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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Factory Bride by Elayne Chantrell

Every now and than life throws a curve ball your way. It's up to you as an individual to decide if you are going to let it make you or break you.

When sad or terrible things happen, what do you do to stay strong? Do you have people to support you? Are you lucky enough to have family and friends that you can lean on?
What if you were in the position of having no one?
Imagine yourself completely ostracized because of a single event and your life spins wildly out of control. How would you survive?

My next book is not for the faint of heart. It's an incredibly gut-wrenching book about a young lady's single mistake and how she ends up paying for it the rest of her life.



Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
  
"Factory Bride is an historical novel containing adult themes. Set in rural and industrial England on to colonial Australia around the turn of the 18th Century.
Factory brides was the name given to female convicts who had been transported to Australia. They could be chosen to marry freemen and earn their own freedom.
Elizabeth, born to a strictly religious family, runs away from home and after giving birth to her illegitimate son, turns to prostitution whilst searching for her errant Uncle James McIver. 
Follow the incredible journey from a small village in Cheshire to becoming one of the richest women in Australia. Experience all Elizabeth's tragedies, sadness and happiness along the way. This story is emotional and courageous, but tainted with mistakes and misfortune"

My Take:

 I have read alot of emotional works of fiction, and by far Elizabeth's story is one of the saddest I have read in recent memory. She struggles to move on with her life after an indiscretion has left her unwed, pregnant and in search of her uncle who 'may' be able to help her after she has become an outcast. (An impulsive move to say the least) She's a naive, unworldly, frightened and desperate girl who just ends up in one awful situation after another.  Ever the dreamer, Elizabeth proves strong in the face of adversity and is determined to make her life better, no matter what it takes. Even if that means taking to the streets as a 'Lady Of The Night'.

For all the tragedy this character suffers, Elizabeth shows remarkable strength. Raised in a deeply religious family, no matter what happens, she keeps her faith in God. Through all the horror and injustice it is a wonder how her character still has her faith and good heart intact. She has a magnificent temper, and when she needs it, she uses it! Other times, she comes off as the way I imagine a young girl in those times would be very sheltered and at times too trusting. She has a tendency to act too quickly and not think her decisions through. Elizabeth is woefully ignorant of certain things, and ends up having to trust in kind strangers with questionable lifestyles. They are her only source of survival. Through all this, she holds onto the fact that one day she will be reunited with her love and life will be as it should.
Her character learns and grows as the story continues. It's hard to fathom how one little mistake can send you on a horrific downward spiral. Every time Elizabeth starts clawing her way out, life kicks her down again.

 I was absorbed in this story and at times I felt like crying. Factory Bride is a novel that as you read you need to remind yourself it is 'just' a book. The author is extremely descriptive in her writing. She paints a vivid picture of what life may have been like in the late 18th century. The despair of the lower classes, the uncleanliness, the attitude of the time period, even the description of the scenes (from moldy walls to filthy clothes)
I appreciated the detail Elayne Chantrell put into this novel. While this is a work of fiction, it  provides a great sense of history while also shining a light on how evil lurks in this world, transcending time.

That said, Factory Bride tackles some of the most disturbing and emotionally draining subject matter you can read. (abuse, rape, molestation) The sad truth that hangs over your head as you read, is knowing these circumstances are just as rampant today as was back then. There are deplorable people out there.That particular knowledge makes the book that much more tragic.The author has set out to create awareness and discussions through Elizabeth's tale.

The story of what became of female convicts who were shipped off from England to Australia was both sad and insightful. I am not as familiar with Australian history as I am with other countries, so I was intrigued by the storyline that takes Elizabeth on that particular journey. I have made note to read further books on the subject, both fiction and non. (You never know when I am going to be on Jeopardy!)

Factory Bride has enormous potential. I did have a few key issues that I felt could raise this book (IMO) from a 3.5 star (I liked it!) to a 4-5 (I loved it!) star rating. I will try to make some of my points with less detail here for the curious who don't want the book ruined for them. (I will post a more detailed spoiler review on Goodreads and link it to this page when it is up)
I wish the ending was slightly different. I did quite enjoy what took place, however I didn't want it to be 'The End'. I wanted some more 'happiness' just to balance out the story a bit.
Another thing to note the novel was heavy on the foreshadowing. While I don't mind it at the start of a novel, there were a few instances along the way where I didn't feel it was needed. I would have much preferred the tale to continue fluidly without the back and forth, forth and back....
I also wouldn't of minded some headings about the date and location where the story jumped around.
The good news is that personally for me, it didn't ruin the story for me or irritate me to the point of setting the book down. I wanted to find out what happens to Elizabeth and the story kept me hooked. I just wanted to see her finally catch a break.

