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Sentence of Marriage (Promises to Keep, #1)
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Sentence of Marriage (Promises to Keep #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,731 ratings  ·  388 reviews
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.
ebook, 414 pages
Published 2009 by Smashwords
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I HATED this book. I will never read this book again as long as I live. I am sorry that I found it and read it.

Why will I never read this book again? Why did I hate it and give it four stars? Two very good questions.

I gave this book four stars because the author created characters and wrote a powerfully emotional tale that impacted me so much that it pissed me off. A book that evokes so many emotions deserves four stars, or more.

If you are looking for a book that is light and fluffy or a cute c
Victoria (daisyduck)
I LOVED this book! Shayne Parkinson has done a fantastic job of painting a picture of the life of a 19th century New Zealand farm girl. I found myself absolutely enchanted with the comings and goings of Amy's family within minutes of starting to read this book.
It's effectively a historical family saga, so there are highs, lows, surprises, romances, betrayals and more. Added to all of this, there are interesting insights into farm life at that time, something that I knew little about. The charac
Sentence of Marriage is one of those books that is full of *real* life. If you're looking for a happy historical romance that brushes over the realities of life in the eighteenth century, this book is not for you. Yes, it's a sad book and the end is a bit of a depressing cliff-hangar. I have not read the four books that follow this one yet, however I want to! Despite the fact that this book is full of unhappy events, the author writes VERY well. The multitude of details she wrote into Amy, her f ...more
Aug 15, 2011 Nelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This book really got me hooked, I love those "coming of age" books, and this one got my attention especially because it's set in New Zealand during the Victorian period, and I'm a sucker for books set in this period of time and to top it off its a family saga, so once I started reading I just couldn't put it down.
One of the most enjoyable things about reading this book was not knowing what was going to happen next although some things are quite predictable, basically it's the story of Amy a farm
I read this in one day and am now going back to buy the other two books in the series. It is any real reminder of the way of life in a remote rural area and the attitutes held then. The reader is so drawn in to the little family and especially to Amy, that bright little star with so much potential. It really hurts when she is so badly treated physically, mentally and emotionally. And all the time she is so concerned about the rest of her family and her baby daughter, rather than railing about he ...more
This book was no fairytale ending. I laughed and cried. I think this book was one of the most depressing books I read in a long time. I couldn't even talk about the book to my husband without crying. I felt so sorry for Amy and all the struggles she endured. She is a much stronger person than I am. I don't want to give away to much of the book, so I wont go into detail. But I can't stand how naive Amy's father is and common sense seems to be out the window with that man. The frustrating part is ...more
To be honest I don't really understand why this book has so many good reviews. On the one hand, it is extremely well written, very easy to read and Shayne Parkinson paints an engaging (and historically accurate) portrait of colonial New Zealand. The characters are for the most part complex and interesting. BUT it is possibly one of the most predictable books I have ever read. I mean really. (view spoiler) ...more
There really isn't too many shelves for me to tag this book in. This isn't really a romance at all,at least not this first book. I guess it's more of a family saga.

Amy is 13 when the story starts. She lives on a farm with her father and two brothers in New Zeland and in the 1800's there really isn't much for a girl to do other than help take care of her family until she gets married. When her father returns from a trip to Auckland he brings home a new wife.......a nasty piece of work that goes
I got this free from Amazon, and it was not the light historical romance I was expecting. In fact, it was not at all the kind of book I would have read if I had known more about it. I like my comfort reading with a tidy happily-ever-after for all involved, which did not happen here.

