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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Olga, A Daughter's Tale by Marie-Therese Browne

When author Marie Therese Browne sent me a mail asking if I would be interested to review her book 'Olga: A Daughter's Tale' in India, the word she used to describe the genre of her book was 'family-saga'. And that is exactly what got my bookworm spirit really excited.

Marie self-published the book in 2007 for close family and friends, but it was not until the year 2010 that she thought of starting to market the book.

The book is based on real events, chronicling the life of Olga, a young coloured girl, who went to London in 1939 for only a few months, but who could never return back to her family back in Kingston due to world events, tragedy and victimisation.

The beauty of Olga: A Daughter's Tale, is that it draws from real events and news. The author has done a thorough research and the same is evident in her use of real newspaper cuttings, dating as back as the year 1900, she has used real ads that were used in those days, giving us a 'real' glimpse into the situation of coloured and 'black' people at a time when slavery had just been abolished or was being abolished. The dates, the years, are all well researched and genuine.

The story of Olga begins way before Olga will be introduced to the reader, the intention being to give us a complete understanding of the history and background of the events that are to take place as Olga will be introduced later. The characters are well-drawn and etched in our minds for a long time. As you turn the pages, the events keep unfolding in front of your eyes, almost as if you have been transported to a different time and world altogether and are viewing everything in person. The book also shares old B&W photographs that help us understand the times and circumstances better.

What I really loved about the book was that though it has been written by a person from the other side of the globe, and the characters, as well as the story, is based in a part of the world that I have never been in, it was really easy for me to identify with the characters and settings. For all you readers here in India, this book is really a wonderful read, especially as it also gives a very detailed glimpse into the life, cultures and traditions of a race and people that we may not have experienced in person, but will love once we get to know them.

The writing style is flowing and easy to read through quickly. One very interesting thing I noticed in the book is the voice of the book. Marie has used diary entries to tell us of all the events that happened..check out about her style of writing in the interview I am going to do with her....

The book is filled with character and memories. The pages are made beautiful with sketches, diary entries, old newspaper advertisements and cut-outs.

You can easily order the book here:
1. Paperback copy at www.lulu.com/mariecampbell $13.49
2. Paperback copy at Amazon Books $9.95
3. Kindle eBook http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004J4W024 $0.99
4. ebook available to download in all formats at this link $0.99
No. of pages: 267

My verdict: Must-Read

- Debolina Raja Gupta