Hastings District Libraries

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Queen of Beauty by Paula Morris

“Virginia Seton lives in rainy, seedy New Orleans, working as a researcher for an historical novelist with a "strip-mined" imagination. On a brief trip back to New Zealand for her sister's wedding, Virginia is drawn into the family secrets, lies and tensions of both the past and the present.” – Authors Website.

After reading two of Paula Morris’ YA novels (both set in New Orleans exclusively) I had almost forgotten that she was a New Zealand author, so it was lovely to read a novel where she included both settings (New Orleans and Auckland), and did so quite nicely. While parts of the story seemed dis-jointed (it was full of flash backs from other characters point of view across three generations) it was a lovely look at an extended Pakeha/Maori family, and the different relationships that happen within it.

Virginia left New Zealand to study at Tulane University in New Orleans fell in love with the city. She hasn’t seen her family in more than five years, but makes the trip back for her younger sister’s wedding. While the scenes set in New Orleans seemed to drag a little bit (she led an unexciting life working as a fact checker for a successful novelist) the scenes involving her family came alive, and reminded me (too much at some times) of my own crazy extended family. With her parents separated and remarried, new children, and old grudges, Morris paints a very realistic (and very entertaining) portrait of family secrets and relationships. I loved it.

Posted by Sas

Catalogue link: Queen of Beauty

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