 One part of this novel that I can relate to is being raised in a religious house. My father is a pastor and if you really want to examine my life's journey, I could be described as a 'wayward' preachers kid (I've been called worse!) While reading this I wonder what my life would have been like back than.Would my life have resembled Elizabeth's?

So the big question is, do I recommend this novel? You bet your tushy I do!

This novel is for those looking for a read with no fluff involved. It's captivating. One of the large reasons I am championing Factory Bride is because of the discussions it can and will create. I commend the author for the way in which she (as delicately as one can in this type of story) approaches difficult subject matter. This book can be an eye opener is so many ways.

I have a question for you: When you read a novel as raw and thought provoking as this do you class it simply as entertainment, or are you one to actually look deeper and take lessons away from it realizing the author is sending a strong message?

 It is not my intention to warn anyone away from this novel, but I feel I should strongly advise if you are remotely squeamish about any of the topics listed above (and I know a few of you are) than I invite you to email me and ask questions. I will be happy to help you decide if this novel is right for you.
Both Elayne Chantrell and I believe it is, so please see the Giveaway at the end of this blog for a free e-book copy and a chance to win one of two paperback copies from the author!

To reiterate: If you are 18+ and love a good historical novel, than you should read it. Life isn't all sunshine and roses. Once in a while reading a book that reminds you of that isn't such a bad thing.

I conducted a brief interview with Elayne to follow this post! Be sure to read what she has to say about Factory Bride! 

**It has been pointed out to me that some answers may be viewed as spoilers. I don't think it is that big of a spoiler, but this is a warning for those who may see it as such**

Me:  I had never actually heard the term ‘Factory Bride’ before your novel, I'm having a hard time finding reference to it on the internet. Is this a bit of unknown Australian history, or is this fictional?

Elayne:  Factory Brides are factual my research for this information is exemplified in Robert Hughes, exceptional work...The Fatal Shore.... Everyone should read this if interested in this period.

Me: At times during the novel, with the immense detail I felt immersed in the late 18th Century. How much research was involved in creating your story?

Elayne:  Apart from, The Fatal Shore, I immersed myself in the history. I visited both Liverpool and Australia. As a resident of Warrington myself I had ample opportunity for local research. I enjoy that part of the writing process immensely. After all every day is a school day...I am a great believer in the fact that confident writing is embedded in knowledge.

Me:  You tackle the very disturbing topic of child molestation in your novel. How hard was that for you as an author to write? Why did you feel it was necessary for the plot?

Elayne:  Ah, the molestation....I have to say that I have edited this considerably. I believe it to be the most heinous of crimes. And to that end it was considerably more graphic. My intention was not to award plaudits, but for the crime to be seen for what it was...a product of a sick mind. If that offends anybody I make no apology. To write it, was gut wrenching. On a par with how Elizabeth felt on learning that her son was dead.
  You may ask, if I felt strongly about portraying the act as a description of a character, why I then edited a lot of graphical information out. Simply because I realised that by being so graphic, it will turn readers off message, and that would be sad.

 Me: You mentioned to me that you are working on a new book. What can we anticipate from you next?

Elayne:  My new novel is set between the wars, i.e. 1922 - 1945 ish. It's about an ordinary girl, who is intelligent enough to become an educator, but is born into a family where it is too expensive to learn. That is the overall plot. Intertwined with that is a love triangle which sees Sadie loving a man she can't marry, and marrying a man she doesn't really love or know. As with Factory Bride, this won't be a conventional romance. At this moment, I am about one third in and even I am curious  about what Sadie is going to do.....

*********************************************************************************

                   **** FACTORY BRIDE GIVEAWAY****

This Giveaway is slightly different from the rest! Elayne Chantrell has generously offered 10 E-book copies (via Smashwords) for you. These books are up for grabs by request! First come first serve! Email me at: reeniediva@gmail.com with the title "Factory Bride E-Book'.

This offer will be removed once all copies are gone.

Don't have an e-reader? Don't worry!!!

Must be 18+ 

Giveaways are International!
                                                  

                                  ** CONTEST WINNERS!!!**


CONGRATS TO BRENNA D. AND CASEY K. WHO EACH WON A PAPERBACK COPY!!


I also invite anyone who reads this novel to please leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon and let the author know your thoughts!






2 comments:

  1. I had no idea about that side of British-Australian history, either.

    Sounds fascinating, actually, as does her upcoming inter-war story.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd be happy to see that you get a copy to read! Let me know!

    ReplyDelete