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The Dark Mountain by Catherine Jinks
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The Dark Mountain

by Catherine Jinks

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3.5 stars

Based on actual events in New South Wales during the mid-1800s, this is the story of a colonial family spanning some 70 years. It was in intriguing story, which held my attention, but it was also a very convoluted one. There was a lot of speculation, often far too much detail, and more than once I wished that the author would just get on with it. On the other hand, it was a very compelling read and I very much wanted to find out what would happen to the characters. Not all questions were answered in the end, but I suppose that is bound to happen since the book is about real-life characters. Catherine Jinks' writing is once again wonderful, perfectly capturing the period and place. A good read about life in colonial Australia, if a somewhat lengthy one. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Set in the Southern Highlands, south of Sydney, in the 1800s, this is a fictional telling of the trials and tribulations of Charlotte Atkinson. The narrator tells her tale by looking back to the past, with interludes back to the present to give some explanations of goings on. The story encompasses many themes, like the social divide between classes based on wealth, background or breeding, and religion, the circle of life, and that actions (and words) have consequences.
Charlotte's father dies when her and her siblings are young, and her mother remarries. George Barton was the overseer, and therefore a different class of person. And what a troubled man! He was an alcoholic, and was mentally unstable to boot, making life a misery for Charlotte and her family. A misery that will follow them to the end of their days. As she grows older, Charlotte clashes with her mother, over her own choices in life, and never fails to raise the specter of George Barton into their arguments. In later life however, Charlotte seems to look back on her mothers actions in a different light, seeing similarities in her own life. ( )
  nellista | Jul 4, 2008 |
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"The story of two fiercely strong women, mother and daughter, one determined never to explain her choices and the other equally as determined to dig deeply and unrelentingly for the truth. Charlotte Atkinson was born into a life of privilege. Raised by a widowed mother on a vast and wealthy estate near Sutton Forest, New South Wales, she and her three siblings enjoyed an idyllic early childhood in the great stone house still known today as Oldbury. But in the summer of 1836, a violent incident in the Belanglo wilderness set off a chain of events that transformed Charlotte's existence. Inexplicably, as a result of this affair, her mother was prompted to marry again - thereby surrendering her property, fortune and offspring to Charlotte's vicious and degenerate new stepfather, George Barton. His presence turned Oldbury into a place of madness and terror, casting a shadow so long that it continued to haunt Charlotte for years after his somewhat mysterious death."--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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