Review Blog

Apr 28 2011

The Valley of Blood and Gold by Tony Palmer

cover image

Penguin, 2011. ISBN 9780143008972.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. The year is 1854. Miners are rebelling against soldiers at Ballarat, but Fintan Donovan, a young Irish boy, is fighting battles of his own. The Irish and English are enemies, and one of the greatest enemies of Fintan's family is Joseph Ward, a local wealthy preacher who hates the Irish. As the situation in Ballarat reaches breaking point and Fintan struggles to keep his friendship with Joseph Ward's son, Matthew, he discovers things about himself that he never thought he would.
The Valley of Blood and Gold is a wonderful book that is richly descriptive, surprising and thoroughly enjoyable in many ways. It was fascinating to read about Australia in 1854 and what was happening during that time, especially about the Eureka Stockade battle. The actual story begins some time before that, and it was exciting, seeing the tension slowly building up in the story, until suddenly everything happened at once.
I thought this story was original, and quite clever. The main theme of the Irish and the English hating each other was a good theme to write about, and it certainly made for some engaging reading, especially when two warring characters confronted each other. As for the atmosphere of the story, the author did a good job of making it feel like 1854, with the description, the dialogue, and so forth.
On the blurb, it says 'vivid and powerful, The Valley of Blood and Gold evokes a moment in history that is entrenched in national heritage.' And that basically sums it up.
I highly recommend this book.
Rebecca Adams (Student)

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