Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review: Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate


Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon | Kindle
Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate
 
Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.

I must say that I should never start a book when I have just moved into a new house! chances are very high that no matter how good the book, I simply will be so tired that I cannot concentrate enough and the book will be put down. Now considering that I generally start and finish a book within 24-36 hours, Blue Moon Bay got the rough end of the deal. This book would have been finished the day after I started reading it if I wasn’t so crazy busy and darned tired from the move.

However I am very glad to say that I did put the book down and stopped reading until I was mentally ready to read again. I did finish it within 24 hours. I spent much of the book as bewildered and frustrated as Heather was about the family secrets being kept from her upon her arrival at Moses Lake. I wanted to march over to her mother and brother and demand to know what they were keeping from Heather. Heather wanted to wring their necks a time or two and I must say that I would have too if I were in her position.

Lisa takes readers on a slow journey to Moses Lake and we get to understand the history of this place and just why Heather dislikes it so much. But does she really? Or is she running from memories and long held prejudices? Things are not as they seem with almost everyone connected with Heather, including her high school crush Blaine Underhill, who appears to also be keeping secrets from her. As she unravels the secrets she discovers that her past and future are not as she envisions.

I have fallen in love with Lisa’s Texas world and can’t help but want to visit this fictional place, filled with odd characters and a long history. I ultimately love small towns and Moses Lake is up there as one of my favourite places. Heather’s journey is not simple, it is at times gut wrenchingly hard and she comes to realize that things are never quite as they seem, in fact they might be better than she first thought.

I hope Lisa returns her reader’s to Moses Lake. I for one will be itching to get back.

PS – I really like Blaine Underhill. Who hasn’t longed for a chance to spend time with the high school crush you admired from a far many years ago?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Morning Musings: The Power of Expectation

Do you ever find expectations seriously affect your enjoyment of something? Either for the better, or the worse? The more enjoyable outings or events of my life are usually the most spontaneous ones - those spur of the moment, "Hey, let's go do this!" sort of things. Whereas a lot of long planned events end up disappointing me. I've often thought about this, and come to the conclusion it's all about the expectation. The further away an event is, the longer I have to think about it, which means the longer I have to form an expectation about how it will turn out. The event may turn out all well and good in the end, but may not feel like it was as successful as I was expecting when I've had a long time to wait for it. Although the negative is also true - sometimes I have terrible expectations for something, only to find it wasn't that bad afterall! 

A few weeks ago, I watched the movie "The Tourist" with my mum and my friend. We really enjoyed it. We found it funny and enjoyable. I spoke to my sister the next day, mentioned we'd watched it and her reply was rather incredulous: "Oh really? That's supposed to be rubbish." 


Later I trawled through some reviews, and yes, it appears this movie was not rated very highly. (The average rating on the website Rotten Tomatoes, for example, is 1 star!) My friend, my mum and I couldn't work out why. We thought it was great! 

I'm guessing it comes down to expectation. I didn't have any, to be honest. We were just browsing the video rental shop for something to watch, and "The Tourist" was something none of us had seen, and appeared to be interesting enough. We were not looking for something mind blowing, just something to pass the evening. 

I'm also guessing that most people would have certain expectations about a mystery type movie staring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. Maybe thoughts of "Mr & Mrs Smith" would cross people's mind, and so they might have expected more action. We found most of the humour in "The Tourist" was in the dialogue, and it helps if you know a little bit of Spanish or Italian :)

Naturally, there's the possibility that my mum, my friend and I all have strange tastes in movies, or we're just easily amused, and that the movie truly is rubbish.  But I wonder, what would have happened if we'd heard about the bad reviews before we watched the movie? Would we have enjoyed it less? Would we have bothered watching it at all?


Would love to hear of any pleasant surprises you've had - particularly if they relate to the book world!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

February Feature Author and Book Giveaway: Alison Strobel

I’m super excited to have Alison Strobel here today as our first feature author of 2012. She’s a lovely lady with an awesome God given talent for writing books and she is one of my favourite authors!

Today we're giving away not one, but two of Alison's books to two lucky winners.  See the end of this interview for how to enter.

alison
Thanks so much Alison for joining us on our blog today.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Any hobbies you have?
 
I'm a mom of two awesome daughters, married for 9 (!) years this August to my 100th eHarmony.com match Daniel, and am a slightly crazed crochet fanatic.


