About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Isle of Tears by Deborah Challinor

Isle of Tears (Harper Collins, 2009)
I must admit I'm not a fan of historical romances but I thought I'd give this one a go as it was set in New Zealand during the Maori/Pakeha wars in the late 1800s. Deborah Challinor has a talent for historical writing and wanted to write about this conflict but felt she didn't have the cultural clout to do so as she wasn't a Maori. What she did to resolve this was to write through the eyes of Isla, an orphaned Pakeha teenager who was taken in by local Maori.
   Isla grows to womanhood and marries a young Maori warrior. When tensions ignite between Maori and Pakeha in the Waikato region Isla accompanies her man to war. Battle weary, Isla leaves the conflict to search for her younger siblings and is captured by officers of the queen who take her back to Auckland. Isla is determined to escape and return to the Taranaki region to be with her Maori family.
   Challinor has gone into great detail explaining the gritty realities of trench warfare. The reader can feel the hunger, the fear and desperation that the Maori must have gone through in these pitched battles. From the perspective of someone who is not a Kiwi I found a lot of the historical references confusing and confess I skimmed over a lot of the war strategy discussions. However the way Challinor describes daily Maori life is fascinating.
   Much of the dialogue is written in a broad Scottish accent which is initially unsettling, but becomes easier to cope with as you get engrossed in the story. A good novel for those who like historical romance.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Island Bound by Deb Loughead

Island Bound (Pearson Education
NZ, 2007)
Island Bound is Hannah's story of discontent when she finds out that her family are moving to Bermuda for two years. Hannah loves her home and friends in Canada and doesn't want to be uprooted, despite her love of Bermuda, where the family have regular holidays. The family flies to Bermuda for a week to find a house to rent and prepare for the big transition. Whilst riding a bicycle along the road, Hannah encounters an apparition. Hannah's house-keeper believes it's the ghost of Martha Cox but she won't elaborate. Hannah is determined to uncover more.
   This children's story starts out slowly, so slowly it may bore many readers, which is a shame because once the plot about the ghost kicks in, at around chapter six, it's actually quite an engaging story. A good one for primary school aged children if they have the stamina to persevere with the first third of the book.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tusi Tamasese webcast

Tusi Tamasese, Samoan born writer
and film director
For those interested in Pasifika movies, Tusi Tamasese, the Samoan born award winning writer and film director can be heard on the latest webcast from Pacific Voices-Commonwealth Writers. Tamasese talks to Kath Akuhata-Brown about his latest project 'The Orator'. To register, email Joe Byrde at j.byrde@commonwealth.int . The webcast is scheduled for Saturday the 15th of June, 2013, 6-6.45pm (NZST).