venerdì 30 gennaio 2015

Review: The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q by Sharon Maas

Thirty years of family secrets. Three generations of women.
One family heirloom that could change everything.

This sweeping family drama will delight fans of Rosie Thomas
and Sue Monk Kidd. 

The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q
by Sharon Maas
Published by Bookouture on January 30, 2015 
Genres: Women's Fiction

Pages: 417
Format: eBook 
Source: Net Galley 

An epic, mesmerizing tale of tragic loss, the strength of words left unspoken, and the redeeming power of love. When she ran away from her childhood home in Guyana, Rika swore that she would never return. Cut off from her family, she has fought hard to make a life for herself and daughter, Inky, in London.
Now, over thirty years later, Rika’s cantankerous, wheelchair-bound mother, Dorothea, arrives in London. But as old wounds re-open, Dorothea and Rika are further apart than ever. Inky soon learns that her grandmother is sitting on a small fortune. As she uncovers the secrets of the past one by one, she unravels the tragedy that tore her mother and grandmother apart. But nothing can prepare her, or Rika, for Dorothea’s final, unexpected revelation.

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My Review

The three protagonists of this story are wonderful women with a very strong character but very different from each other. Dorothea, grandmother, Rika, her daughter, and Inky, her niece.
Inky is 18 years old was born and raised in London and has never visited the country from which her mother, Guyana. Rika has not seen her mother for more than 30 years: she has run away from home very young and  since she is a proud woman has never apologized, so her mother. She married the wrong man: drunk, unfaithful, irresponsible. She is now widowed and in debt. Dorothea has always lived in Guyana, lately no longer self-sufficient, living on a wheelchair and her daughter Marion takes care of her. But now Marion wants to go live with her daughter who is about to give birth and she can no longer care for her mother. The other two sons of Dortohea have their wife too busy in their career to manage a nagging mother-in-law in a wheelchair. The only that can take care of her is Rika, her brothers will help her financially with the costs. Inky will see for the first time grandmother, her only grandma: she has never known, they have written letters only when she was very small but then their communications were reduced to  a Christmas card. Inky is hoping to finally find out what is the awful secret that it did quarrel mother and grandma so hard as not to see each other for 30 years. Another protagonist of the story is a family heirloom, a stamp that seems to be unique in the world ........

The characters are all realistic and very well characterized, both the main and secondary: in addition to the protagonists I am very fond of Freddy and Sal, I wish I had an aunt like Marion and a mother-in-law as  Ma Quint. Very exciting the idea of telling the story by jumping back and forth between past and present, and alternating the point of view of three women. Most of the story is told in first person by Inky and other parts are from the point of view of the mother and grandma but are written in third person. There is Dorothea teenager in Guyana colonized who fight for the rights of black people. Rika girl in the 60s in the post colonial Guyana and finally Inky teenager in modern London.
I loved everything about this novel: the plot, the places, the characters, the cover.
It 's a sweet romance, romantic, exotic, about family and forgiveness.
I want to thank the author because thanks to this book I got to know and "visit" a great nation that  I didn't know.

I received a copy of this from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

The true story behind the novel

The British Guiana One Cent Magenta stamp recently sold for a record-breaking £5.6 million at a New York auction by Sotheby’s – making it the world’s most valuable object by weight and size.
For Sharon Maas there is a personal connection to the world’s most famous stamp which bears the initials of postal clerk Edmund Wight, also her great-great Grandfather. His role in its genesis inspired her to write a novel, which was signed by Bookouture as part of a twobook deal. Sharon says:
“Growing up, the story of the innocent signing of a stamp that would go on to earn a fortune always fuelled my imagination. What if another one of those stamps survived within the family, I asked myself; what if it turned up in one of those drawers I used to burrow through as a child? Those ‘what ifs’ never left me and, after the publication of my first three novels, it became the inspiration for a story in which just such a stamp turns up – a family heirloom worth millions. The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q is the result”


Sharon Maas was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951.

She was educated in Guyana and England. After leaving school she worked as a staff journalist at the Guyana Graphic and the Sunday Chronicla in Georgetown.

Sharon has always had a great sense of adventure and curiosity about the world we live in, and Guyana could not hold her for long. In 1971 she set off on a year-long backpacking trip around South America. Her travel articles were published in the Chronicle.

In 1973 she travelled overland to India through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and spent two years in an Ashram in South India.

Her first novel, Of Marriageable Age, is set in India and Guyana and was published by HarperCollins in 1999. Subsequent novels were published in 2001 and 2003.

At present she works as a Social Worker in a hospital in South Germany. 

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