No Small Shame - Historical Fiction book review

Australia, 1914. The world is erupting in war. Jobs are scarce and immigrants unwelcome. For young Catholic Mary O’Donnell, this is not the new life she imagined.

When one foolish night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a loveless marriage, Mary’s reluctant husband Liam escapes to the trenches. With her overbearing mother attempting to control her every decision, Mary flees to Melbourne determined to build a life for herself and her child. There, she forms an unlikely friendship with Protestant army reject Tom Robbins.

But as a shattering betrayal is revealed, Mary must make an impossible choice. Does she embrace the path fate has set for her, or follow the one she longs to take?    

From the harshness of a pit village in Scotland to the upheaval of wartime Australia, No Small Shame tells the moving story of love and duty, loyalty and betrayal, and confronting the past before you can seek a future.

Duffy’s Thoughts On No Small Shame

I had been finding it hard to pick up a book and be able to switch off and delve in. After a few pages, the words would become blurry, my attention would drift and I just hadn’t been feeling the urge to get stuck into a good book.

Those feelings thankfully have changed as my mood has lifted and I’ve crawled partially out of the funk most of us are experiencing in these strange times. Some extremely good books which have arrived at my doorstep have been a huge help in getting me back on track. No Small Shame is one of those reads.

No Small Shame book review. Historical Fiction
Published by Simon & Schuster available at Booktopia and all good book stores

We follow young Mary from the rough and poverty-stricken pits in Scotland as she grows from a teenager into a young woman with hopes, dreams and determination to break the cycle and not follow the life of her mother. A chance to relocate to Australia brings a slither of sunshine and hope that things may be different. Until a foolish decision threatens to pull Mary back to a world she wanted to so desperately escape.

No Small Shame is a pretty gritty reflection of life for the hard-working classes and it can be quite confronting to be reminded of the harsh, thankless lives many hardworking people faced. Yet, there are still shadows of discrimination, sexism, class, opportunity and poverty which have followed us to today. No Small Shame reminds us that some things, unfortunately, have not remained in history.

Christine Bell writes with such clarity and depth of character that it takes no time at all to be absorbed into the cramped O’Donnell household and wish a better life for her.

If you love Pamela Hart and Natasha Lester, you’ll love No Small Shame

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