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Monday, September 9, 2019

Review: Heart of the Cross

Title: Heart of the Cross
Author: Emily Madden
Publisher: 19th August 2019 by Harlequin Australia, HQ (Fiction, Non Fiction, YA) & MIRA
Pages: 400 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction
My Rating: 5 crowns

From Ireland to Kings Cross, a legacy of loss and hope echoes across the generations ...
Tinahely, Ireland, 1959 Rosie Hart is content leaving her home behind to follow her new husband to Australia. But she soon discovers there is no room for her or their young son in the life he has built in vibrant Kings Cross. As their marriage crumbles, Rosie will need to fight for the golden future her son deserves.
Rose Bay, 1984 Haunted by her past, Rosie is determined her daughter Maggie will follow the path she has set out for her. But Maggie has plans of her own, and Rosie can only pray the grief that plagues the Hart name won't follow her.
Sydney, 2017 When her grandmother dies and leaves Brianna Hart a secret apartment in Kings Cross, Brie wonders what else Rosie was keeping from her. As Brie chases the truth of Rosie's past she uncovers an incredible story of passion, violence, love and tragedy. Is the Hart family's legacy of loss inescapable, or has Rosie gifted her granddaughter with a future of hope?
My Thoughts

‘Feathers are brave—they go where the wind takes them. Feathers are patient—they arrive at their destination, fall to the ground and wait. And they’re strong—just like the Hart women.’

Heart of the Cross is wonderful historical fiction by Aussie author Emily Madden and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once again, I found her writing to be rich and engaging with this novel firmly cementing her as a ‘go to’ or ‘must read’ author. On this occasion, we have three timelines, with three women - Rose, Maggie and Brie - all from the same family. The emotions that flow through all three stories demonstrate a real dignified strength and determination.

There is much to appreciate with plenty on offer given there is such an extended timeline. A rich and fulfilling family saga most certainly, that is filled with not only the expected sadness and heartaches, but also keeps you eagerly turning pages with an enticing mystery, slowly unfurled with puzzle pieces gradually placed together. Then there is also the setting, Kings Cross (Sydney, Australia) - almost a character within itself. It was fascinating to watch this iconic destination transform over the years and I especially enjoyed the 1950's-60's time period. At my age, I also could smirk over many of the 80s references such as Island Cooler’s that brought back some fond times. 

However, at its heart this is a story of great tragedy held together by the firm ties of family and friendship despite all of the many hardships. Each main character  held her own in their given time period (Rose has to be a firm favourite with all she endured and then achieved in her lifetime) and you easily transition from Rose in the 50s to Maggie her daughter, to then Brie in the present day. The voices of all three women were strong and relatable. All in all, this is a wonderful story, incredibly heartwarming amidst the heartache and one which I highly recommend.

‘You can travel to the ends of the earth, Brie, but one day you’ll realise that what you were looking for was right here all along. Only then it might be too late.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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