Rebecca G. (Havertown, PA)
A Big Disappointment
I must admit I had lofty expectations for this novel. I was hoping for another great family saga like The Thornbirds or Fall of the Giants considering that this is a very, very big book. I have found that that usually means either I am enthralled with the story and characters and don't want it to end or the book just goes on forever. Unfortunately, this book was more of the latter. The book reads more like a romance novel especially the first part and I found myself plodding through without much enjoyment. The characters and mostly unappealing, frustrating at times and just plain unbelievable at others. The author did try to create suspense and there were moments when this succeeded. But, like most romance novels, it was difficult to get too caught up in the suspense as I pretty much knew everything would work out for all of the "good guys" in the end. Given the length of this book, I was hoping to learn a lot about New Zealand and, especially the Maori people but the information was limited and really just made me hunger for more. Truly it could have been set anywhere, anyplace with sheep farmers, miners and indigenous people. I would only recommend this book to anyone looking for a very long, feel good story with some suspense thrown in for good measure.
Jane C. (Brighton, MI)
Song of the Spirits
I can understand the unease of the Maori. We were in Queenstown several years ago and went to a presentation and dinner with Maori. To watch them dance their traditional dances, their size and fierceness were palatable. They were wonderful men, but large and fierce looking. The book takes you through 5 years of life of the early settlers in the 1890s. Very well written, but a long read.
sherilyn R (Bountiful, UT)
A Long but Great Read
My first impression of the book Song of the Spirits was fairly daunting. It's a huge book at 687 pages. Not something you'd pick up casually.
The book is divided into five parts and covers five years in the lives of two young women: Kura an exotic, talented half-Maori heiress and her beautiful spirited tomboy of a cousin Elaine. Life in 1890's New Zealand, the Maori culture and the beauty of the land becomes as important to the plot and character of the book as the experiences of these two protagonists.
After I got all the characters and the back story straight, which took some time, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I learned much about the history of New Zealand and the native culture. It made me want to go to New Zealand and see it for myself.
Cynthia D. (Germantown, TN)
A Spell-Binding Saga of Colonial New Zealand
Vast, sprawling farms of wealthy sheep and cattle barons provide the background for this story of the people and conditions. We meet heirs (like Elaine) who love the land and animals, and others (like Kura) who want a musical career. The story spans treacherous roads, fires, coal mines, abusive husbands and delightful pub scenes and romances.
Do not be intimidated by its length! Somewhat reminiscent of "The Thorn Birds," this story captured my attention on the first page & I enjoyed every moment reading it.