I approached Mary Brock Jones’ ‘A Heart Divided’ with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.
Excitement – because I believe the incredible history offered by the Central Otago Goldfields in the South Island of New Zealand makes it deserving of a romance sub-sub genre all of its own, and any release of a new book set in that era only serves to advance the cause.
Trepidation – because I am intimately familiar with all of the places in Brock Jones’ novel. The beautifully stark landscape studded with sculptural rock formations is a hero to get lost in and fall in love with in itself. To have lived in Central Otago is to yearn for it. So it was important to me as a reader that the writer did the landscape justice. Fortunately, I needn’t have worried. Brock Jones depicted the environment wonderfully well and any reader who has not visited will almost certainly come away with a true sense of the remarkable setting.
‘A Heart Divided’ as a whole snuck up on me. I was halfway through the book when it really took hold, forcing me to pick it up at every opportunity thereafter until it was finished.
And having become thoroughly caught up in it, I was even more delighted by the ending – one that hung around with me for a couple of days afterwards as a poignant fading ghost of the love story – still not quite ready to go towards the light when the last page was turned.
Brock Jones is also to be congratulated on her depiction of abiding sibling devotion and companionship – relationships that through necessity, historically often played a far greater role in peoples’ lives than they do today.
I for one can’t wait for Brock Jones’ next offering ‘Swift Runs the Heart’ due for release by Escape Publishing next month.