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Swords and Crowns and Rings
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Swords and Crowns and Rings

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  273 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
She was the banker's daughter, a highborn, golden beauty. He was a grocer's son, strong and proud, but fate had masked his strength and pride with a form that set him forever apart from other men. Compelling need drew them together, A bewitching fantasy encircled and sustained them. Then the Great Depression swept across Australia to impoverish the rich, humble the proud, ...more
Hardcover, 435 pages
Published January 1st 1978 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1977)
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Malcolm Frawley
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Firstly, this is Ruth Park's masterpiece. And that's really saying something considering she also wrote The Harp In The South trilogy & several other wonderful novels. It is also, for me, one of the greatest ever Australian novels; probably the greatest. I first read it in 1985 & would have given it 5 stars then. On 2nd read I wish there were more than 5 stars to give. Park inhabits the hearts, minds & souls of her ordinary, working folk as transcendentally as John Steinbeck (The Gra ...more
Warrick
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adfa-library
I have just started reading Ruth Park after all these years. I knew of her books but had just never ventured to pick one up. After listening to an interview with Ruth Park on a podcast from ABC Radio National, I liked the sound of her explanations behind her novels, so took the plunge.

One of those epic books that follows almost what seems a life time, and although I think Jack is only in about his mid twenties at the end it begins with his childhood and his first adventure with the girl next doo
...more
Kaye McSpadden
Oct 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it first came out, over 30 years ago, and I remember love LOVE LOVING it. The story of Jack, a young man with dwarfism in Australia during the depression, and his childhood love, Cushie, is engaging and enchanting. And although Park did a great job of depicting the wild and harsh setting of Australia of the 20s and 30s, the themes of the story -- including loneliness, cruelty, kindness, resilience, love, and loyalty -- are universal.

Having now read it three decades later, I
...more
Jill
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only became acquainted with this author's work earlier this year when I read 'The Harp in the South 'trilogy. This work is equally evocative. I became addicted to the book and couldn't wait to find out what each chapter had to offer. Must be honest and say if you are after a cheerful read dodge this little number.
Park is brilliant at describing the early years of the 20th century. Life was grim but even more so for Jacky Hannah, a dwarf and Cushie Moy, his childhood friend and eventually lover
...more
Lisa Shultz
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quote on the front cover says it surpasses The Thorn Birds. I don't quite agree. It was interesting but I liked The Thorn Birds more. It was a saga that I actually got weary of reading towards the end but at least it had a bit of a satisfying conclusion. I need that in a book! I had hoped to learn more about Australia, and I didn't learn much. It was more about the people than the country.
Louise McOrmond-Plummer
Beautiful, harsh, heartbreaking, wonderful book. An all-time favourite of mine - thoroughly engrossing as we follow Jackie and Cushie through their lives.
Julie
Winner of the 1977 Miles Franklin Award
Swords and crowns and rings tells the story of two young people born in an Australian country town before World War 1 13 pretty Cushie Moy (born to a comfortable family with the stereotypical socially ambitious mother who has married down) and the dwarf, Jackie Hanna (whose background is well and truly working class). Not surprisingly, Cushie 19s parents frown on the friendship which develops between the two. This is not an innovative story but, rather, goo
...more
Andrew Vh
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love Harp in the South you will enjoy this.
I love Ruth Park's concise yet emotive writing. She deals with themes of poverty and disadvantage in early 20th century Australia in a brutally honest way. In this book she provides a fascinating account of the Great Depression in Australia and the years leading up to it. Park, however, keeps the narrative focused on the emotional lives of real people, which means the deeply historical aspects of her writing never get boring (or preachy). In man
...more
Shellie Whild
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-vintage
A heartwarming story. Jackie has such courage and inner strength despite all the tragedies in his life. I enjoyed reading of his relationship with Jerry, his Dad, especially in the latter quarter of the book when they had lost almost everything but each other. In fact, I think I sympathised with Jerry more than Jackie who had youth, intelligence and a receptive mindset on his side. Poor old Jerry had a lot to overcome and his perception of his own self-worth was severely depleted by the drastic ...more
Lisa
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swords and Crowns and Rings is the enchanting story of Jackie Hanna, a dwarf, and Cushie Moy, whose friendship as children matures into a love that survives hardship, misunderstanding and a social chasm that would separate lesser mortals. They spend their childhood in an unremarkable Australian country town before World War I, where Jackie grows up believing that he can do and be anything. His step-father, Jerry Hanna, (‘the Nun’), is the rock on which this solid family life is based; Peggy Hann ...more
Brona's Books
The Miles Franklin Award aims to celebrate a novel each year that 'is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.'

