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Sentence of Marriage: Promises to Keep: 1 Paperback – 24 Jul 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (24 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478288892
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478288893
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (710 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 307,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write historical novels set in New Zealand, starting in the 1880s. I'm currently working on my sixth book, this one covering the years from 1918 to 1923. I'm fascinated by social history, particularly that of my own country.

I was born in New Zealand, and apart from two years in England have lived here all my life. I'm married to my childhood sweetheart, who grew up in the farming valley that's the inspiration for my imaginary one.

We have a few acres in the countryside, where we have an orchard and a large vegetable garden, and a small flock of sheep to keep the grass down. We make our own wine, cider, jams, jellies and sauces.

More about the background to my books at www.ShayneParkinson.com

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

268 of 272 people found the following review helpful By Booklover on 29 April 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I picked this book up because it was free at the time and I thought it sounded quite interesting. Within a few pages I was totally hooked.

The story revolves around the life of a New Zealand farm girl at the end of the 19th century. Amy has a good life until a new stepmother arrives and turns her family's life upside down. Amy's story is not an easy one to read and there were times when I wanted to get into the book and give her a good talking to. The detail within the story is fantastic and the author's writing style is descriptive and easy to read.

This book is the first in a trilogy and if you enjoy this one you will definitely be buying the next two as they literally carry on from each other (to the point that I wonder if they were originally one big book).

If you like a good family saga then this would be a good choice for you.
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By daisyduck1976 on 2 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I LOVED this book! Shayne Parkinson has done a fantastic job of painting a picture of the life of a 19th century New Zealand farm girl. I found myself absolutely enchanted with the comings and goings of Amy's family within minutes of starting to read this book.
It's effectively a historical family saga, so there are highs, lows, surprises, romances, betrayals and more. Added to all of this, there are interesting insights into farm life at that time, something that I knew little about. The character of Amy is very easy to engage with. She seems perfect at first, but is ultimately as flawed as any teenage girl trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between girl and woman. All the characters are very clearly portrayed, even the very minor ones. So much so, that I can picture them all in my mind and towards the end, I started to feel that I actually knew and understood them.
I sympathised with Amy, laughed at Lizzie her cousin, loved to hate Susannah her step-mother, felt exasperated with Jack her father and found myself whizzing through what is quite a long book, at an amazing rate because I was so engrossed in the plot.

I can't recommend this highly enough. There are very few stories of this type around and even fewer that are so well-written. I'm so glad to see that there are 3 more books in the series for me to read. I'm looking forward to all of them!

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Kindle edition: very well-formatted, no errors or problems that I could see :)
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Carol 'avid little bookworm' on 31 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Where oh where do I start with this review, I just can't bring myself to say I loved it, there were just too many upsetting and disturbing events but I was truly moved by reading this book and just couldn't put it down. The writing was excellent - descriptive; I had no difficulty conjuring up the environment and it moved at a good pace. I never felt as though the author was `padding it out' making it a compelling read for me, reading way way way into the early hours of the morning.

It was an absolute roller coaster of emotions all the way through this novel - anger; just at the sheer injustice of so many events and peoples actions - sad; for Amy, so loving and trusting and filled with integrity, which yes was to be admired but at times lead to her being taken serious advantage of and shouldering both blame and consequences of other peoples actions. And made me a little down at times; how much sorrow can one person take?

This is where I depart from the opinions of so many other reviewers in that, having just finished this book, I won't be rushing to download the author's next book JUST YET. Yes, I know I will download it eventually, but at the moment I'm left feeling too raw. Of course this is why this is such a good book, the characters were so well-crafted they were believable. Also, the story does finish abruptly leaving me wondering if the sequel was written at the same time?

Yes I do highly recommend both this book and the author, but do suggest caution if you're already feeling down or a little depressed and especially if you've experienced problems with child birth at any time. It's not a feel good read; well certainly not in this particular book of the saga but excellent regardless.
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70 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Claire Simmonds on 27 Jan. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first of four books (currently) about the same families living in the rural Bay of Plenty in newly colonized New Zealand. Parkinson is already working on the fifth, set during the first world war. I bought it as I've just returned from NZ, and the book was free to download. I've since gone on to purchase the other three books for about £2 each and am enjoying the series, although have not been blown away. While definite value for money I wouldn't have spent much more on them.
Parkinson has a lovely way of writing, especially conversations between characters. They are realistic and not rushed. I'd say that 85% of the books are made up of 'talking', which is easy to read, but hardly constitutes a great writer.
The main characters are well-developed, not always likeable and varying enough to maintain interest. But crikey there are some cliches. You've got the 'strong' female protagonist, the irritating but likeable friend, the slightly dim but dependable love interest, the 'nasty' love interest, and the evil step-mother (yes really). As you move into the later books the list increases. You can also see all of the plot 'twists' coming a mile off. In the fourth book I predicted a later scene almost word for word.
Although the writing itself doesn't feel rushed, the pace is far too quick, with entire years passing by in about 10 pages. The couples have so many children its difficult to keep track of who belongs to who, and as time rushes by so quickly you get no clear image of the characters. The prose, of which there is not a lot, can be rather boring sometimes and I've found myself skim-reading some parts.
BUT there is something about these books that keeps me reading, often well into the night. Despite the obvious flaws, they are intensely readable.
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