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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Worth Fighting For by Mary-Anne O'Connor - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Junie's parents are broken. The war has taken one of their sons from them and the other two are fighting. They've neglected their farm and are now in debt. They will lose everything if Junie doesn't marry Ernest. He blackmails her into a union, while Junie's heart belongs to Michael. They only spend a few magical hours together as lovers, but he has a duty to his country and has to leave. Ernest will stay home to advance his career in politics instead. Junie has no choice, the wedding must take place.

Marlon is an American soldier. He's fighting together with the Australians against the Japanese. When he meets Junie he's immediately intrigued, but he can see she's a troubled woman. He rescues her from a terrible fate. They only share a brief moment, but he never forgets the strong and untamed Junie. When their paths cross again and he learns the truth about her circumstances he's even more impressed. While the war keeps raging Junie loves, loses and learns to accept her fate. Is that all there is in her life?

Worth Fighting For is a beautiful story. I was immediately impressed by the fierce Junie. She's brave, capable and a little wild. It's heartbreaking she has to marry a man who doesn't suit her. Junie loathes Ernest, but she says yes to this awful man to save her family. She breaks Michael's heart in the process, but sees no other way. She loves deeply and can't forget about the man she's given her heart to. Still, she sacrifices her own happiness for her parents and brothers, which is brave, heartbreaking and incredible. Finding out if she'd eventually be able to move on to something better kept me on the edge of my seat.

Mary-Anne O'Connor alternates between Junie and Marlon. Through Marlon the war comes incredibly close. He's a survivor, someone with a good heart who looks after people. The war nearly breaks him, but he's a strong man and he eventually finds his way back out of the blackness. I was incredibly curious to find out what would happen to him after all the fighting stopped and I loved his part of the story just as much as Junie's.

Mary-Anne O'Connor has a gripping descriptive writing style. I was captivated by Worth Fighting For straight away. I loved that this is a story about the way life keeps surprising. I really enjoyed the many unexpected twists and turns and was spellbound by the gorgeous ending. The story is thought-provoking and it's filled with what-ifs that are very fitting for the time frame it's set in. I fell in love with this book from the start and couldn't put it down. I highly recommend Worth Fighting For, it's an amazing story.

Advice

If you love historical fiction you don't want to miss Worth Fighting For.

About Mary-Anne O'Connor


Mary-Anne O'Connor nee Best grew up in Wahroonga in the Bushland Shire of Hornsby-Kuringai, northern Sydney. The youngest of six children, her childhood was spent exploring the local bush and playing music with her siblings and close neighbours. An avid reader, she devoured her mother Dorn's extensive library and was often found trying to finish a chapter by torchlight late at night. She also began to fill every blank piece of paper in the house with stories and drawings of her own and dreamt of becoming a writer one day.

When she was twelve her father Kevin Best left his established career in the stock-market to become one of Australia's best-loved artists. The perseverance and ultimate triumph she witnessed during those years left her inspired to follow in his footsteps and pursue her own creative aspirations. A multi-faceted career path followed in marketing and teaching, along with the completion of education/arts degree with specialities in literature, music and environment. During this time she also co-wrote two books with her father, A Brush with Light and Secrets of the Brush. Work then began on her first major novel, Gallipoli Street. ​This work gained critical acclaim and finished at #3 for debut novels in Australia in 2015.

Her second novel Worth Fighting For was published in October 2016 and has also become a bestseller. Her third war story Warflower is due out in October 2017.

​Mary-Anne has drawn on her love of the Australian bush, her fascination with her own family history and her deep, abiding respect for the men and women who carried our nation through turbulent, formative times to produce these novels.

They were written in her office at home beneath a long window that overlooks her beloved gum trees. She still lives in the Bushland Shire with her husband Anthony, their two sons, Jimmy and Jack and their very spoilt, gorgeous dog, Saxon.

Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads

Happiness
Guest post by Mary-Anne O'Connor

Such a loaded word isn’t it? It can be elusive for many, fleeting from some, however for a lucky few, happiness is an everyday state of being.

I have often pondered why the seemingly simple art of being a ‘happy’ person remains frustratingly out of reach for so many of we mere mortals. These ponderings lead to the formation of a theme in my novel ‘Worth Fighting For’ and became the focal point for it’s central character, Miss Junie Wallace. For Junie wants happiness above all, indeed deserves it, but she needs to learn an important lesson along the way.

Junie Wallace was a smart girl, or so both the opening and final line of my novel will tell you, yet happiness continually slips beyond her reach. The story is set during WWII and the constant threat of loss and possible invasion obviously adds a great deal of stress into Junie’s life. I wanted to explore her internal battle, not only because I felt it would make an interesting storyline for her character, but also because my own family lived through these turbulent times with four uncles serving and one being killed in battle. How did they remain positive during such trying circumstances? How did they go on to live happy lives?

For Junie it came down to choice, something I believe remains the ultimate position for most people when it come to happiness. We choose so many aspects of our lives: where we work, what we do, our friendships, our past-times, yet so often those choices don’t bring happiness at all. Having worked many jobs before I became a writer, for example, I can tell you from experience doing something you don’t enjoy each day certainly makes everyday happiness a challenge. Not a great choice, to spend 40 hours a week feeling frustrated, and it’s a situation within many people’s control.

You can’t always choose what you do and what happens to you, of course, but if you have a really good look at things you’ll often find there’s more choice in there than you think.

Junie, for example, couldn’t change the fact that her country was at war and that people she loved were in danger but she could choose other aspects of her existence, especially when it came to her own internal battles. She knew she wasn’t happy but, like many people, she felt she didn’t have much choice in the matter but that was mostly because she wanted things in life that she simply couldn’t have; impossible dreams, old hopes. Yearning for the unattainable is a sure path to frustration and Junie has it in spades!

I remember reading once that everyday joy lies in being realistic. It really resonated with me because I was constantly setting goals that were far too high or wanting things that were very hard to get. Through Junie I have sought to reflect this school of thought back out into the world, that part of my own journey when I realised true happiness is achievable, you just have to know what you want… and want what you can actually have.

Know what you want, want what you can have.

I’m not saying I’ve figured it all out and I’m not saying taking that advice will give you a permanent state of instant joy but I do believe it makes sense, and it sure helps. And once you do have some of those ‘wants’? Enjoy them. Appreciation the ‘haves’ goes a long way too.

Giveaway

Two very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Worth Fighting For by Mary-Anne O'Connor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

26 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great read! I love historical novels.

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  2. Once they evaluate the issue, which will likely be fairly quick since it's possibly a known issue, recover pictures from sd card, they can provide you with info on repairing the Mac and recovering the data. Apple's policies prevent their staff from assisting (aside from recommendations) with data recovery but AASPs may be able to provide onsite data recovery or more budget friendly recommendations.

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  3. Would love to win this book for my Mum who reads a lot.

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  4. It is such a loaded word. We all reach and search for it, I think it is the greatest treasure.

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  5. As a big fan of historical fiction, this looks right up my street x

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  6. Many thanks for the review and giveaway!

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  7. Sounds like a great read - love the cover

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  8. Worth Fighting For sounds like a well-researched and compelling read that is rich in historical detail.

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  9. I totally agree: Joy lies in being realistic. When you actually consider what is reasonably achievable, things become much easier.

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  10. I cannot wait to read this book due to the setting
    jan

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  11. This looks like a great story

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  12. I enjoy historical fiction. Worth Fighting For sounds like a must read!

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  13. Sounds like a must read, story that hits you in the heart.

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  14. Sounds like a good read, I would let mum read this first she loves historical romance

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  15. This sound my favourite kind of book

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  16. I would like to read this book.xxx

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  17. Thanks for the lovely prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

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  18. Sounds a lovely heart-warming story set amongst the backdrop of war. Will be adding it to my TBR pile.

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  19. Everyone sacrificed so much during the war. It's good to know that Junie gets her happy ending.

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  20. A very nice guest post. I truly believe that 'Know what you want, want what you can have.' is very appropriate and a great beginning to be truly happy. So many work at jobs they hate for one reason or another, perhaps it's time to think about changing course. I've just read about a stock someone who was a stock broker then gave it up to become an artist, he loved painting and became a very well renowned artist. Something to think about for many.

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  21. I couldn't find an emoij for 'tongue in cheek' to go with my artist comment!

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