That being said, this was an extremely compelling book. It was well-written, hard to put down or stop thinking about, and very easy to get lost in. I loved the descriptions of late 19th, early 20th century farm life,
Gayla Johnston
I got this book because it was free on my Nook. I zoomed through it. I read a lot of reviews about it and there were so many that said they didn't like it because they couldn't understand why Amy would allow things to happen to herself. That was not the way I perceived it at all. This is how things were in that time period! Women were treated differently and the way of life was much different back then. I think all 4 of the books in this series were great. I hate history, but I read all the book ...more
Laurie Boltin
I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to read this book, but I LOVED it! I downloaded it FREE at Barnes and Noble for my Nook. It is a wonderful story that focuses on the life of a young girl named Amy growing up in the late 1800's. We see glimpses of farm life back then and how families lived, plus we get the pleasure of interacting with Amy and her family, including a new stepmother (who is quite the character you love to hate) and her first love.

I had no idea it was a trilogy but I im
I didn't like the book. It was well written, but not the kind of book I like to read. It's the first in a series of 3 or 4 books. It reminds me of a Danielle Steele novel where horrible things keep happening to the main character until finally at the end of her life, the main character finds some happiness. Well, happiness doesn't come at the end of book 1. I read the reviews of book 2 and 3 and it seems like maybe things work out for the main character by the end. Who knows? I don't want to inv ...more
George Hamilton
It took me a while to get into Sentence of Marriage, but I'm so glad I kept going, until I just had to find out what happened to the main character, Amy.

At the start of this family saga, Amy's father surprises her and her two brothers by returning home from a trip to Auckland with a new wife. Her step-mother Susannah, who is from a pampered background, has great difficulty adapting to her new role as a farmer’s wife in the remote countryside. This leaves the teenaged Amy still having to do most
Catherine Condie
Shayne Parkinson's writing draws you into a world you wish you were a part of. Sentence of Marriage is just the most beautifully written journey into nineteenth century New Zealand history. Amy led me into a tapestry of situations, exhibiting her dilemmas in life and in love. Evocative and compelling, I was truly struck by the fullness of the descriptions and the strength of Amy's voice. This is a wonderful series of books, and I put Shayne Parkinson side by side with L M Montgomery.
This book is about a young farm girl Amy growing up in the 1800's in New Zealand,who having already lost her mother and grandmother is expected to take on the housekeeping and cooking for her father and two elder brothers. When her father brings home a surprise and much younger bride , everyone's lives are forever changed especially hers, and not necessarily for the better. This is a really well written book full of characters you will love to hate, and a cliffhanger ending that makes it hard to ...more
A sad story about a young girl living a happy life with her widowed father and brothers until her father brings home a new 'mother' to help him raise the kids. The new wife is a vindictive jealous woman who never loses her bitterness over having to marry beneath her in order to escape spinsterhood. She makes everyone miserable. but takes most of her venom out on the daughter, who was the apple of her father's eye. Cut off from the support of her father, the innocent girl is seduced by the evil s ...more
I love this sort of book. Grim, gritty books where nothing happens but everything happens. When I tried to explain this sort of book to the child, he said "well, what's the plot?" and I said "well, there really *is* no plot, it's just life!" and that's what it is. Historical life in New Zealand in the early 1800s. So, figure you're going to be reading about farming, about washing clothes in a tub (and hauling water from the creek to do so), about birthing at home and losing babies (and blood) wh ...more
I received the first book in the Promises to Keep series as a free book for my Amazon Kindle. I will admit that I had a very difficult time reading this book. Many times, the subject matter was so horrific and abusive(IMO) that I had to put the book down, walk away and come back to it later when I could get my emotions back under control.

This book is not for the faint of heart. While it is definitely a work of fiction, it deals with many of the real life struggles that women had to deal with and
This is the first free Kindle book (out of dozens) to which I have purchased the sequels. I couldn’t stop reading them. The Promises to Keep series is extremely well-written. The historical content is well-researched, the characters are very well-developed and even though the books are long and detailed, I found every detail interesting.

The main downside, as others have mentioned, is that there is no happy ending. The first three books in this series run together. They each end at a natural stop
Shirley Ford
I gave this book 5* It was unputdownable!