You write Contemporary Women’s Fiction, what has drawn you to this genre?
 
When I first began writing novels in my early 20's, I wasn't aware of the women's fiction genre. I just knew I wasn't a fan of romances, but didn't mind a little romantic element here or there--really, though, I just wanted meaty stories that challenged me as a reader, didn't shy away from tough subjects, and were centered around characters who were really real.

When I had the idea for Worlds Collide, which I wrote just for kicks, I wrote it as the kind of book I wanted to read--a little romance (though, compared to my other books, that one had a lot of romance!), real characters, and tough situations. Later I learned there was a name for what I was writing!

Jess: I only recently learned the name of your genre too!
  

Your books contain characters whose faith journeys are difficult, honest and just real. I’m constantly being reminded by God through your books to put Him first in everything. How do you get these amazing people onto paper? I guess, what inspires you to create these characters?
 
I love creating characters! The process I use to outline my novels (Christian author Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method) also includes 3 steps that help you think through your characters as well. With each step I'm challenged to think a little deeper about who they are, what drives them, what their background and history is like, what they're really hoping to get out of the time that is conveyed in the story. I do a lot of work, a lot more than the Snowflake Method teaches, to make these people as real as they can be, but it's because I can't work with them if I don't know them inside and out.

The plot of a book can be absolutely amazing, but if the people are two dimensional or simply not believable, then the plot alone won't keep people turning the pages. I want my readers to feel as though they've engaged with a real person when they've read my books--and when I get reader mail that says things like, "I keep praying for these people and then remembering they're not real!" then I know I've hit my mark.

Jess: It’s so true about being able to connect with your characters. I get so mad at them sometimes yet I fully sympathise with them as well!
 

How much time do you usually spend on the research element for your books? Do you visit locations and conduct interviews?

All told, I probably spend close to a couple weeks researching, maybe more, but it's all spread out through the process of outlining and writing the novel. As I go through the Snowflake Method steps, I think of things I need to research, and I keep a list of them to which I add more and more questions the further I get in the outlining process. Then, once I'm done with my outlining, I usually try to spend a few days just tracking down the answers to as many questions as I can. Sometimes I'm stuck waiting for answers from people I've emailed, in which case I just have to wait until they get back to me, and other times I won't realize I have something to research until I start writing. My Facebook fan group members will often see a research question posted from me while I'm writing--anything from "Do they call the evening meal supper or dinner in the South?" to "Is it possible to buy real estate without revealing your identity?" I love engaging my readers in my research because I usually get fast answers (and lots of them!) but also because I enjoy partnering with my readers to write the stories they want to read.

If I had the money, I'd fly to every setting I ever used in a book, but unfortunately I'm not that rich. :) Instead, I use Google Maps quite frequently, and will also put out a call for people who have lived in those areas to answer questions that are specific to the location. And when I figure out what kind of career my character has, I'll ask around to find someone in that field who would be willing to answers questions from me about their job while I'm writing. That's as close as I usually get to interviewing people, and really they're not interviews, more like emails of 3 or 4 questions that help me solve a specific issue within the story.

Jess: Sounds like a fun and interesting research journey that you go on. Yeah, if I could, I’d fly to all the places I want to set my stories in!
 

Can you tell us about any of your current works in progress, and any books that are coming out soon?

Right now I'm between contracts and publishing houses, so nothing is scheduled to come out any time soon, which makes me sad! BUT, I'm working on a new novel tentatively titled "The House That Built Me," which was inspired by the song of the same name by country music singer Miranda Lambert. It's about a young NYC lawyer who gets let go from her corporation when they downsize and takes off for her grandmother's home in Alabama to try to seek clarity and direction for the next phase of her life. Of course, nothing goes the way she expects it to, and she ends up learning a huge family secret and rediscovering an old friendship that had formed during the summer spent there as a child.

Jess: It sounds great and I hope it gets published soon so I can read it :D


What books did you read as a teenager?

Mostly stuff for school--I was always in the advanced English classes (surprise, surprise, right?) and of course that came with a lot of reading, so it was usually lots of classics. But whenever I had time to read whatever I wanted, I was pretty eclectic--Madeline L'Engle's adult contemporary novels, mysteries, books from "The Best Novels of Such and Such Year" lists, pop classics like Gone With The Wind, that sort of thing. 




