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Beyond the Wild River Paperback – 5 Oct 2017
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Praise for Beyond the Wild River (:)
'Maine writes beautifully about the wilderness' (The Times)
Maine's beautifully detailed descriptions of the American hinterlands provide a stunning setting for this historical tale of intrigue and suspense (Booklist)
Descriptive passages of lush, beautiful landscapes frame Maine's riveting portrait of a thoughtful young woman who yearns for more than is offered by her station and her gender, and the rough-and-tumble young man who is inexorably drawn to her. (Publishers Weekly)
'Maine's gift of setting the mood shines in her latest novel... Fans of Kate Morton's rich-with-atmosphere novels will feel right at home.' (RT Reviews)
Praise for The House Between Tides (:)
There is an echo of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca in Sarah Maine's appealing debut novel (Independent)
A tremendous accomplishment. So assured, so well-judged, and with such an involving story to tell, this might be the author's fifth or sixth novel, not her first. A literary star is born! (Ronald Frame, author of The Lantern Bearers and Havisham)
'...it came as a great surprise to learn that this was the author's debut novel. I predict great things for Sarah Maine.' (The Book Bag)
Scotland's Outer Hebrides provides the sensuous setting for [this] impressive debut...[a] beautifully crafted novel. (Publishers Weekly)
A spellbinding and beautiful novel from a major new voice in fiction, perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent, Eowyn Ivey and Stef Penney.See all Product description
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a) isn’t shiny
b) doesn’t have textured lettering
c) doesn’t feature a heaving bosom, a hank of copper coloured hair or flashing emerald eyes
To add to your confusion, one of the straps compares it to Steff Penney’s Under a Pole Star, which I think is equally misleading, excellent though that book is. The heroine is not eccentric, has had a fairly conventional upbringing and even in the midst of the story does not step very far away from the conventional role of a Victorian woman traveller.
What we have here is an adventure story, peopled by normal (if sometimes unpleasant) human beings reacting to circumstances which are well within the bounds of credibility and it is an excellent story, told well, with complete control of the plot and the characters.
I suppose you could call it an old fashioned adventure story in that it allows the characters, plot and settings to carry you along without resorting to the usual tricks of modern historical novels. The heroine, Evelyn, has no anachronistic yearnings to dominate, just the perfectly understandable dissatisfaction of a future as the wife of a rich man confined to an estate on the Borders. She feels that the wild women of the early Americas might have had a more interesting life. But she doesn’t seize the action and rampage around, she reacts to what happens like a woman of her time.
It is so refreshing.
Equally, the other characters are people, not our caricature vision of the Victorians. Even the villain is just the sad product of the class system and his upbringing, rather than the embodiment of evil. Emotions may be felt, but they are very rarely expressed and that very restraint adds to the power of the story.
I love this book. It is fast paced, intriguing and very satisfying. It would have been very easy to overcook the plot and produce a run of the mill bodice ripping yarn. Instead Sarah Maine has produced a novel that both entertains and satisfies.
The plot shifts to1893,and Charles Ballantyre and his 19 year old daughter Evie are taking a fishing trip in Canada,along the Nipigon river.One of their guides turns out to be James,who has fled to Canada to start a new life.For Evie,who was fond of James before and who has always believed in him,this is a chance to prove his innocence.
It's a good story,and I liked the descriptions of the wild landscape,but it did tend to drag on a bit for me.I kept expecting it to get madly exciting,but I was a bit disappointed there.However,I'll give it 4 stars as it did hold my interest and I liked Evie and James.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Historical fiction
I was intrigued by this tale, a young lady didn't often get the chance for adventure that Evelyn has with the Canada journey.
I really enjoyed the story, its beautifully written, felt very evocative of the time period and the wilderness of the lands. The philosophy that creeps in too, the unfairness of UK laws, where Ballantyre gets taken to task by a poacher of "his" salmon, the dichotomy of whether people can actually own salmon and other creatures just because they're passing through their land. that could be taken further - who says land belongs to them....interesting points and fitted very well within the story as it unfolds.
I liked the mix of people included, and the descriptions of the journey and the camps.
I felt for James, from a child he'd been placed in an unfair situation, and life then was very much dependent on who you were when you were born.
Corruption, bribery, turning a blind eye all played a part if the perpetrators of a crime were wealthy, titled whereas everyone else caught the full throw of the law for tiny offences.
I loved Evelyn, and poor Clemmy, caught up in a journey she really wasn't suited for. Evelyn has a spirit of adventure, Clemmy really belongs in a place where she can be indulged, surrounded by luxuries and cosseted hand and foot!
Evelyn chafed against the restrictions placed on a young lady of the time and fell into the adventure whole-heartedly, happy to rough it and live so very differently.
What I did find hard to take though was that the story was very slow, lacked any real drama in the first 2/3 rds.
We're gradually learning about the mystery of Jacko's death and the repercussions but the story itself, though so beautifully written didn't keep me engaged and i did put it aside several times which is unusual for me. I like to read a book in two or preferably one sitting(s).
Stars: four, a lovely read for the time and descriptions of the wilderness but the story itself lacked pace at times for me
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
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