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Of course not. I enjoyed thoroughly the threads of loyalty throughout and the representation of the human spirit fighting against all odds.

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While Lark tried to tie up loose ends and give the reader a sense of satisfaction at the end she left a number of questions unresolved, for me the most important being Colin. Don't think I'll read this author again, but for a free book it was a fine read.

Jan 04, Ana added it. As always, Sarah Lark has fascinated me with another story overseas. It has the same elements of her previous novels, a romance gone wrong, new romances blooming, a new land, lot of hard work, sheep, horses in this case and, I'm afraid, some rape as well. I haven't found yet a book by this woman better than The White Cloud, that's my favourite.

In this book you see how people evolve, and, although we would like it to be otherwise, how your first love can no longer be the same one once time has p As always, Sarah Lark has fascinated me with another story overseas. In this book you see how people evolve, and, although we would like it to be otherwise, how your first love can no longer be the same one once time has passed.

I'd recommend this book as all her others. It's easy and entertaining, not quite gripping as other might be though. Great read!

Toward the Sea of Freedom (Sea of Freedom Trilogy, book 1) by Sarah Lark

I love historically based novels. I had absolutely no knowledge of New Zealand, other than it is near Australia and that my kids music teacher had immigrated from there in the 's. I loved how intense the feelings ran when the story started in Ireland during the Potato Famine. You could almost feel as the characters felt.

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The English deportation of prisoners for as little as stealing a loaf of bread and the prison ships transporting them to Australia. All through this tragic time Great read! All through this tragic time in history is woven the tail of a young lovers torn apart by theft, transportation to Australia. Very well written.

I love learning while being entertained.

Always like Sarah Lark's style and writings - amazing follower to her first trilogy! Jul 28, Therese rated it really liked it Shelves: read-in-english , historical-fiction , read-in Feb 22, Angela rated it liked it.

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This was an enjoyable book, it was fun to learn more about New Zealand. A book that takes place on an island for Popsugar challenge. I loved her first trilogy set in New Zealand, I enjoyed the second series set in the Caribbean and now with her latest she has once again returned to New Zealand. The story is begins in Ireland and England. In Ireland, the potatoes have been rotting in the fields for years and the Irish are struggling to survive by eating whatever they can find. Michael and Mary Kathleen are two young lovers who dream of leaving Ireland and Michael wants to make a new life for them in America.

Michael is handsome with curly black hair and dark blue eyes and Mary Kathleen is an extremely beautiful girl who is very naive and trusting. Her long blonde hair is thick and curls, her skin is pale, smooth and her eyes are as bright as emeralds. Before his arrest Michael managed to get the money to Mary Kathleen and he promises to come back for her and their child she is carrying. Mary Kathleen manages to see Michael twice before he is sent to a prison in London where those to be transported wait for the weather to clear and so the ships can take them to Australia.

He swears to her that somehow he will come back to her and makes her promise to raise their child with dignity, hopefully in America. At the same time in England there is a young prostitute Lizzie that takes care of two children because their mother Hannah is incapable of doing so. While the owner is helping another customer she looks at the array of pastries offered and thinks how much the children would enjoy them. She is hoping that the smile will work this time and asks if she can come back after she feeds the children leaving unsaid that it will also be after she has earned the money ; the smile would probably have worked if his wife had not came in from the back and started screaming at her.

In desperation, she grabs the bag, crushing the contents and runs. She is caught and once again it seems as if her smile will be enough to keep her from going to jail, until the wife appears when she sees what may happen and demands the her arrest. Lizzie hopes that Hannah will bring the children to her hearing to attest that Lizzie helps her support them and that she was not a thief. Hannah does come with the children but she lies and Lizzie is also sentenced to seven years in Australia.

In this era Mary Kathleen finds no sympathy from her parents or the others in her village once they realize she is with child. Although her parents do not throw her out they are determined that she will marry the man who manages the estate for the Lord of the village. When this does not happen she marries another man who has offered to take her away as soon as he has enough money.

It is then that her mother who knows about the money that Michael gave tells him that they will be able to leave immediately because the money is available. Mary Kathleen goes along with them only because Ian Coltrane is planning to go to New Zealand and she has leaned that this will put her closer to Michael. In their haste to rid themselves from the shame she has brought on herself and them her parents do not know nor do they are care that they are giving her to a man who is a cheat, a swindler and the only reason he offered was because he already knew about the money Michael had given her.

He is also violently jealous and treats her like a whore; she quickly learns never to keep her eyes lowered if there are other men around and not to speak to them if at all possible. She is in labor when the ship docks and Ian forces her to walk to a home where he tells her there is a midwife. She is already weak for the long voyage and the conditions on the ship; he forces her to walk for miles to the midwife he has found for her.

Days after the birth he informs her that he has purchased a house and they going there at once. She is weak but he forces her to leave with him immediately. She is shocked and dismayed when she sees the condition of both the inside and outside of the home he has taken her to but she tries to make the beast of things.

Although they are separated once they arrive fate will throw them together again and they eventually manage to escape and sail to New Zealand.


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Lizzie falls in love with him and hopes to have a future with him once they arrive. Michael does not know what has happened to Mary Kathleen but he is determined to earn the money and get back to her either in Ireland although he hopes that she went to America. Once they arrive in New Zealand he breaks Lizzie's heart when he tells her his plans and calls her a whore.

Hurt and angry she lashes out and reminds him that he owes his freedom to a whore without her he would either be dead or have a longer sentence because he was caught. The story moves quickly and encompasses a wide variety of scenarios from the start and over the following seventeen years. You read about the deplorable conditions of the jails in Ireland and England; the even worse conditions on the transport ships. Once they arrive in Australia the way you see the differences in how male prisoners are treated and how their living conditions are extremely different from their female counterparts.

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You learn a little about Australia, the people that immigrated and what they thought about the prisoners; even those that had earned there freedom and never committed another crime. You see that the immigrants did not like or trust the prisoners that sometimes came from Australia after the earned their freedom. You see how the whale and seal populations were decimated because of greed and long-term exploitation; the devastation that was caused on many different levels after gold was discovered. The author also mentions landmarks and people familiar to those that read her first trilogy and in this novel the readers discover how some settlers began to produce wine.

There are no cliff hangers which I love and all the lose ends were tied up. I believe that this will be another trilogy and the ending leaves this possibility open. I would very much like to read more about these characters and look forward to reading the next book in the series. As I've read books about prisoners who were sent overseas for petty crime was not new to me and also not the hardship they had to endure on the ships wasn't new to me.

The woman perspective was though and I also liked the difference of the transit between Lizzy and Kathleen.