Whose writing do you admire?

William Gibson, Jodi Picoult, and Douglas Coupland are my three favorites. Gibson is *amazing* with description and narration; Picoult is wonderful to study for symbolism, rhythm, and figurative language; and Coupland is a genius at connecting with current culture.


When you get writers block, what do you do to try and get out of it?

Because I get so little time to write (I get 3.5-4 hours, 4 times a week) I don't really have the luxury of falling prey to writer's block. I *have* to get as much writing in during those hours as I can, and it means I can't let myself just sit there. When I have a momentary brain freeze, I go back over my last page and read it, usually out loud, which somehow helps me to reconnect with what I'm writing. And the fact that I outline my books to such a fine level of detail means that I'm almost never left staring at the screen wondering what should happen next. I know every scene in the book before I ever start writing the first draft, and I know much of the detail of those scenes as well. It helps tremendously when I start writing, because I don't have to stop and think about what has to happen, and I can concentrate more on crafting the language.


Jess: That’s a great system you’ve got!


If you could be any fictional book character for a day, who would you be, and why?

Oh wow, fun question! Um...it would be a toss-up between Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) and my own Grace Winslowe from Worlds Collide. I adore the Avonlea setting of the Anne books, and that more simple pace of life, but on the flip side, I am a sucker for celebrity and Hollywood and would love to see what it's like to live the life of the rich and famous (which, honestly, is part of why I wrote that book in the first place!).

Jess: Anne Shirley is one of my favourite book characters also. I crack up so much at her melodrama and theatrics – perhaps that’s because I identify with her!


What do you know about Australia, and is there anything in particular you would like to see if you came for a visit?

I am sad to say that most of my more recent knowledge of Australia comes from the many, many episodes of The Wiggles that my girls have watched. :D But my father has been blessed to visit there once or twice, and I've heard lots of great stories. It's high on my list of places I want to visit before I die--when I do, can I stay with you? :D I'd love to go to the Great Coral Reef (if I can see it while snorkelling; not sure I'm brave enough to go scuba-diving!), see a show at the Sydney Opera House, visit the Outback, and go to as many museums as possible. But mostly I'd just want to hang out with Australians and see what its like to be them. I love learning about new cultures, especially when someone from that culture is there to guide me.


Jess: If you ever get here Alison you’d be most welcome to stay with me! :D And yes you can see the reef by snorkelling :) (Not that I have yet ...)

Thank you Alison for coming by and having a chat with us!


Find Alison on the Web

http://www.alisonstrobel.com/ 

Alison's Books



Book Giveaway!


We are giving away a copy of "The Heart of Memory" (see our review) and "Composing Amelia" (see our review) to two entrants.
To enter the competition, all you need to do is complete the form below.  You must be aged 18 years or older.  Entries must include a valid email address, or we won't be able to contact you if you win :)  Entries are void where prohibited.
All information provided remains confidential and will not be given to any third party.  Your email address will only be used by Book Review Sisters to contact you in the event that you win.
If you are contacted and advised you are the winner, you will have 1 week to provide us with the address for postage of your prize.

Entries close Thursday 23rd February 2012

Optional Extra Entries!
  1. "Like" our Book Review Sisters Facebook and get 1 bonus entry in the draw
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  3. Follow us with Google Friend Connect (see left sidebar) and get 1 bonus entry in the draw
  4. Tweet about this post and get 1 bonus entry in the draw
If you opt in for any of these bonus entries, please indicate so by ticking the appropriate boxes on the form.

Please also leave a comment on the post after filling out the entry form.  Alison (and we!) would love your feedback and to know you've dropped by.



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Review: Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon | Kindle
The one thing this book emphasises is that if you wait until your daughter is a teenager before teaching her about modesty and sex, you’re too late.  This book outlines why the “tween” years – ages 8 to 12, is when you really should be having those tough talks (in appropriate ways).

Gresh has spoken with countless mothers and teens and seen first hand how materialism and sexualisation is destroying the lives of our girls.  As a mum of two girls myself, I was quite scared by the stories Gresh shares.  But I think burying our heads in the sand and pretending things don’t go on, isn’t going to make them go away.  And it isn’t going to equip us with the tools we need to help prepare our girls for the tumultuous teen years.

