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I loved this honestly told story of the immigrants who came to New Zealand . . . Helen, the governess, who answered an advertisement to come from England to New Zealand to find a husband . . . and Gwyneira, who is coming from Wales to meet her husband. Gwyneira's father, a sheep breeder, who has gambled away his daughter's dowry, has now gambled his daughter's hand in marriage to save his sheep farm. Helen and Gwyniera become friends on the three month sea voyage from England to New Zealand, and so do the orphans that are traveling with Helen. I see that many of the reviews of In the Land of the Long White Cloud are mixed or negative . . . I highly disagree. Having listened to Bryce Courtney's books about Australia and New Zealand and the Maori tribes, (all of which I highly recommend), I find Sarah Lark's writing much gentler. Her treatment of many subjects (abuse of women by men, homosexuality, infidelity, sexual scenes, whore houses) are well written, but not down played or white washed. These things, as much as we all wish they weren't, were facts of life in 19th century New Zealand . . . The genuine friendships formed between the women, the pioneer spirit, the settling of the land and the GOOD of many people, including the Maori tribes, shine through. A love of learning and biblical truth abound, as well as unveiling the wolves in sheeps' clothing. I am already listening the the next book in the trilogy.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
The book titled “In the Land of the Long White Cloud” by Sarah Lark readers follow a few generations of immigrants to New Zealand from Wales and London. One of the characters is Helen Davenport who has been working as governess in London but longs for a husband and a family of her own. Helen ends up on her way to New Zealand to answer an advertisement for a man seeking a wife after the exchange of letters. Helen believes that this man who writes beautiful sentiments is a gentleman farmer but her reality is disappointing.
Gwyn’s character comes into the story when her father loses blackjack to a sheep baron from New Zealand. Gwyn is to go to New Zealand to marry the sheep baron’s son. Gwyn is only 17 years old and loves sheep ranching, border collies, and horses. She is excited for an adventure and life on a sprawling ranch. Her reality is less than ideal.
Sarah Lark introduces the reader to a cast of characters that are wonderfully created. There are the orphan girls shipped to New Zealand to be servants. The heartless decisions made for these little girls really touched my heart and I was so happy that the author carried each of their story lines throughout this epic novel, as well. I call this an epic novel because it sweeps through many years – following the individual characters’ lives.
I purchased this book as an audio presentation through audible.com for my Kindle and it was about 22 hours long. The audible story is brilliantly performed by Anne Flosnik. It was thrilling to have such a long book to listen to that was never was slow or dull. There is rich New Zealand history detailed in the story and descriptions of the beautiful south island in the early days of settlers.
I am looking forward to ready the next book by Sarah Lark that carries on the story lines with the next generations. This book was originally written in German and the English translation was excellent.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Having just been to New Zealand I was very interested in this book. The story was dire, appallingly badly narrated. If the narrator is unable to do a certain accent she should not try. A scots man with a mix of an Irish/Welsh/English accent is a joke and not a funny one. I shall be returning it
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was an enjoyable listen if not exactly gripping or enthralling. Although neither of the main characters of Gwyneira or Helen made much of an impression on me I did find myself wanting things to work out well for them both and listening at every opportunity to discover what would come next in their lives. Some of the characters outcomes were a bit contrived and neatly sewn up but overall I did enjoy the book and would recommend it as one that is not too challenging if you need a fairly lightweight listen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful