Hand Me Down

by Michelle Holman

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The previous novel I read New Orleans Mourning the author didn’t give any nuances in character development at all, let alone make any of them become likeable people. In Hand Me Down Ms Holman does this effortlessly and I really enjoyed the start of this story where a formerly spoilt princess returns to a home town, full of people who have good reason to not be able to stand her. Lots of witty lines and April and Tarn’s early relationship sparkles.

Unfortunately it all turns to custard.

Maybe Ms Holman had to reach a minimum book length. Maybe she was planning a series with either the lively Gudsell family or some of Tarn’s army buddies. Dunno, but suddenly there were way too many characters and the male lead started doing things that didn’t make sense at all. Thirty pages from the end, this book became so ridiculous that I had to force myself to finish.

My copy mentions a new book coming out in 2012. This doesn’t appear to have happened and the URL for Miss Holman’s website is dead & her authorial Facebook page was abandoned in 2018 (although translations of her books were released in the 2010s.) I’m guessing that like many NZ authors in the early 2010s that Michelle lost her publishing contract and decided not to continue. This is a pity, as I have heard good things about her other titles and may read them in the future.

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