Welcome to a weekly post, Throwback Thursday. This weekly book review post is a way to share some old favourites, books that were published over a year ago and most importantly those books that have been languishing on the to be read pile for far too long!
The child has no name, she’s a little girl…lost and forgotten.
Named by the wife of the paddle steamer captain who finds her half drowned in the Murray River, Alice must survive in a world that reviles her. Because Alice has a gift…or a curse. She can see an aura of colours around the people she meets – and those colours tell her of impending doom.
With her friend Rosey, Alice runs away to the gold fields and then joins a troupe of entertainers where people pay to hear her predictions. But she can never escape her past…along with the frightening man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes…
Present: Annie Reuben is an art restorer in her father’s business, but times are tough. After being given a long–lost painting found in the basement of a condemned hotel, Annie becomes intrigued by the two girls who stare out at her from the ruined canvas.
Who were Alice and Rosey? And why does Annie find their lives so important? As Annie becomes caught up with finding answers from the past, she finds herself being stalked by the same frightening man in the dark coat who follows her wherever she goes…
Mrs R’s Review:
Colours of Gold is Aussie author Kaye Dobbie’s debut novel. While I have read Kaye’s later works, I was feeling some trepidation about going back to where it all started. I often find an author’s first book is not as good as their current because they are yet to be the writer I have come to know. Kaye proved the exception to the rule with her debut historical fiction tale that is set in the present time and 1867 in Victoria, Australia. Kaye also dabbles in the paranormal, which added further intrigue, as well as further themes of family, friendship, child labour, women’s roles in society and the Gold Rush to name just a few.
One of my favourite writing structure is the dual timeline. The majority of the time I am impatient to delve in to the past and hurry past the present but in Colours of Gold I enjoyed both timelines. Art restorer Annie Reuben is the protagonist in the present. Knowing nothing about this area, it was an educational and interesting read to learn how art restoration works. Most importantly, Kaye portrayed how it can become a passion, not just a job, if the right people are employed. On the flipside, it is just as political as any other job and has many problems that have to be dealt with, which is such a pity for such a rewarding career.
In 1867, a child named Alice can see auras, the dead and sometimes illnesses within a person. While I liked spending time with both Annie and Alice, Alice was definitely the most interesting character. Alice does not know who she is or where she comes from. Kaye has sensitively yet accurately described how difficult it was to be an abandoned girl and a child in the 19th century. Through Alice’s 18-year-old friend and ally, Rosey, Kaye shows the lack of choices women had in the late 1800s unless they were wealthy. It makes one very grateful to be born in modern times! Finding out the truth about Alice’s past was a wonderful adventure to embark upon with both girls as I was taken back to the Gold Rush era, absorbing little ‘nuggets’ of information along the way.
This is a wonderful introduction to the writing of Kaye Dobbie or a step back in time for fans eager to devour the book that began her career.
Colours of Gold by Kaye Dobbie was on 24th March 2014 by Harlequin Mira. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Colours of Gold, Kaye Dobbie, visit here.