Thursday 8 December 2016

Book Review: The Pounamu Prophecy by Cindy Williams

Blurb: Since she watched her village burn to the ground, Mere's life has been anything but dull. Now as an older woman she has come to stay with Helene and James to finish writing her life story - a tale of injustice, revenge and reconciliation.

But Helene and James have their own problems. After five years together, their marriage has become dull, predictable, boring ... and it starts to unravel.

Weaving fiction with the traumatic history of the Ngati Whatua tribe of Auckland, the Pounamu Prophecy sweeps from the sultry heat of Australia to the verdant shores of New Zealand.

My review

This story begins on two fronts: a traumatic event in the life of six-year-old Mere in Okahu Bay, Auckland, New Zealand in 1951, and a modern day couple struggling with the challenges of marriage, in Brisbane, Australia. Both stories are woven through the book at a pace that keeps the reader turning the pages.

James and Helene's story is a romance with a difference. It's about a couple who are past the first bloom of love and trying to keep a marriage alive with the pressures of careers and modern opportunities and temptations. It has all the ups and downs of any romantic story and it's not as predictable as some romances are. Both characters are complex and well written. I was annoyed with both at times but also found them endearing in their own ways.

The story of the young New Zealand girl, Mere, which takes the reader through to her old age, is a gripping historical saga. The events which are the focus of her story are not ones I knew about and so I was both intrigued and saddened by the unfolding tale of injustice, the strength of character of the tribal people and the lessons that were to be learned about community, respect and appreciating cultural differences. The character of Mere is a completely engaging and lovable one. It was easy as a reader to become very attached to her, as a young child and also as a woman in senior years. The wisdom and spirituality that is shared through her character is moving and challenging.

If I have any criticism of this story it would be that I would have liked more about Mere's story and a little less detail about Helene and James's journey, as engaging as it was. But that would be a personal preference for the historical over the romantic aspects of a novel.

Overall I found this story compelling. I'm not surprised it was a finalist in this year's Caleb award for fiction and look forward to reading other stories by Cindy Williams.
Carol Preston

Carol writes historical novels based on her family ancestry in Australia from the First Fleet. They include the Turning the Tide series; Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets and Truly Free. Two of her earlier novels, Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream, were re-released by EBP.  Next of Kin was released last year by Rhiza Press and the sequel, Beyond the Fight, was released this April. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website, her Amazon author page or FB author page.


  1. Good review, Carol. I enjoyed Cindy's novel as well. I particularly enjoyed its NZ and Maori flavour as I haven't read anything with such before.

  2. I enjoyed Cindy's book too and endorse all you wrote, Carol. So I'm also looking forward to her next book.

  3. Thank you Ian and Jo-Anne. It's good to see books from NZ and about NZ culture.

  4. I enjoyed the The Pounamu Prophecy too - and loved Mere's story.

  5. Thank you all for your encouraging comments. Carol, I too, much preferred writing Mere's story and during the editing considered deleting Helene altogether. But after working on it for so many years I just wanted to get it published and move on!!!


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