by Patricia Fenton
The year is 1966 and Ellie has finished her teacher training and has been assigned to do her probationary training at a small remote village in the North Island. The story begins with Ellie travelling to an area that is, to her, at the end of the world, but she finds herself being enveloped into a warm welcoming country family that accepts the new teacher and gives her all the support she needs.
The storyline develops with Ellie preparing herself for her year of teaching, the families she will begin to know, and their places in the social life that was typical of New Zealand in those days.
Ellie, as a young women in the '60s, with the advent of changing social patterns, ‘the pill’ and her new found freedom, blossoms into a young self-assured woman.
She finds herself dealing with her students and fellow teachers, and a tragedy that occurs – all this strengthening her as she grows and matures over the year she is there. There are times when the dynamics of her students and parents become quite complicated and because of this it is better to read it over a few days, not weeks, to feel the thread of the story as it unravels.
I loved the story as it captured the 1960s as I remember them – rail transport, the dances, the social events and romances that occurred. There were the changing times and belief structure that didn’t quite fit in with our parents’ generation but, like Ellie, we embraced the changes as we too made our way in the world.
Beyond the Rimu Grove is a very well written readable book and eventually my copy will be passed on to a lifelong friend who was also a teacher, in a very small South Island country area in the '60s. Like me, I am sure she will be enthralled with it as the story closely resembles her own.
Author: Patricia Fenton
RRP: Print $24.00; E-book US$2.99
Available: Print: Paper Plus, Whangarei, Independent Bookshops on Request, firstname.lastname@example.org
e-book: Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble