Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Gifts of the Peramangk by Dean Mayes

Gifts of the Peramangk
by Dean Mayes
Australian Historical Fiction
Published October 18, 2013
by Central Avenue Publishing
*Ebook obtained directly from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis via Goodreads:

In 1950s Australia, during the height of the divisive White Australia Policy, Virginia, a young Aboriginal girl, is taken from her home and put to work on an isolated and harsh outback station. Her only solace: the violin, taught to her secretly by the kind-hearted wife of the abusive station owner. However, Virginia's prodigious musical gift cannot save her from years of hardship and racism.

Decades later, her eight year old granddaughter Ruby plays the violin with the passion Virginia once possessed. Amidst poverty, domestic violence and societal dysfunction, Ruby escapes her circumstance through her practice with her grandmother's frail, guiding hand. Ruby’s zeal attracts the attention of an enigmatic music professor and with his help, she embarks on an incredible journey of musical discovery that will culminate in a rare opportunity. But with two cultural worlds colliding, her gift and her ambition will be threatened by deeply ingrained distrust, family jealousies and tragic secrets that will define her very identity.

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About the Author:

Dean Mayes has established himself as an author of great passion and literary style since the publication of his debut novel The Hambledown Dream in 2010 and has since gone on to grow his following even more with his latest release Gifts of the Peramangk - all while holding down a very busy day job involving a stethoscope. Dean lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily and his two children.

The Hambledown Dream, a lyrical and moving paranormal romance, is his first novel. His second novel "Gifts Of The Peramangk" was released in October 2012.

He writes regularly for a loyal following at his blog Dean from Australia.

Connect with the Author:    Goodreads     Website     Twitter   

My Review:

First off, go back up, look at the cover... No - really LOOK at that cover. It's honestly beautiful. After you read this story, then look again at the cover, you start to really SEE it... The deep, rich colors... the smoothness... the way the cover model is grasping at the violin....

This novel was a very pleasant surprise... After reading the synopsis, I honestly thought I would be out of my element. I thought I wouldn't enjoy it - not because I assumed it would be "bad" but because it's not like other novels I read. I tend to stay away from issues that hit really close to "real life"... I like to escape when I read, not be reminded of horrible things going on around the world (racism, cruelness, hate.....etc.). Dean brings out those traits but also unveils something beautiful when you see those who bring love, support, help....

Dean takes this novel and meshes together different events that trickled down in time - like a wide spread domino effect over one family's generations. At first, I was a little confused and had to really focus on what I was reading so I could figure out the separation. After the first few chapters, I was hooked.

It was an emotional, sad, yet beautiful story. Dean is an amazing storyteller! For the most part, the writing is so smooth that the word "beautiful" can be used to describe the writing itself.

This is one of those novels that is completely out of your "norm" as far as the culture, the lifestyle, the issues that are occurring to the characters... yet you become completely entranced in their well being even though you can't necessarily "relate" to everything that's going on.

Overall, a really intriguing, great surprise! Even though this isn't my normal genre or type of novel I usually pick up, I really enjoyed it - definitely 4 stars. I'm thinking about grabbing Dean's first novel and reading it now!

Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Cover Rating: 5 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars

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