Song of the Spirits: Book summary and reviews of Song of the Spirits by Sarah Lark

Song of the Spirits

In the Land of the Long White Cloud saga

by Sarah Lark

Song of the Spirits
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2013
    825 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Song of the Spirits continues the soaring saga begun with In the Land of the Long White Cloud, as the founding families of colonial New Zealand experience trials and triumphs of friendship, romance, and unforgettable adventure.

Elaine O'Keefe is the radiant grand-daughter of Gwyneira McKenzie, who made her way to New Zealand to take a wealthy sheep baron's hand in marriage in In the Land of the Long White Cloud. Elaine inherited not only her grandmother's red hair but also her feisty spirit, big heart, and love of the land. When William Martyn, a handsome young Irishman of questionable integrity, walks into her life, she succumbs rapidly to his charms. Only to have her heart broken when her sensual half-Maori cousin Kura Warden arrives for a visit and draws William away.

Though both young women must endure hardships and disappointments as they learn to live with the choices they make, each of them also discovers an inner resilience - and eventually finds love and happiness in new, unexpected places. Tested by the harsh realities of colonial life, both girls mature into spirited young women with a greater understanding of the challenges - and joys - of love, friendship, and family.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The information about Song of the Spirits shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)

what a song!
Sarah Lark's Song of the Spirits is a sumptuous epic. I was completely enthralled throughout its nearly 700 pages. A continuation of Lark's earlier work, In the Land of the Long White Cloud, the plot concerns key families who settled in New Zealand in the late 1800s.

This book has everything: characters who represent various levels of society, background material on the developing country, and plot lines that keep one reading. Following the trials of Elaine, who marries the wrong man, and her cousin, half-Maori Kura, an aspiring opera singer, makes for some fascinating reading.

I most highly recommend this saga. I took my time reading it, since I was enjoying the author's way of presenting her story so much. I am grateful that there is a prequel; I will most certainly read that as well.

Song of the Spirits would make a perfect gift for a reader who loves historical fiction, tales of adventure, and down-to-earth love stories.

Karen L. (Wilton, IA)

Couldn't put it down
I thought it would take me a long time to read such a long book but it only took 3 days! I couldn't put it down, I wanted to know what would happen next. I worried about some characters, was angry at some characters, rooted for some of them etc. I liked Elaine while also feeling sorry for her and rooting for her. I disliked Kura for her spoiled self centered entitlement. I recommend this book to just about anyone. Its a family saga, a romance, and historical fiction. I am not sure whether book clubs would like it because it is so long. Its also part of a series but even though I never read book one it was fine to start with book 2. There are hints about what probably happened in book one. This book made me want to read the rest of the series.

Ann W. (New York, NY)

song of the spirits
Excellent and compelling read. It is a historic novel about New Zealand. Initially there is sheep-herding and the vast farms that were developed. Thought the experience of one of the major protagonists, the coal mines are introduced. The author used actual, historical experiences such as the Brunner mining disaster to lend details to the novel. The novel integrates the Maori culture and mythology as it interacted with the Western settlers and colonists. The Maori had much more openness to sexuality until it clashed with the more Victorian settlers. There is a strong Maori oral tradition in song, dance, poetry that is beautifully rendered in this novel.

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.

WDH (New Port Richey, FL)

Good Sequel
When I found out I was receiving this book, I quickly read the first one. While Song of the Spirits could stand alone, it was good to know the family history. Lifting the hefty book out of the package and checking how many pages there were was a bit intimidating, but it's a pretty quick read with lots of interesting information about England and New Zealand, the lengthy travel experiences, settling in new territories, unease between natives and settlers, how importing animals changes the environment, etc. Very descriptive - at times I could almost visualize the people and landscape. A bit on the romance side and there is violence towards women, but overall a good vacation read. Recommend having a pencil handy to make note all of the characters!

Barbara H. (Richmond, IN)

The Saga of Kura and Elaine
The size of the book was daunting at first until I began to read. Even if I had wanted to stop reading I could not. These two young women managed to live absolutely exciting lives and bring the reader along with them into two very different situations. The book, which takes place in New Zealand, introduced me to different times, peoples, and life styles. One of the most interesting parts concerns the place of coal mining in New Zealand and the unwillingness of some mine owners to improve working conditions. New Zealand in the back country where these two young women both seek to hide is very much like the Old West mining towns. Both coal minors and gold minors are found there. It would be a very long selection for a book club, but a most worthwhile selection for the individual reader.

...12 more reader reviews

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Sarah Lark's series of "landscape novels" have made her a bestseller in Germany, her native country, as well as Spain and the United States. She was born in Germany's Ruhr region, where she discovered a love of animals - especially horses - early in life. She has worked as an elementary school teacher, travel guide, and commercial writer. She has also written numerous award-winning books about horses for adults and children, one of which was nominated for the Deutsche Jugendbuchpreis, Germany's distinguished prize for best children's book. Sarah currently lives with four dogs and a cat on her farm in Almería, Spain, where she cares for retired horses, plays guitar, and sings in her spare time.

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