There are no fool proofed methods and no guarantees for getting your daughter through her teen years without sexual promiscuity, eating disorders and depression.  However, Gresh outlines six ways in which we can radically reduce the chances of these heartbreaking scenarios.  Gresh uses sound Biblical principles as the basis for all her methods.  She has also correlated findings from non-Christian resources to backup her conclusions regarding the dangers facing girls today.

My daughters are still very young, but I can see now the value of instilling virtues and faith from the beginning.  I plan on re-reading this book several times in the coming years, particularly in readiness for their tween and teen years.

If you have daughters aged 6-12 years of age, I can’t recommend this book enough.  If your daughters are already teenagers, you can still find a lot of valuable advice.  It’s easy to read and offers practical suggestions on how to really connect with your daughter and how to manage the challenges the world throws their way.

*********** SPECIAL PRICE ALERT ***********

The kindle ebook version of Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Little Girl is currently only $2.99 Great time to grab this gem of a book!

Don't have a kindle? You can download the Kindle software onto pretty much any device - your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android device etc.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Morning Musings: My books and I

The day my husband and I have been anticipating for the last 8 weeks finally arrived – we moved into our new house! It’s been 10 days since we moved in and our house is pretty much together. Last night was the first night that I got to unpack my books! I haven’t seen them in about 3 months.

Pulling them out of the boxes and lining them up alphabetically along my bookshelf was like a little slice of heaven. It felt like I was catching up with old friends as I pulled out the books. Many exclamations of “Aha! There it is!” or “Oh, I haven’t seen you in ages!” were spouted in the two hours it took me to alphabetize just my fiction books.

I’ve decided that in honour of the return of my library I found a couple of pictures that reflect the kind of library that I want to eventually have in our new home.

As you can see I like white and uncluttered!
1049 2010 2012 2013
pictures taken from: http://www.beautiful-libraries.com/index.html

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review: Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon | Kindle
Book Synopsis from http://www.colleencoble.com/

For Eden, hope is rekindled when her estranged husband delivers the astounding news: that their lost baby girl has been found.

Years ago Eden and Clay Larson’s baby was stolen. Kidnappers demanded a ransom, but something went horribly wrong at the exchange: the kidnapper’s car crashed into the river and was never recovered. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.

To discover the truth, the couple becomes counsellors to the girls at Bluebird Ranch. They move into small quarters in the bunkhouse and oversee the kids as they try to find out more. As they work together, their love for the children grows and their love for each other is rekindled. But as danger closes in, Eden and Clay realize they’ve been lured to this remote West Texas location; their lives and the lives of the little girls are in danger. But as Eden learns, “hope does not disappoint.”

This is the fourth book in Colleen’s Lonestar Series. Colleen has said that Lonestar Angel is her favourite in the series and I have to say it’s mine too. Right off the bat I took to this one more than any others in the Series (not that I didn’t enjoy them, just seem to connect with this one better). I think the main reason was the Eden and Clay are already married. Whilst in the previous three books all the marriages were ones of convenience. This was Colleen’s intention all along, but I always found modern day marriages of convenience difficult to swallow. I can always buy a marriage of convenience in a historical book, just modern ones are harder to accept.

I liked the fact that Clay and Eden, although married don’t really know each other. Watching them get to know each other after five years apart was fun and interesting. As always, I liked Clay. Colleen has a habit of writing great male leads and Clay is right up there with them. He’s a man of action, a problem solver who is not used to showing his emotions. This leads him to be perceived as businesslike or someone just doing his duty with no love in the act. When really he is loving by doing those acts, he just can’t find the words to express it. He does find those words to give Eden in the end! 

For me this book is the best of the Lonestar Series.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Morning Musings: Something Country

I’m a girl from the country. When I say that don’t start imagining me on a farm riding horses or herding cattle ( I have done both and I didn’t do it well). Instead picture a house in town that’s a short walk from the main street. I love the quiet life of a country town and the big, wide open spaces. I love being able to bump into people you know just about every time you leave the house.

album-wide-open-spacesI might not have lived on a farm, but most country people enjoy country music, right? I did not. Too much exposure to bad country music left a bitter taste in my mouth. That was until I was 16 when my good friend Ellie put on the Dixie Chicks and I was hooked! I give her total credit for my love of country music which is now more than 10 years in the making. Helen still believes it’s a “phase” :)

Now you’re probably thinking that I will be talking to you about Australian Country Music, which has it’s own strong market and flavour down under. Whilst I enjoy some Aussie Country Music, I have to tell you that I'm not very patriotic about Aussie country music. You might as well label me American when it comes to my love of country music. Ellie proceeded to introduce me to Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and a whole host of others.

