Titles: Sentence of Marriage, Mud and Gold, Settling the Account and A Second Chance
Author: Shayne Parkinson
Sentence of Marriage (free)
Mud and Gold
Settling the Account
A Second Chance
I have already reviewed Sentence of Marriage, but I'm going to include the entire series plus A Second Chance in this review because they really go together and could be one book (length permitting). In fact, somewhere in the middle of Mud and Gold, I realized what other saga this series brings to mind. If you read and loved Helen Hooven Santmeyer's …And Ladies of the Club, I think you'll love this series.
These books kept me up at night. I dreamed of the characters. I can't get enough of this big, sprawling family and their lives. And when I reached the end, I wanted more.
The series starts with Amy and Lizzie and the divergence their lives take based on their choices, but then it becomes so much more. It's about life in the late 1800s and then progresses, along with the characters, to the early 1900s. (I'm so invested in this story, I even looked up ladies' fashions during these time periods so I could get a better idea of how the characters would have dressed and done their hair!) It's about choices and consequences and relationships. It's about being young and growing old. It's about farm life in a remote area of New Zealand during the time period. It's about maturing and understanding and change. It's about the Leith family, which grows in leaps and bounds as the books progress. Shayne Parkinson does an amazing job of writing the characters throughout. You'd think characters would get “lost” as the families grow, but these books are so well-written that I just found myself with more people to love and care about. I want to know how Frank goes about building his thriving farm and how he divides it between his many children; at the same time, I know I'll cry buckets when Frank and Lizzie get old and eventually die. I want to see little Eddie grow up. I want to know what George is up to and where Thomas is going. I even want more of Susannah, even though I can't really stand her (she seems to be mellowing with age).
I laughed. I cried. I loved. I turned pages faster than if I'd been reading a mile-a-minute thriller.
In short, Sentence of Marriage is going to be the most expensive free book I ever downloaded because I'm going to buy every damn book in this series. Shayne Parkinson could write 10 more and I'd read every last one of them.