunderstood ex-con from himself, and in doing so they reunite a forgotten family, forge lifelong friendships, and find the strength to face their own demons and truly be themselves.

Author Jenny Pattrick has created a completely believable small town in New Zealand and filled it with lovingly quirky and original characters. I was quickly engrossed by this motley crue of townsfolk, their individual stories were carefully and beautifully woven together in a thoroughly engrossing tale that captivated me from the start.

An easy to read, eloquently written story, Heartland turned out to be a real gem of a read. Full to brimming characters that reminded me of a number of my old rural neighbors mixed in with the almost Chinese-whisper-like tales that only a small town can conjure up made for an entertaining read and a small trip down memory lane for me.

I would have no hesitation recommending this book to many of my friends as I feel it crosses several genres and does so well enough to keep mystery, romance, literature - in fact, all book fans happy!

A slow paced sleepy town, but by no means a sleepy story – 4 stars.


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