Sentence of Marriage by Shayne Parkinson

Sentence of Marriage 
Author:  Shayne Parkinson
Series:  Promises to Keep, book 1
Category:  Historical Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Publisher:  Shayne Parkinson via Smashwords
Release Date:  April 22, 2011
My Rating:  5 stars

Book Description:

image“I won’t have her forced,” Jack said. “Let her decide for herself.”

Amy knew her father meant it. She could say no if she wanted. But this marriage would make everything all right. They could put all the trouble she had caused behind them. Everyone would be happy again.

Everyone except her.

In nineteenth century New Zealand, there are few choices for a farm girl like Amy. Her life seems mapped out for her by the time she is twelve. Amy dreams of an exciting life in the world beyond her narrow boundaries. But it is the two people who come to the farm from outside the valley who change her life forever, and Amy learns the high cost of making the wrong choice.


As I’m sure that I have mentioned before, so many novels follow a rote formula… Beautiful woman meets handsome man. They fall in love. A misunderstanding or circumstances draw them apart. They are miraculously reunited at the last moment, and they live their happily ever after fairy tale life.

This formula sells books. We seek an escape from the difficult and mundane lives that we live. It is the rare author that writes a novel that doesn’t wrap up so prettily. A novel that shows just how wretched life can really be.  Shayne Parkinson  is one of those rare authors.

I “purchased” this novel for free at the Kindle store.  I have found some wonderful authors that way.  I loved this book so much that it was hard to keep my nose out of it.  I finished it and then purchased the remaining books in the series as I was so drawn in that I needed to know the whole story right away.  If you love a book that goes outside the tried and true formula then I bet you will fall in love with Parkinson’s books as I have.

In Sentence of Marriage I am reminded of my children who are still young enough and naive enough to believe that life should be fair. Well I am afraid that it is not. Sometimes good and trusting people, which our protagonist Amy is, get trampled in life. Sometimes a persons story is incredibly difficult, sad, raw. This novel touches the heart and emotions at a very deep level.

This is not a feel good novel but it is an extremely great novel and well worth reading.  Even better…Parkinson offers it for free!

Books in the Promises to Keep series:

  1. Sentence of Marriage
  2. Mud and Gold
  3. Settling the Account
  4. A Second Chance

About the Author:

imageI write historical novels set in New Zealand, starting in the 1880s. My sixth book, “After the Roses”, takes the series to 1924. I’m fascinated by social history, particularly that of my own country.

I was born in New Zealand, and apart from two years in England have lived here all my life. I’m married to my childhood sweetheart, who grew up in the farming valley that’s the inspiration for my imaginary one.

We have a few acres in the countryside, where we have an orchard and a large vegetable garden, and a small flock of sheep to keep the grass down. We make our own wine, cider, jams, jellies and sauces.

More about the background to my books at

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