Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Toward the Sea of Freedom

Star-crossed lovers, Michael and Kathleen, plan to flee the famine and poverty of 19th century Ireland to start anew and raise their unborn child in far away America.  Fate, however, has other plans, and the pair find themselves separated by prison bars, an ocean, and Kathleen’s marriage to another.  When both of their separate adventures lead them to New Zealand, will their young love of decades ago prove strong enough to allow them to start over, or will they have found true love elsewhere? 

The historical portions of the novel are captivating, authentic and accurate.  From the plight of Irish tenant farmers and trials of exiled prison laborers in Australia, to the unique personalities found in the whaling villages, sheep farms, native tribes, vineyards and gold-mining camps of New Zealand, Lark takes her readers on a vivd adventure.  

Unfortunately, not a single one of the main characters make the adventure worthwhile.  While readers can easily grow tired of overly-perfect characters, the three main characters in this case were mostly irredeemable.  Kathleen may be beautiful, but she is weak, pliable, and usually frustrating.  Lizzie, while endowed with an entertaining amount of gumption, is fickle, aloof, and often vulgar.  Worst by far is Michael— and inconstant degenerate without much intelligence or any shred of self-control, and a complete failure as a romantic lead.  

As the extremely long story comes to a close, and the reader sees the solution to the complicated love triangle is finally close at hand, one cannot help but wonder if any of them deserve any sort of a happy ending.  Many of the secondary characters— namely Peter Burton and Claire Edmunds— provided a bit of spark and likability, but dealing with the others felt like drudgery.  What had the potential to be an epic love story with an enchanting backdrop, ends up as an unsatisfying waste of time.  

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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