The Light Horseman's Daughter- David Crookes





Sometimes a really great book comes along.  A book so wonderful to read that it is painful to finish. A book that I long to reread again and again. 

This was not that book.

This was the story of Emma, daughter of Captain McKenna of the Australian Light Horse Brigade, during the 1930s and 40s.  Australia was in the throes of the Great Depression and headed toward World War 2.  Emma's father is hopelessly in debt and is tragically killed defending the family farm.  In the decades that follow, Emma faces one hardship after another as she seeks to make her way in the world and protect the remainder of her family.

Part of my problem with this book was the vast time span.  Rarely do I appreciate a book that covers decades of history.  I feel pulled along in one year one moment and five years later in the next.  Not a good feeling.  I also thought the whole book read more like a fictional documentary than a good story.  Events were related in an almost passionless prose.  Australia's history on the brink of World War 2 was interesting but made for a poorly written story.  Emma's sad life had few moments of happiness, almost to the point of making me feel, "Oh no, not again." when something bad was going to happen.

The history related in the book and the (spoiler alert) long in coming happy ending were the only redeeming features of this otherwise slow read.