Book Review: A Pivotal Right (Shaking the Tree#2) by K. A. Servian

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I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for A Pivotal Right by K. A. ServianA Pivotal Right is the second book in the author’s ‘Shaking the Tree’ series and the sequel to A Moral Compass.  I read A Moral Compass last year and really enjoyed it so I was thrilled when Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours contacted me about taking part in the tour for A Pivotal Right.  Read my review below.

You can see the other great book bloggers taking part on the tour page along with links to their reviews of the book, extracts and other content.  If you’re a US resident, the tour page is also where you can enter the giveaway for a chance to win one of 10 ecopies of The Moral Compass.  Please read the terms and conditions for the giveaway.

A Pivotal RightAbout the Book

Florence struggled for breath as she stared into the face of a ghost. “Jack?”

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift her medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack’s child?

Format: Paperback, ebook (428 pp.)    Publisher: Sweetpea Publishing
Published: 15th August 2018         Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Purchase Links* ǀ ǀ Barnes & Noble
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find A Pivotal Right (Shaking the Tree #2) on Goodreads

My Review

Although A Pivotal Right can be read as a standalone, for maximum enjoyment I would recommend starting with the first book in the series, A Moral Compass, not least because the importance of the role of one character in the first book will only become clear to new readers some way through the second.  However, there is plenty of recapping of events in the first book for the new reader starting with A Pivotal Right.

In fact, readers starting the series with A Pivotal Right will find themselves in much the same position as Florence’s daughter, Viola; learning surprising things about her mother’s past in a series of unexpected, and at times shocking, revelations.  I found Viola an engaging character: independent-minded, ambitious, a little headstrong at times but displaying the same belief in equality and fairness as her principled mother (including in the ‘pivotal right’ of universal suffrage).

The book has some swift changes in location and timeline as events of the twenty years between A Moral Compass and A Pivotal Right are revealed.    At times, there is a sense of history repeating itself as Viola undergoes a traumatic experience that  mirrors her mother’s similar experience years before.  (The author certainly does like to create some really amoral characters.) As the events of the book unfold, many of the characters face moral choices between following their heart or fulfilling their responsibilities to others and between staying true to their principles or standing by promises made long ago.

One of the things that originally drew me to the first book in the series, A Moral Compass, was the New Zealand setting.  I did find myself wishing for a little more local colour, as the New Zealand that Florence and Viola experience in A Pivotal Right is predominantly ‘European’: taking tea with other ladies, leaving calling cards, attending church.   The indigenous population is largely absent.  I did enjoy the brief foray outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch when Viola and her companion, Matilda, travel to a remote sheep station.

A few potentially intriguing story lines were briefly introduced but not fully developed, such as Florence’s brother’s interracial marriage, the simmering conflict between the indigenous Maoris and European settlers and the campaign for women’s suffrage in New Zealand (although the latter two are covered in the author’s interesting historical notes at the end of the book).  Maybe the author will explore these in future books.

A Pivotal Right kept me thoroughly entertained with its gradual reveal of the events in the twenty years since the reader said goodbye to Florence and Jack at the end of the first book.  It’s a story of missed opportunities, misunderstandings and secrets but also of the possibility of second chances in life and love.  I was excited to see at the end of the book a reference to a third in the series, Slaves in Petticoats, billed as ‘coming soon’.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

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K A ServianAbout the Author

As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewellery making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewellery labels.

She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills accumulated over the years: design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing in around working on her novels, knocking out the occasional short story, teaching part-time and being a wife and mother.

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