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Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Pursuit of Mary McBride by Bruce Cooke

The Pursuit of Mary McBride by Bruce Cooke
Publisher: Swimming Kangaroo Books
genre: Historical; Action/Adventure
Length: Full
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Edelweiss

Rebecca McBride hates her husband Michael. She hates him because he rapes her and beats her. She hates him because he married her, not for love, but because he needed someone to keep his house and warm his bed. Most of all she hates him because he sold her daughter in marriage to a brute of a man, taking her away from her home and the man she loves. Now Mary and her new husband have disappeared into the Australian Outback, and Rebecca has no idea where they are. The only thing she knows is that she must find and rescue her daughter. She must bring Mary back to civilization and the people who love her, so Rebecca and Mary's boyfriend, Campbell, take off into the Australian frontier in pursuit of Mary McBride.

Set in nineteenth century Australia, The Pursuit of Mary McBride is a saga of trial and hardship, of aspirations sparking through sheets of downpouring misfortune. More than anything else, it is a story of the human spirit, of choices made under duress, sometimes from the brink of despair, and we see how those decisions play out. The effect on some of the characters is corrosive, while on others it is transcending, adding riveting intrigue to an intricate plot.

This book is well written, with a fluid prose that sends the reader galloping through it in page turning excitement. My chief complaint is that much of the dialogue is written in the same form and cadence as the narrative, depriving some minor characters of the vividness they deserved. Readers will stumble in a few places over spotty proofing, but The Pursuit of Mary McBride is a vigorous, satisfying read.