Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: A Ring Through Time by Felicity Pulman

Title: A Ring Through Time
Author: Felicity Pulman
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harper Collins (May 1, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historic/Paranormal
My Rating: 3 Stars


Book Description:
Alice Bennett has moved to Norfolk Island with her family who are descended from John Bennett, last commandant of the Second Settlement of the penal colony that was established on the island in the 19th century. John Bennett was a particularly brutal commandant and Allie comes up against long-standing resentment from some of her classmates when she attempts to vindicate him in a history class. Angriest of all is Noah, who is descended from Padraic O’Brien, one of the more outspoken of the convicts. Allie starts to sense her own connection with her past and when she is babysitting for the family who now occupy Government House she discovers a diary and realizes she has uncovered a tragic story.

The story is of Alice Bennett, daughter of the infamous John, who was notorious for the ill-treatment of the convicts under his command. Alice encounters Cormac O’Brien, who is a political prisoner, a gifted musician and possessor of a pair of blue eyes that immediately entrance Alice. They pursue a doomed romance, and tragedy strikes. Alice’s father has been spying on her, and in a preemptive move, orders Cormac to be hanged. Alice’s diary ends abruptly, as she sends her younger sister Susannah to ‘go on to dinner without her’.

Determined to find out what happened to her ancestress, Allie asks a friend in Sydney to see if Alice can be traced. The friend discovers a letter from Susannah, Alice’s sister, to their brother William, explaining what has happened - that Alice, inconsolable at the loss of Cormac, has walked into the sea and disappeared. After the colony is closed up, Susannah goes to Hobart and marries, and William becomes the ancestor of Allie’s family.

In two minds whether to show Alice’s diary to anyone, in the end Allie shows it to Noah, and then to her classmates, in the interests of revealing the truth, and resulting from this, their own developing relationship. Noah, too, has a secret - it seems Cormac and Paddy were forgers, not political prisoners. Allie and Noah, having come to terms with their historical background, are balancing past with present, and moving towards their future. 






It is no secret that I'm a big history nerd, it has always been one of my favorite subjects, in school or otherwise and I try to read as many as I can.

When I saw this one, set in Australia/Norfolk, I knew it was something that I had to try. Throw in a slight paranormal aspect and I just knew it was something I wouldn't be able to resist. 

This was quite the interesting read, told from the present perspective through Allie and then the past told through the diary of Alice, Allie's descendant who once lived on the island that Allie's family has just recently moved to. 

While I liked Allie, my real love for the story came through the diary entities of Alice and her mysterious past on the penal colony. I couldn't help but feel for her situation, her struggles and her love and compassion for those around her. Her story truly was what made this book good.

I loved all the history of what happened on the island as well as the characters.

Overall this was an enticing read that I really enjoyed. 



*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review*

44 comments:

  1. I really must read more books with diary entries. I've only read a handful and I loved them. So personal and raw that you can really see the character writing them. Sounds like a great novel. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. That is very true Emma. I think I need to read more of them as well. ;)

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  2. I haven't heard of this one but I like books with diary entries as well. Also this one is set in Australia and I haven't read many books set there :) Glad you enjoyed it. Great review :)

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  3. That's really interesting how this is a historical book set in Australia. That in itself draws me into the story.
    I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the book and I'm very curious about the diary entries.
    Lovely review, Ali! :)

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    1. That is exactly why I had to pick this one up Nick, the history nerd in me really couldn't resist. ;)

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  4. I love history in my fiction too, but I do not like synopsis this long! Sheesh o.o The diary entries sound very intriguing, though. :D

    Sarah @ One Curvy Blogger

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    1. LOL it was a rather long synopsis wasn't it!?

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  5. This sounds like something that would be right up my mother in law's alley Ali! She's a sucker for books with diary entries or written in diary entry form, so I can't wait to recommend this:)

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  6. I honestly don't know how I'd feel about this one. Unlike you, I'm not much of a history fan, and books written as diary entries rarely work for me. However, I'm always open to new things, so why not give it a try?

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    1. Very true because you just never know. ;)

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  7. I love history as well, but I struggle a bit when it is in eras and counties I am not familiar with, I don't connect as well. Still I enjoyed my last book set in Australia so maybe I would like this. Happy Monday

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    1. Thanks Heidi and Happy Monday to you as well!

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  8. I've been known to enjoy a good historical fiction now and then ;) And I love Australian settings in books! All in all, this has potential. Beautiful review!

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  9. Haha - You said 'penal'.

    I love history too. This seems interesting.

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    1. LOL! Only you Christy, only you. ;)

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  10. I kind of like the diary entry setup, it's worked for me before. I've seen this book around and been curious about it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Lovely review :-)

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    1. I hope you like it if you decide to try it Lauren. :)

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  11. I could see how you would be drawn to this book with its diary entities and historical Australia setting, it fascinates me usually as well. I'm glad that part was what worked for you so well.
    Lovely review, Ali :)

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  12. Oh that's a neat way to tell the historical parts. I love seeing letters or journal entries in my reads.

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  13. The synopsis is super long o.O I like history in fiction most of the time, you have me curious about the diary entries though xD <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. It really is long, too long. It tells a lot of the story.

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  14. I love historical fiction, too. Mostly set in war time Europe, though. I really must try other eras. Lol.

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  15. I'm a fan of history too, but historically set novels are so hit and miss for me. I like that this one has a paranormal aspect to it. Now I'm curious what it is. I don't think I'll read it though, because we know going in poor Alice doesn't get her happily ever after. Nice review. :)

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  16. Oh, I love diary entities! Usually. Not in the book I'm reading right now though: Silver in the Blood. Uuuuugh. Glad this was a good read for you!

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    1. Thanks Lola. I'll remember to avoid that one. :)

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  17. Oh yes it's always nice to have different settings like that and the main character sounds like a good one to follow!

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  18. Oh if only the whole book was about Alice and the penal colony..I would so grab it.

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  19. This sounds pretty good. So glad you enjoyed it.

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  20. Replies
    1. It is fun getting a bit of fact with your fiction. :)

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  21. I love it when a book brings history to life. Time travel in its best form. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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  22. Who hates history? Definitely not I! I remember it being one of my best subjects back when I was in HS. I only had two in uni but it was one of the best I had, too. I'd consider this book just for that aspect alone. XD

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. It was always a fav of mine as well.

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