Book Review: The Far Away Girl by Sharon Maas

Format: E-book

Pages: 449 pages

Published: March 2 2021

Publisher: Bookouture 

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

She dreamed of finding a new life…

Georgetown, Guyana 1970. Seven-year-old Rita is running wild in her ramshackle white wooden house by the sea, under the indulgent eye of her absent-minded father. Surrounded by her army of stray pets, free to play where she likes and climb the oleander trees, she couldn’t feel more alive.

But then her new stepmother Chandra arrives and the house empties of love and laughter. Rita’s pets are removed, her freedom curtailed, and before long, there’s a new baby sister on the way. There’s no room for Rita anymore.

With her father distracted by his new family, Rita spends more time alone in her bedroom. Desperate to fill up the hollow inside her, she begins to talk to the only photo she has of her mother Cassie, a woman she cannot remember.

Rita has never known what happened to Cassie, a poor farmer’s daughter from the remote Guyanese rainforest. Determined to find the truth, Rita travels to find her mother’s family in an unfamiliar land of shimmering creeks and towering vines. She finds comfort in the loving arms of her grandmother among the flowering shrubs and trees groaning with fruit. But when she discovers the terrible bruising secret that her father kept hidden from her, will she ever be able to feel happiness again?


The Far Away Girl takes readers on a heart wrenching journey that is both beautiful and inspiring. With a gripping story, full of grief and loss, readers will find the love and inspiration of this plot such a delight to read and provide the necessary escape that people will need during this time. Maas has done a great job creating such a captivating tale that is filled with an atmospheric tone that makes any reader forget where they are. Immerse yourself in a whole new environment when takes you to the 1970s Guyana, with Maas’s rich descriptions and developed characterization. You will feel you are not only there, but the realistic emotions of the setting and the characters, particularly Rita. Rita is a protagonist that you will both sympathize and fall in love. Rita’s urge to find a place of her own in a world that she felt has abandoned her is a sentiment that I think most readers will identify with. That connection is not always achieved when writing historical fiction and that is an aspect that cannot always be achieved when writing in this genre.

Some readers may have issue with the length and it may be difficult for some to get into the story. However, Maas is taking the time to build the foundation of a powerful historical story that will leave you gutwrench and breathless. Fans of The Vanishing Half and Where the Crawdads Sing will immensely enjoy this one and appreciate the in depth detail that this wonderful book gives to fans of historical genre.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sharon Maas was born into a prominent political family in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951. She was educated in England, Guyana, and, later, Germany. After leaving school, she worked as a trainee reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown and later wrote feature articles for the Sunday Chronicle as a staff journalist.

Her first novel, Of Marriageable Age, is set in Guyana and India and was published by HarperCollins in 1999. In 2014 she moved to Bookouture, and now has ten novels under her belt. Her books span continents, cultures, and eras. From the sugar plantations of colonial British Guiana in South America, to the French battlefields of World War Two, to the present-day brothels of Mumbai and the rice-fields and villages of South India, Sharon never runs out of stories for the armchair traveller.

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