There can be no running away from her past for paediatric surgeon Claire Bowerman. Reluctantly returning to Auckland from London, Claire throws herself into her work at Starship Children's Hospital, but her Israeli partner Yossi and her teenage daughter Roimata are determined she face her demons. What does she have to hide?
This is a satisfying and challenging story of contemporary New Zealand, of the grim reality of family dysfunction and the power our families have to shape us.
We all enjoyed this book. Being set in New Zealand, in locations and situations some of us are familiar with, made it quite personal. We had good discussions regarding various situations described in the story.
All thought the book "contrived". An easy read but not enjoyed.
A real page turner - not great though as too many plots, and characters needed further development. It read like a movie - well, she is a script writer! Dealt with interesting themes with local descriptions - but not memorable.
Everybody enjoyed this book very much.
We enjoyed the story, partly because it was about N.Z. and it moved along quickly. In fact probably too quickly, with information about too many subjects: Maori/Pakeha cultural differences, food, wrong side of the blanket, paediatric operations, rape and murder, gangs, nosey journalists, outrageously coincidental discovery of Roimata by Rachel, religious belief in healing by prayer and child abuse.
Highly recommended by everyone in our group. Lots of themes to discuss with many of our group making links to their own upbringing and the events in our childhood that shape our personality. Loved the N.Z. setting and character portrayals. Felt the author dealt with some hugely complex issues with sensitivity. Gave us all more insight into issues faced by our doctors and nurses.
The group enjoyed the book and it resulted in much discussion about the many issues it covered. Lovely to read a book set in Auckland; the context was realistic and topical and the treatment of child abuse was sensitively covered. Pleasing that the portrayal of Maori and gangs in literature was, for a change, in a positive light. Delightful read - highly recommended.
Most people enjoyed this book. Auckland parts were fun, learnt some things about working in hospitals. Lively discussions followed regarding relationships and family issues.
An easy read and not too complicated. Being a NZ story, it integrated mixed cultures well and made it interesting. A good portrayal of characters, showing strength, determination and perseverance.
Two members thought the book really great. The other 9 were mixed but all read it. The discussion was brilliant, so altogether we were all glad to have read it.
The book was enjoyed by all members and much discussion generated. All grades were 4.5 or 5, so a high recommendation. Good to see the familiar places in Auckland too.
We all agreed this was a great 'yarn', very readable and well-written with plenty of issues to discuss. Despite a somewhat improbable story it raised issues of relationships in families, the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, the healing of past hurts, with an unsolved murder mystery thrown in! An impressive debut novel by a NZ author.
We live locally, and work at Starship. Great book!
All enjoyed the book a lot. Felt they were strong characters. Enjoyed the NZ setting. Looking forward to more from this author.
One of our members loved it, and read it twice. Two thought it was a "nice little book", and the rest were annoyed by it! Too many themes; anti the term 'Pakeha': the beach scene after 'kidnapping' a child from hospital was implausible, and the list went on and on.
Two of us loved this book - felt characters were well developed and the complexities of life addressed with competence. We gave it a 5. Others in the group were not impressed and felt the style and plot were somewhat clich ridden. Two members found it "boring". All agreed that the Auckland/Waiheke settings were well described, but our debate was over the personalities. In the end, a very mixed response to this writer.
Two people really disliked this book, but most enjoyed it. It gave rise to lots of discussion and even though there were many perceived inconsistencies in the author's viewpoint, the NZ/Maori family aspects were appreciated by most.
Most thought that the characters didn't come across as real. It seemed like the author had tried to cram in as many issues as she could, which didn't really work.
One of our favourite reads of the year. All were taken forward by the plot. One of our group ( a nurse) felt it was a very realistic portrayal of the hospital scene.
Everyone enjoyed the book, particularly as set in NZ - very relevant and topical storyline - could relate to all characters!!
Great book - we loved the NZ content.
All members loved this book - a fabulous debut novel. Beautifully crafted, thought-provoking and set in our very own Aotearoa.
Book enjoyed by all readers. The different characters were believable and the scenes were set well.
It was great to read a NZ book. Claire became a "real" person to us. It sparked a very lively debate about her predicament with her daughter, and relationships.
A great read, we very much enjoyed the book. Much to learn about life, and we found Claire amazing. The local content was interesting, and it was clever how aspects of Maori life were brought in. It didn't allow us to know how bad the father was until the end; well-written. 1 person found the book trite after 20 pages!!!
We really enjoyed this - best book of the year so far! An insight into the darker side of the lives of some of our children, and how our medical professionals have to face them and try to mend them.
All members enjoyed the book - characters featured were diverse and strong. Loved the setting on Waiheke Island. Discussion was 'full-on' - good set of questions.
Comments included..."Strong characterisation - all very real and plausible. Pace was satisfying, easy to read. Just enough tension, and a good twist to give us a surprise at the end. Wow factor at the beginning. it was beautiful - a short dialogue almost like a poem. The back and forth time frames moved easily, they flowed and there was no confusion. We loved the locations. We live nearby and really related to every location. That added resonance to the book. We loved it".
So good to read a NZ author, and a good one at that. Well constructed with believable characters. Good plot with a good ending, she certainly kept you interested. If you live in Auckland it's easy to relate to the setting.
We all enjoyed the book; appreciated the NZ content, good characterisation and interesting plot. Well-written. Thought it would make a good film as author had written for the screen.
We all really enjoyed this NZ book. Easy read with interesting characters, and a mix of cultural heritages working out how to get along together, and how our pasts shape us.