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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
A Distant Horizon is a work of fiction in the historical, interpersonal drama, and women’s fiction subgenres. It forms the opening installment of The Distant Series and was penned for the general adult reading audience by author AnneMarie Brear. Set during the intensely difficult Irish Potato Famine of the mid-nineteenth century, we meet our protagonist Ellen Kittrick after many years of strife, when she is struggling and at her wit’s end. With a family to support and her husband out of work, Ellen makes a series of bold moves to elevate her family and ensure survival, but these moves are not without danger, difficulty, and discrimination.
Author AnneMarie Brear has crafted a sweeping historical saga with atmosphere, emotion, and drama aplenty that will surely satisfy any fan of the genre. Ellen Kittrick’s life is filled with all the cinematically-described hardships of poverty, unemployment, and starvation that you’d expect, but this novel goes beyond the simple sympathy vote and paints Ellen as a woman of character, intellect, and ingenuity at a time when women were not expected to rise up and be bold decision-makers in their families. Then, when the scene changes to life in an Australian colony, a whole new series of well-researched historical troubles crop up, which Ellen once again battles with the audience right on her shoulder. Brear’s intense narration and emotive dialogue really help you get into the heads of the characters and understand the period better, making A Distant Horizon a spectacular series opener that ticks every box for historical saga fans.