Monday, 18 June 2012

The Open World - Stephanie Johnson

I am always excited to pick up a historical novel written by a fellow New Zealander and as soon as I saw this one on the shelf I knew that I had to read it. Not only does it have a beautiful cover but what seemed like a amazing premise.

In a nutshell this book is based on real historical figures and events. In fact the main character Elizabeth Smith is the authors Great-Great something grandmother. The novel opens in 1860's London. She lived in early colonial New Zealand  and still longs for the country she left behind. Elizabeth is a religious drug user and either due to this or supernatural forces she beings to see two young children from her past. Her dear friend the Reverend Cotton is mad and somewhat in love with Mary Ann a well to do wife of a Judge. Elizabeth was Mary Ann's companion and together they navigate this strange new country and its inhabitants.

Overall this book could be very confusing at times. It jumped time period and point of view multiple times without warning. I could be reading a chapter and get half way before  I realised what was happening. Nothing was wrong with the writing style, the problem way with the storyline and characterisation. It was bland and uninteresting. Nothing seemed to happen! I did not see the point in this book at all. The story started off well but I grew increasingly bored and frustrated when the story began to flounder. It was only by sheer willpower that I finished this in the hopes that it would improve. This book was a huge disappointment as I was so looking forward to reading this book and have loved so many other New Zealand historical novels.  If you are interested in this sort of thing I would recommend ' La Rochelle's Road by Tanya Moir' which was absolutely wonderful

Rating: 2.5

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