Blog Posts, Book Reviews

Book Review – By the Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland

by the currawongs call

By the Currawong’s Call by Welton B. Marsland

  • Publisher: Escape Publishing (November 1, 2017)
  • Publication Date: November 20, 2017
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English

Bisexual, Victorian Romance

Amazon

I was just coming off reading Holding the Man and missing the Australian setting when Marsland’s debut novel, By the Currawong’s Call came across my desk. Anglican priest, Matthew Ottenshaw, finds himself posted to the small town of Dinbratten, where he forms a deep friendship with Jonah Parks, the police sergeant in residence. This novel does something I love – it gives a chance for the relationship between the MCs to grow slowly before they give in to their romantic feelings, made doubly complicated by Matthew’s vocation and the historic period. It’s excellently written, just skirting the lyrical as the relationship between Matthew and Jonah escalates into something irrevocable.

copy of by the currawong's song

In addition, each character, even the minor characters, are distinctly drawn. The author takes advantage of the differences in dialect and vocabulary to mark each character. This is particularly effective between Matthew and Jonah, because Matthew is more formally educated than Jonah. Even without dialogue tags, there is no question who is speaking.

by the currawong's song 2 (1)

This novel commits only one forgivable misstep – it sometimes uses Jonah as a vehicle for promoting the modern attitudes towards what were then illegal, same-sex relationships. There is nothing wrong with this, but if I, as a reader, am consuming this genre, it had better be because I’ve sorted my feelings about queerness. On the strength of this assumption, it’s a bit like preaching to the choir. Oh, and that epilogue can go for the same reason.

Everything else in this novel is divine.

by the currawong's song (1)

Favorite quotes:

“You’d better decide quick-smart whether ya reckon I’m worth it, as well. Or else we should stop it all, right here.”

“The match flame illuminated the angles of his face. He was a god of myth, inhaling fire and sighing out incense.”

‘We are a wonder together,’ Matthew thought. ‘An absolute wonder.’

4.5/5 Stars. Great debut!

Note to writers:

  • Excellent example of using vocabulary and dialogue to sharpen characterization
  • Sex scenes escalate intimacy and are tied to the story and characters. Integral to the emotional arc.
  • Illustrates the pitfalls of using epilogues that do not enhance the story.
  • Powerful sense of place.

And the rating (drumroll)… A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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half star

Great debut novel!

Blog Posts

Introduction

I write.

That makes me one out of about a billion aspiring writers.

I’ve published a few poems and short stories, which you can check out in my Publications page. I’m currently writing a novel (again, take a number, right?).

The conventional wisdom is, as a writer in this age of publishing, I should have a social media presence. I have the entire social media soup. You name your distraction of choice and I will most likely have a username somewhere to follow. I can say I’ve checked off that box, also. When I’m active on social media, I can be found on the following platforms (in order of frequency): Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Bookbub, Google+, and Twitter. I often take week-long breaks from my platforms. It’s good for my soul.

Now, I’ve added this blog.

I’ll be honest. I’m a busy woman. I’m married with two school-age children. I work as a full-time high school instructor. I pitch in to help my husband run his business. And I’m a bit of a fitness nut. Writing is one of the most important aspects of my life but it isn’t the only thing I have going on.

Oprah Winfrey said you can have it all, just not all at once.

Like you, reader, I’m divided into several hefty pieces. A kind of human pie. Apple flavor. Or cherry. Whatever metaphorical pie you prefer. I’m a big fan of pecan, myself.

In that sliver dedicated to writing, I’m choosing to keep a blog. Maybe you will get to know me this way. Maybe you will find something useful. I certainly hope for one or both outcomes.

My only blogging schedule for now is one post per week, most likely on Wednesdays. At the minimum, I will post book reviews and things relating to sustaining creativity. I’ll put up short stories and occasionally discuss my writing, but not often, unless it is to share some useful tip with you. I might even try to sell you a book, but only half-heartedly. I’ve never been much of a marketer.

So, welcome to my tiny corner of the internet.

Let’s see how this little experiment goes, shall we?

PS – If there is anything wonky with this site, feel free to leave a comment. I’m still working through the rough patches.

ST

1/16/19