Swords and Rings and Crowns is all of this.

There is nothing experimental or challenging about the format or structure of the book. It is straight forward historical fiction with a coming of age element and some romance. But it is beautifully realised.

Park's writing is evocative and authentic. She brings the hardships and the details of Depression
...more
Jan
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The five stars I've given this book indicate how much I enjoyed the story. This certainly isn't a great book, but, in spite of its length, I enjoyed it all. It seemed like a mixture of Great Expectations and The Worst Hard Time, set in Australia. An unusual aspect of the story is the physical deformity of the protagonist, an achondroplastic dwarf. Although somewhat like a soap opera, the story does revivify depression-era New South Wales, bring to life the politics of the time, and introduce a f ...more
Julia
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this book, the story and characters are timeless and endearing. I loved it when I read it for school over 20 years ago, last year when I finally got a copy and retread it, and this week reading it for book club. Park is very verbose but that is some of its charm. It is one of the novels that has made me fall in love with reading.
Heather
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book would win all the awards going if it had been written this year. It stands the test of time well. This was one of the first books I read when I first came to Australia 30 years ago. And I still love it. If you haven't read any Ruth Park, do yourself a favour! And if you haven't read any in a while,likewise.
Text Publishing
‘The ever popular Ruth Park has written one of the best novels of the decade.’
The Australian

‘Almost impossible to put down…its characters keep on living in the imagination.’
Sydney Sun

‘A fairy tale of a novel.’
Sydney Morning Herald
Book Bazaar
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story which shows how people coped through the depression in NSW. Great characters and descriptions.
Book Club have given their best marks of the year:
9/8/9/9/8.5/9/8.5/9/9/8/8/9/9/8.5/9/7/8/7
Victoria
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another staggeringly "cant put down" story by Ruth Park.
Sally Embury-thomas
A little predictable but nonetheless interesting reading. A heartbreaking look at the events during the depression.
Petra
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fantastic hobbit x Australian history, really engaging, cannot believe I haven't heard of this ruth park previously!
Rhonda Korda
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story - well worth reading. Should be up there with the Australian classic.
Barbara Helen Plumb
One of my favourite novels ever - this one will stay with you for a long time.
Anthony Dalton
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this over 30 years ago when I was about 15, and it absolutely blew me away. I just logged on to see if anyone else enjoyed it like I did. Definitely time for a re-read I reckon.
Caroline
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Made me thankful I wasn't around in the 1920s and 30s. Thought provoking stuff, Sydney still has homeless problem. Got to a happy ending after a lot of bad stuff. Love and friendship wins the day.
Tara Calaby
I don't remember a lot about this one, beyond the fact that I definitely read it as a teenager.
SharonB
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific read for those interested in family connections, romance and the realities of life. Suitable for ages 14 to adults.
Jemima Morley
rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2016
MFC
rated it it was amazing
Jan 25, 2013
Cel Jel
rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2013
Bronwyn
rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2008
Manda
rated it liked it
Dec 08, 2017
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53234
Ruth Park was a New Zealand-born author, who spent most of her life in Australia. She was born in Auckland, and her family later moved to Te Kuiti further south in the North Island of New Zealand, where they lived in isolated areas.

During the Great Depression her working class father worked on bush roads, as a driver, on relief work, as a sawmill hand, and finally shifted back to Auckland as counc
...more
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