Where Rainbows End…
Can she hold on to her dreams …?
It’s 1850 and the Noble family have travelled to the other side of the world to start a new life after scandal drove them from their native England. Pippa Noble is determined to reclaim their honour by making her father’s plan for an outback farm reality, although her ambition is frowned upon by a society that has very set ideas about a woman’s place …
Pippa learns the hard way about the unforgiving nature of the bush, sometimes with devastating consequences. And when unfortunate circumstance leads to Pippa tending the farm alone, it is the friendship of neighbouring estate owner Gil Ashford-Smith that helps her through.
Then an unexpected visitor from England arrives, putting Pippa’s dreams in jeopardy. But she refuses to let go. She will hold onto her family’s land, even if it means losing everything else …
Novels about Colonial Australia are always a winner for me. That period from the mid-1800s through to Federation was so formative for our nation so I never tire from reading stories that bring that era to life. Where Rainbows End is a good addition to this category, set in 1850 and focussing on a family who have migrated from England to the Colonies with the intent on re-making themselves and leaving their shameful past behind. I enjoyed the story of Where Rainbows End and found the whole notion of the impoverished gentry migrating for a reinvention quite an interesting one. A lot of novels about Colonial Australia have characters from the working classes seeking their own place and carving out their own better futures, so this was an interesting lens to view Colonial History through. However, while the main family within this novel is impoverished gentry, AnneMarie has created many other characters from all walks of life for this story, each of them taking advantage of the opportunities the Colonies had to offer to those who were willing to work hard and live rough. This demonstration of Australian History through story telling was very well done and AnneMarie has a fluid style of sprinkling facts throughout that is to be admired.
In terms of character, Pippa Noble was the main character of this novel, and while we had occasion to experience another person’s perspective, it was only ever to shed light on something Pippa was unable to, and was quite infrequent. Pippa was a strong character from the outset, and I quite admired her initially, however, as the novel progressed, my liking of her deteriorated and unfortunately was never renewed. I found that as her fortunes progressed, her character diminished, and there were times were her dialogue and interactions with other characters came across as brash and arrogant. I also have problems with characters who consistently want something after they’ve lost it. This has always bothered me and I can rarely get past it. I found with Pippa, she seemed so entirely self-absorbed and single-minded. The more she had, the more she wanted and she was entirely blind to the affections of those around her. Her treatment of Grant, who albeit, did not act honourably to her, was still not entirely justified. Her treatment of Gil was appalling, and I confess that the ending that panned out was not my chosen preference. I feel she got off easy and I’m not convinced she deserved the ending she received. All of this is of course my own views and I expect that anyone else reading Where Rainbows End might actually adore Pippa and find her an incredibly strong and brave woman, so take all of this with a heavy grain of salt! I am just rather fussy on characters.
The pacing of the novel was a little fast in places for my liking. There were times when quite a chunk of life seemed to have passed us by, particularly towards the ending. I am a fan of longer novels though, particularly a long historical, so I personally wouldn’t have minded lingering over passages of time for a bit longer. However, this was an action packed story, a real rollicking adventure from start to finish, so perhaps the fast pacing was more complimentary overall than slowing things down would have been.
There are plenty of tense moments throughout, occasions of great sadness that make you contemplate the harsh nature of life during Colonial Australia. AnneMarie has done a fantastic job of bringing the unforgiving landscape to life, in all of its beauty and danger. If you enjoy action packed Australian History with strong female characters, then you will definitely enjoy Where Rainbows End.
Thanks is extended to the publisher, Choc Lit, via Netgalley, for this copy of Where Rainbows End for review.
Where Rainbows End is book 35 in my 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge.