Deb's Reviews > The Settling Earth

The Settling Earth by Rebecca  Burns
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it was amazing
bookshelves: short-stories, historical-fiction, outside-the-us-and-uk

Last year I read Rebecca Burns’ short story collection Catching the Barramundi, and I enjoyed it so much I was happy to receive her latest work for review.

The Settling Earth is a collection of short stories all set in the same time and place, a small settler’s community in New Zealand in the 1800’s. This book is almost a blend of novel and short stories, since each story leads in some way to the next one, and all the characters’ lives intersect. These are short, short stories, and just as you get to care for the characters, you are moved on to the next one – but I loved the way you find out more about each character in the stories that follow.

These are stories about the challenges facing these early settlers, particularly the women. Life in this place and time was harsh, and not always what the settlers were expecting. Motherhood is a common theme in many of the stories, and even though I’m not a parent, the stories resonated with me. These characters want to protect their loved ones, and they aren’t always successful. I found many of these stories disturbing but powerful.

This book reminded me of Emma Donoghue’s Astray in a lot of ways, particularly in the theme of settling in a strange land, and in the emotional impact of the stories.

The last story in the collection is about Haimona, a Maori native trying to make sense of the white settlers. It’s written by Shelly Davies of the Ngātiwai tribe and adds an important perspective to this collection.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My full review is at

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Reading Progress

December 27, 2014 – Started Reading
December 27, 2014 – Shelved
January 3, 2015 – Finished Reading
January 14, 2015 – Shelved as: short-stories
January 14, 2015 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
April 2, 2015 – Shelved as: outside-the-us-and-uk

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