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Shattered Paperback – October 20, 2011
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About the Author
Jennie Marsland is a teacher and an amateur musician as well as a writer. She fell in love with words at a very early age and the affair has been life-long. Jennie has always been fascinated by history. Glimpses of the past spark her imagination. She finds her inspiration in the beauty of Nova Scotia’s landscape and in family stories about earlier times, passed down from her parents and grandparents. With a background in Biology and a degree in Agriculture, animals have always been a big part of Jennie’s life. Her household includes a cranky elderly cat, Emily, and two Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retrievers, Chance and Echo, who are without a doubt the most spoiled creatures on the planet. When she isn’t writing, she gardens, plays guitar, dabbles in watercolours and caters to the needs of the four-footed tyrants of the house.
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Top customer reviews
What drew me to the book was a personal disappointment, but this was made up for by a fantastic portrayal on other aspects I wasn't expecting. The Halifax explosion of 1917 is one of those forgotten events in history, outside the community where it happened. Hardly anyone nowadays seems to know about it which is a tragedy since it had such an impact, was so large, and killed so many. When I read it was incorporated into this title, I was eager to start. After finishing, I was pleased ultimately by a fantastic tale, great characters, and vibrant relationships.
Disappointment was aroused by how little the explosion actually played a part in the story. This is a personal quibble, as that's what drew my attention to the book in the first place. Yet, this massive event was smooshed onto the end, feeling like it was a tacked on afterthought rather than an integral part of the story. What we got was devastating and illustrated how this event wiped out an entire community and brought untold destruction and tragedy. I guess I was just looking for more exploration on how this event impacted the community and people who live there overall. Still, stacked against everything else, this is a small and personal quibble.
That being said, the rest of this book was fantastic. The characters shine as strong individuals, especially Alice. I loved her special blend of vulnerability and steely core. While she comes off as a bit of a doormat in the beginning, as the story gets rolling she matures into a strong woman who doesn't take gruff from anyone. She overcomes a dysfunctional, borderline abusive home situation and disability to make her own path in life, with her own goals and choices.
I also love Liam and his strength of character to overcome some truly tragic mental health issues. With a severe case of PTSD from the trenches of World War I Europe, he found the inner strength to overcome dark thoughts and build a life for himself. His family and Alice help him along the way, creating a truly inspiring tale of self-healing and overcoming obstacles.
Liam and Alice together make the story. Their depth of emotion for each other and strength in supporting each other create a vibrant relationship. Liam creates the strong bulwark Alice needs against her family’s violence and emotional damage. Alice is a well of love and acceptance for Liam as he faces the demons of war and heals. Together they are an example of historical romance done right.
But it's in the area of the World War I vets that this book really shines, unexpected for me. The author surprises in her in-depth portrayal of men caught in the horrors of war and bloodshed, then coming home to peacetime and family life. Not everyone is able to cope and some get lost along the way. The author shows the varying degrees of success, or not, that the different men have in dealing with the horrors. From Alice's brother to Liam to Liam's friend, the reader is taken on an emotional journey that reflects strongly on the plight of veterans and servicemen today.
This book was a pleasant surprise overall. The author takes us on an emotional journey of self-healing and strength in the face of adversity. Both Liam and Alice grow throughout the book, creating intriguing character arcs that can't be resisted. The only downer is the lack of details on the explosion itself and its importance on the story. It's tacked on nature at the end seemed rushed and an afterthought to me. Yet, that's a personal disappointment and may not stand out as strongly to another. I’d still highly recommend this book for its strong characters and emotional depth. This novel stands as an example of self-publication at its best.
I picked this up for free, drawn to it by the blurb that mentioned the Halifax Explosion of 1917. I’ve read articles about it, so a historical romance featuring it sounded interesting.
I enjoyed the book. It’s better than many romances in that the two main characters do not each think the other can’t possibly be interested long past the point of believability. They reconnect, they are interested, and after only a brief period of understandable angst spiced up by a gal who knows what she wants and decides to go after it, they get together. Where does the Explosion come in? It doesn’t really.
Based on the blurb, I expected a lead-up, the Explosion, and how our couple copes with the devastation. Nope. Instead it’s a straightforward historical romance set in Halifax in 1917. The couple deals with his emotional and physical war wounds and her difficult family. Little obstacles are thrown in the way, and they deal with them. All the characters were nicely done and felt real to me (except during their first sexual encounter when the virgin heroine acts like she has years of experience). The descriptions were compelling and immersive. But the whole time I kept thinking, “When is the explosion?”
When we finally get to it, it’s so superficial and rushed, it makes no real impact. It hasn’t much bearing on the story in any way. There are a couple of pages of who’s-going-to-die? tension (because someone had to die, and I’d already correctly guessed one of them), and then it’s all conveniently wrapped up in another couple of pages. I found that disappointing.
One other thing I have to mention: the author’s over-dependence on her characters’ eyes to express every emotion. Eyes glow, twinkle, glower, gleam, and shine. They are sultry, smoky, angry, happy, sad. Just the eyes. Always the eyes. It’s as if these people have no faces, just eyes in a blank face, and all emotion is exactingly expressed by just the eyes. She could read it in his eyes. He could see it in her eyes. His eyes told her everything. It got to the point of distraction. If I’d made a drinking game of it, I’d have been dead drunk by the end of the book.
Up until about halfway through I was thinking this might be a four or five star read. Unfortunately, I found myself more frustrated the farther into the book I got. I suppose I’d give it 3.5, but not 4 stars.