I can never really explain what I love about it. Country music tells the best stories, is usually family friendly music, has both fast tunes and great ballads. For whatever reason it just resonates with me. 


The Dixie Chicks have been to Australia at least twice and I couldn’t go to either concert. I’m bummed about that, as now I doubt they’ll be touring again, let alone coming down here.

So when Tim McGraw announced that he was doing a tour in 2010, I jumped at the chance. When I found out that he was coming to Australia, I was about 36 weeks pregnant. I was on the computer and my husband was in the shower. When  I saw the announcement I started squealing, “Oh my gosh! I have to go! I have to go!” over and over. My poor hubby ran so fast out of shower dripping wet with his towel going “What we need to go to the hospital?” his voice panicked.

I looked at him like he was crazy. “No! Tim McGraw is coming to Australia!” He snorted, rolled his eyes and walked off. I did get to see Tim in concert and it was awesome!

P9211450 P9211446P9211454
Some of my pictures of the concert.

This year I get to see not just Tim again but his wife Faith Hill, when they tour Australia in March! So I’m very excited about this! 

I suppose you want to know the reason for this post? I just bought Tim’s new album, Emotional Traffic and it got me thinking about the up coming concert and why I love the music! Thanks Ellie for introducing me country music!

I’d love to know your favourite music genre and why? :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Aussie Ebook Survey Results

Hi Folks!

You might remember we ran a survey last November for Aussies about their use of ebook readers.  With all the Christmas hoo-ha I had completely forgotten I haven't published the results ... until someone reminded me yesterday (thanks Jenny!).

This was a very basic survey, aimed at getting a feel for how people in Australia are starting to use ebook readers.  I'm guessing they were a lot of people out there who received ebook readers for Christmas, so if we repeated the survey today the results would probably be different.

Would love any feedback on the results.  We would also consider running another survey if authors/publishers have more specific questions they'd like to ask.  Let us know what you'd like to know from the readers out there!

So, without further ado, here are the results...



All Survey Responders (41 Responses)

State of Respondents 

State No. Responses %
ACT 1 2%
NSW 19 46%
NT 0 0%
SA 4 10%
VIC 9 22%
WA 3 7%
QLD 4 10%
TAS 1 2%

Do you own an ebook reader?

No. Responses %
Yes, I own a Kindle 5 12%
Yes, a device other than a Kindle 12 29%
I do not own an ebook reader 24 59%



Non Ebook Reader Owner Only (24 responses)

Would you consider having an Ebook reading device, such as a kindle?

No. Responses %
Yes I want one, but I can't afford one right now 7 17%
Yes I want one, I just haven't gotten around to getting one yet 1 2%
I'm considering getting one 9 22%
Haven't really thought about it 2 5%
No. I'm a die hard print copy fan. 5 12%



Ebook Reader Owners Only (17 responses)

How often do you buy ebooks?

No. Responses %
Weekly 2 5%
Monthly 4 10%
Less Frequently 11 27%

Do you still purchase print versions of ebooks?

No. Responses %
No, hardly ever 0 0%
Yes, sometimes 10 24%
Yes, just as regularly as I did before having an ebook reader 7 17%

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book Review: Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker

Available @
Fishpond AU 
& Amazon | Kindle

As a wedding planner, Sherilyn Caine should have the perfect wedding experience...


After all, she just landed her dream job at the wedding destination hotel, The Tanglewood. The rest should be a piece of cake for Sherilyn's Type A personality.
 
But while everything else goes smoothly, her own wedding plans start to sink right before her eyes. One way or the other, Sherilyn is determined to make this wedding work—until the latest development threatens to call the whole thing off. Is it possible that Sherilyn is allergic to her fiancĂ©?
 