This was a free e-book, downloaded as a recommend. It is the story of a young girl living on a farm in New Zealand in the 1800s. Having lost her mother and then her grandmother, who taught all she knew, she takes care of her father and two brothers and runs the house as if it is her own. It is a hard life for all of them, but they seem happy. Her life changes for the worse when her father remarries and brings home his young fashionable wife, who dislikes
Stephanie Dray
I have nothing but complaints about this book and yet I'm enthralled by it. The dialog can be eye-rolling. The characters are mostly cardboard. Our heroine is that meek, butter won't melt in her mouth kind of girl I can't stand. The plot unfurls with complete predictability.

And yet...and yet... it is compulsively readable. I got attached to these characters and their world. The details are lovely. The themes are meaningful. I will read the next book and maybe even the next one after that. Whate
Pamela Kelley
This author's writing blew me away. These are historical sagas that read like page-turners and how she manages that when discussing mundane things like milking cows is what is so amazing. That said, there is a fair amount of darkness to this series and I'd caution anyone who is sensitive to domestic violence that it is a strong focus. It's dealt with very well, but although this is a warmly written book, it's not warm and fuzzy, there are lots of prickly bits. But the overall story and writing i ...more
P S Karr
The story of Sentence of Marriage takes us back to July of 1881, to a small farmhouse on a small island off Auckland, New Zealand. Amy, our protagonist, is just thirteen years old. Motherless since a young age, she has recently lost her grandmother too. Her father and brothers Harry and John dote on her, but life on a farm is hard. She has lots of chores other than cooking, cleaning and maintaining the homestead. Her cousin Lizzie lives close by and is her best friend, a precocious fourteen year ...more
This review is not just for Sentence of Marriage, which is the first book in Promises to Keep. I just finished the 3rd book, the ending of a long story started in Sentence of Marriage. Shayne Parkinson's decision to publish one long novel in three parts has angered some reviewers, who feel cheated when the first two books end on nail-biting cliff hangers and they feel compelled to buy another book to find out what happens next.

Compelled to buy another book. That alone tells you a great deal abou
Sentence of Marriage was a very engaging read. The setting is a family farm in late 19th century New Zealand. The story begins with the family of a father, two older sons, and a daughter aged 12. Her mother had died when Amy, the main character and daughter, was only three. Amy has taken on most of the duties of the woman of the house at the time. She wanted to be a teacher, but because of circumstances she was not allowed to pursue that dream. Her father and brothers depended on her to cook, cl ...more
I've read many a book where the main character goes through some tough stuff, but in the end they either become stronger and triumph, or situations right themselves and something good turns out.
The author torments the main character, Amy, throughout this book with a father who seems loving but makes horrible decisions for her, a "lover" who rapes her and uses her, all the while wooing her, and a step mother who, I'm pretty certain, is from hell.
While reading "Sentence of Marriage" one can't help
Zoe Schoppa
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.

I am reminded of my
This book was really well-written. Seriously. The historical detail about life in 19th C. New Zealand was presented in prose that put you right into the scene.

And I did not much care for this book.

How can this be, you ask? Because I was able to predict just about every plot point. We start with Amy, the main character, at age 12. She, her widowed father, and her two brothers live on a large farm. Her father brings home a beautiful young stepmother, Susannah, who (of course) immediately starts tr
I like history, especially social history. Its my favourite genre. To begin with I wondered whether a story of rural life in New Zealand in the 1880s was going to keep me interested for a series of books, but the description of the bush, the creek, the birds and the characters soon got me hooked. I have now read the whole series and the sequel and enjoyed everyone one of them. The more I read, the more I wanted to know about the central characters and what would happen to them. Skilfully interwo ...more
Very nicely done coming of age and having your dreams crushed story set in nineteenth century New Zealand. At times it's easy to get frustrated with the naivete of the main character, but then you remember being a young girl yourself, and imagine what being a young girl in that time must have been like, and then are just filled with sadness and pity.
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