Sitting in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu, the small town of Manawa is chock-a-block with a zany cast of characters. Donny Mac is right at the centre of the bunch, naive but loveable which places him at the mercy of the town bullies as well as those who have plans for him. There are secrets to contend with, the undercurrent of townies versus locals and the big challenges of life, but above all, a community of people with a heart.
Exploring the values and prejudices of small town New Zealand, this delightfully fanciful story is easy to read and will lift your spirits and remind you of what really matters. [Larger font]
A lively discussion. This book was enjoyed by all of our group.We thought it would lend itself very well to a movie! We enjoyed the humour and sense of hope it conveyed despite some dark themes, and we enjoyed the character development of the three sisters. Whether the burial of Pansy should have been confessed to, prompted opposing points of view. Most of us felt it was acceptable in the circumstances to keep quiet! Christchurch 396
There was a mixed reaction to this book. Some thought it was not up to the standard of her historical novels. Others could relate to the small village atmosphere in outback NZ. Everyone agreed it would not show NZ in a positive light if it were made into a film. Wellington 168
Everybody thoroughly enjoyed this book, and as a Taihape book group, the book being set only 40 minutes away made it extra special! Taihape 002
The book was quite well researched, and gave an insight to life in a small community. Christchurch 091
Our group thoroughly enjoyed this book, although most people who had read previous works by this author (The Denniston Rose and The Landing) felt it was not as good as they were. As to what should be deleted if/when it becomes a film. Nothing! Christchurch 099
An easy read. Most enjoyed it, and gave it a 7/8 out of 10. We liked the NZ flavour. Wellington 018
This book was enjoyed by all.
A really great read - all of us enjoyed it. She has a real way of creating characters and places that seem very real and very well-rounded. We were all brought into their world and enjoyed being there.
This is one of few books we have all agreed was a good read. Most of us are familiar with the location of the story which helped us relate to the characters - having an understanding of the isolation that can lead to quirkiness in some!
Two members did not finish and three found it hard to get into, but worth the perseverance. A great Kiwi read, small town real life eccentric Kiwi people. Good interesting characters. One was concerned about the lack of empathy for the dead girl. We gave it 4 out of 5.
This is an entertaining, light novel with an interesting NZ setting. One member who was brought up in a small country town thought the characters very credible. Others did wonder a bit about the character of Lovey - she seems unnaturally gifted for a small child but she is a useful plot device. But Jenny Pattrick fans thought that this is not her best writing.
Some people loved it, rating it 10 out of 10, and others rated it much lower. Many of the characters particularly Lovely, were enjoyable and interesting; the book was plot driven with a simple transparent narrative. Ideally a second hidden one (re the film) could have been expanded. Although it was agreed the coverup was considered a means to tell a 'break the cycle' message, the ethics and moral outcome were challenged by the group. Easy read that was set in a small somewhat familiar town - whether anyone outside of NZ would have been able to picture Ruapehu and the territory was questioned.
As usual, our group had mixed reviews, most agreed it could reflect a small NZ town and often there are some characters that take on certain roles within the community.
Not a popular book and a disappointment for those that had read Denniston Rose. Lots of negative comments about lack of strong story and continuity problems. Poor characterisation and the comment that eccentricity and quirkiness had been introduced to cover a poorly executed story.
Unfortunately this read was not very popular with some of our group, but those that could relate to, or have been brought up in the country, thoroughly enjoyed the book, which evoked many memories of rural life. It was agreed that the characters were very convincing and lifelike, and that the surprising revelations through retrospective anecdotes made the read interesting and added colour. All agreed it would make a very good movie.
This one was universally enjoyed. One of our members is a visiting American and this was her favourite so far - NZ dictionary on the side! Loved the characterisation - we were really engaged with the characters. Jenny Pattrick seems to be able to convey the essence of time , place and people. Everyone hoped a film would result from the selling of the rights!
This book is local for us, we all know Rangataua - one group member lived there in Railway Row as a child. There was unanimous agreement that Jenny Pattrick had captured the spirit of a community and the issues they are facing - we could all recognise characters here in our community! Provoked a wide-ranging discussion.
This is a very Kiwi book. The setting and characters are very evocative of those to be found in many small, once thriving settlements around New Zealand. For some, the 'stereotypes' were too hard to get past, but for others they were emphatically drawn and the reader cared about how they all dealt with 'the incident'. The sense of community and place were very beautifully drawn. Recommended for all groups.
We all loved this book and the way it was written with great insight to the characters. As we all live either in a small rural town or rurally we could relate to the small town dynamics, and how it 'takes a village to raise a child'. A lot of city people would not understand this unless they were in a tight community within the city.
Unanimously enjoyed. An easy to read style but the village, geography and personalities were so very well portrayed. Another splendid story by a gifted author.
For the first time in years we ALL enjoyed the book. There was discussion about how credible some parts/characters were, but all agreed it was a charming tale.
A wonderfully engaging story that captures the essence of a quaint, rural NZ town really well. Thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
We all enjoyed this book and felt it had a great authentic feel. It was well researched and there was wonderful characterisation. We would all love to see it as a movie.