This is the second book in the Emma Rae Travis Series by Sandra D. Bricker. I enjoyed meeting Sherilyn and getting to spend a bit more time with Emma and Jackson from the first book. When I read Always the Baker, Never the Bride (Emma and Jackson’s story) I adored it and I could not stop laughing pretty much the whole way through the book. So when Helen came across the free download for Kindle, I grabbed it and 24 hours later I was done. 

Sherilyn and Andy are a charming couple, who arrive in Andy’s home town of Atlanta, Georgia to new jobs and a future together. Sherilyn is The Tanglewood’s new wedding planner, and is now working alongside her college roommate and best friend Emma Rae Travis. Not only is she planning weddings for the Tanglewood, but she’s got to plan her own. Disaster and comical mayhem follow Sherilyn as she and Andy heads towards matrimony. It’s funny, touching and even had me shedding a few tears along the way (I’m a sucker for a good, romance with humour and sincerity). 

Having said all this, there was two things that made the book a little less loveable that the first in the series. One was simply, I didn’t find it as funny as Always the Baker, Never the Bride. Perhaps this is simply because Sandra D. Bricker set the bar so high that Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride was never going to be what the first book was. That alone would not be something to really hinder a book for me, as with most series’ the first book is always the bench mark.

The second thing that I had trouble with was the character of Australian actor Russell Walter, who makes a very big first impression on Sherilyn, Andy and their friends. Now, Russell is a secondary character but he does have some decent “page time” throughout the book. Russell is a likeable character, made me smile quite a bit at his antics and his conversation. Russell came across as a “she’ll be right, it’s all good mate” kind of guy, who just flashes his charming “Aussie” grin and gets his way with whatever he wants. As I said, you can’t help but like the guy. I struggled with the dialogue that Bricker has given him. Some of it was good and is what Australian’s actually say, for example:
  • “No need. Couldn’t expect her to stick around the woopwoop.”  Woopwoop is akin to saying “in the middle of nowhere” but we Aussie might say it like this: “in the middle of woopwoop” or “gone out to woopwoop” (I remember my Dad using the latter phrase quite often)
  • “Buckley’s chance I’ll be back again then.”
  • “Your fella’s a good enough bloke.”
Now a quick example of the dialogue that I struggled with:
  • “…since I hopped out of my mother’s pouch.”
  • “Hurts like an angry boomer, mate.”
These sections of dialogue made me cringe. These are such clichéd Aussie statements, but I seriously don't know anyone that uses them!

Once I got used to Russell's dialogue, I didn’t mind the corny phrases as much by the end of the book.

Overall a funny and heart warming read.

Book Review: Signed Sealed Delivered by Rita Stella Galieh

Signed Sealed Delivered by Rita Stella Galieh
Arkhouse Press, September 2011

Available at Koorong and Word

Signed Sealed Delivered is about Megan Trevallyn, a London governess who finds herself the victim of a jealous and conniving employer.  The book starts in 1840 and is written in a style similar to the period.  This took a little bit of getting used to.

I have to admit I struggled reading the first few chapters because I was so upset for poor Megan and the injustices dealt to her.  I could only read small amounts at a time because my heart couldn't take it!  I became thankful that the book was written in the more distant style because it was heartbreaking enough without being too closely acquainted with Megan's emotions.  Finally, when I thought I could endure no more, small mercies started coming her way and I was able to sigh in relief.

Rita has created quite an intriguing tale.  Whilst I didn't connect with Megan and Charles - the love of her life, I eventually found myself desperate for their reunion.  So many things stand in their way, the least not of which is the evil Cornelia.  And I really do have to use the word evil here - she is truly the villain of the story, intent on thwarting every aspect of Megan's life for her own selfish means.  There is nothing likeable about this woman at all - but of course, there isn't meant to be!

Ultimately, Megan finds herself deported to Australia and her life there does not turn out as bad as she feared and generally she finds herself in useful and fortunate positions (for a convict).  A lot of time passes but she holds onto her faith and the hope that her condition will be restored. I was truly glad that Rita had the guts to show Megan's composure crack and give in to a moment of weakness, as under the circumstances, it would be hard to believe she would have done otherwise. 

Signed Sealed Delivered is a remarkable and dramatic story.  However, I felt some coincidences in the story a little too convenient to be believable.  I also would have liked more time spent on the initial romance between Megan and Charles because it happened so fast I wasn't convinced of the depth of their affection for each other.