Fires of Change (The Fire Blossom Saga)

Written by Kate Northrup (trans.) Sarah Lark
Review by Bonnie DeMoss

Fires of Change is the second book in the Fire Blossom Saga. It is 1863, and friends Cat and Ida have made a success of their sheep farm in New Zealand. Between them they have three daughters: Carol is engaged to the son of a local sheep baron; Mara is in love with Eru, son of a Maori Chieftain; and Linda has plans to eventually take over the farm. But change is quickly happening around them. A Maori “prophet” appears and begins to stir up local tribes, threatening war. The family is thrown into chaos after an unexpected tragedy, and the girls are betrayed by someone close to them at the worst possible time.

Sarah Lark expertly combines true and fictional events in this gorgeously written saga. Her characters are richly developed and come to life as Lark’s writing transports you throughout New Zealand. The readers can see, through Lark’s words, the breathtaking beauty of the land. We struggle across untamed wilderness, get swept away in rapid rivers, and climb into dangerous caves. The most impressive parts of the book deal with the Maori, and their personalities, beliefs, and legends. Although there are many Maori characters, the elderly woman Omaka most encompasses their traditions and passion for the land. The conflict between the settlers and the Maori, the entitlement of the settlers, and the callousness of the soldiers sent to maintain order are all intriguing and sad, but not surprising. In reality, we’ve seen harsh treatment of the indigenous people time and time again, in land after land. You will weep for the native peoples and cheer for our main characters as they all fight together for the place they call home. Although this can be read on its own, I recommend first reading Book 1, The Fire Blossom.