Sentence of Marriage (Promises to Keep: Book 1)

Rated 4.78/5 based on 82 reviews
In 19th Century New Zealand, there are few choices for a farm girl like Amy. Her life seems mapped out for her by the time she is twelve. Amy dreams of an exciting life in the world beyond her narrow boundaries. But it is the two people who come to the farm from outside the valley who change her life forever, and Amy learns the high cost of making the wrong choice.

Book 1 of "Promises to Keep". More
Download: epub mobi (Kindle) pdf more Online Reader

Price: Free! USD

Words: 150,690
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452303680
About Shayne Parkinson

I write historical fiction set in New Zealand, starting in the 1880s. My fifth novel takes the series to 1918. I'm fascinated by social history, particularly that of my own country.

I live in a state of barely-controlled chaos; fortunately I share my life with an invariably calm and endlessly optimistic husband. I divide my time between an apartment in the city, in reach of good espresso, and a few acres in the country, where the rank grass in the orchard is kept under control by a small mob of sheep (and where we have our own espresso machine).

When I'm not writing, reading, or engaged in mundane activities, I play the piano rather badly.

Videos

Sentence of Marriage
A tale of Victorian New Zealand

Also in Promises To Keep

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Casey Santo on Dec. 02, 2013 :
good historical story
(review of free book)

Review by: Bonnie R. on Oct. 15, 2013 : (no rating)
Reasons why I wont read the other books to this stupid saga.

First. Off the girl is treated like cow crap by stepmother then the stepmothers brother then the place she has the baby!?!/!/! To now apparently to deal with an abusive husband there is not that much hate in the word and I swear I am just anguish that I read this piece of junk. Seriously nobody's life is that sad that three book needed to be written. Plus this was so dragged out I just scanned over the pages after awhile it was yawning moments throughout.
(review of free book)

Review by: Bonnie R. on Oct. 15, 2013 :
Okay there seriously must be reviews from friends and family. This story was okay but got annoying and just plain awful. I wish I had never waster my time. Yet it had promise urghhhhh this was just bad.
(review of free book)

Review by: Chris Percival on Oct. 13, 2013 :
This is an amazingly good read, I agree with everything Dean Thompson says in his review, he actually took my words out of my head and wrote them for me. I cannot recommend this series of books highly enough, a grown man reduced to coughing and swallowing to contain emotions of all sorts from erupting is no mean feat in an author. This, and the following books in the series, are a MUST READ.
(review of free book)

Review by: Dean Thompson on July 21, 2013 :
A brilliantly written series. Perhaps not my normal fare, but very glad I read it and happy to pay for the subsequent books. I look forward to what might follow Daisy's War. Enjoyable writing style, quite subtle in places. There are a few characters you will love in the series, and a few you will want to throttle! But all are portrayed well. Well edited, I don't think I spotted even one mistake. Would make a great TV series!
(review of free book)

Review by: Rigby Taylor on June 04, 2013 :
From the first page to the last this book is compelling - not a word too many or too few. The descriptions of life on a farm in the Bay of Plenty are real, Amy is one of the most pleasant and likeable young girls I’ve ever encountered in a story. Like a Greek Tragedy the plot unfolds relentlessly, distressingly, pitiable.
This isn’t the sort of book I’d normally read, yet I’m very pleased I did, it is so well written and such an evocative reminder of a past we would do well to remember as a counter to religious revivalists and conservative politicians who exhort us to return to the ‘family’ values of the past where the father was head of the house, the mother his servant, and the children kept ignorant of life.
(review of free book)

Review by: Fiona on June 01, 2013 :
Best book I've read in a long while - recommended to others, and downloaded all of the others too!
(review of free book)

Review by: Anne Chambers on April 13, 2013 :
All the books are wonderful! A great read and I'm in love with all the characters! Actually, I'm in love with the entire time period! Awesome series! Keep them coming Shayne! ;>
(review of free book)

Review by: Sharon Dominguez on March 22, 2013 :
I've read all four of the books in this gorgeous series. I agree with many of the other reviewers...it was a VERY slow start. Four books later, I was SO thrilled that I had the patience to stick with it. If you are interested at all in New Zealand, the glimpse into the lifestyle there at that time in history is fascinating, but the real gem in this book is the relationships between the members of this family as they live through and cope with the disastrous marriage of one of its beloved members. Please....do yourself a favor and enjoy it soon. And good news: this is available on Nook for free as well, although not thru Smashbooks.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jimmy Patterson on March 02, 2013 : (no rating)
overall a good story. it is a treat for free and i enjoyed it form start to finish.
(review of free book)

Review by: esther azim on Dec. 11, 2012 : (no rating)
please i would love for the palm doc format of this book be made available. iwould be very graetful.
(review of free book)

Review by: Mark Revis on Nov. 14, 2012 :
Amazing. Among the best books I have read, equal or superior to any best selling books you‘ll find in any bookstore
(review of free book)

Review by: Pat Ritter on Nov. 01, 2012 : (no rating)
I really enjoyed the book.
(review of free book)

Review by: Monica Mohr on Oct. 05, 2012 :
I have to agree with hrhsophia, the book was slow at the beginning to get my attention, but I think that is true of most books as the writer gets to know and understand the characters. But once I got into it, I too could not stop reading.

I really felt for Amy and like Lizzie, wanted to shake her straight. But for Jimmy to take advantage of such a young girl is pathetic, she was only 15 at the time he met her. I was hoping that Susannah's letter to her sister would bring Jimmy back, but alas. And I was horrified by the ending, but it too is realistic.

If you are in the mood for a shot of depressing reality when the wrong decisions are made, this is certainly the book to read. The book is well written as is evidenced by the rainbow of emotions that course through the reader as they absorb the words on each page(screen).
(review of free book)

Review by: hrhsophia on Aug. 27, 2012 :
I admit I was slow to get into this book but once I read a few chapters i was hooked. I was so afraid of Jimmy i kept hoping he was not going to be the S.O.B. that I thought he was but alas we know how that turned out. I felt all of Amy's emotions so clearly, I had tears in my eyes most pages towards the end there. Very well written I will be purchasing the follow up books, I hope that Amy's life gets better although i seriously doubt it.
(review of free book)

Review by: spindlegirl on July 30, 2012 :
There are not very many books that I had a hard time tearing myself away from. This is one of them. I could not stop reading the story of Amy and was thinking about her even when not reading the book.

It takes a very good author to draw the reader in. This is what "Sentence of Marriage" did to me. I got completely lost in the book and felt like I was getting to know real people. Sad parts made me cry as if I were crying for a real friend. The ending punched me in the gut, but it was realistic for the time period, and a perfect lead in to the sequel "Mud and Gold" (I bought all the remaining books)!

Thank you Ms. Parkinson for sharing the first book with your readers. I am looking forward to reading the next one.
(review of free book)

Review by: June Vollans on July 19, 2012 : (no rating)
I loved this book! All the way through I felt with Amy, her pain and her joys. I can't wait to read the next book and see how this marriage will go. Hopefully Amy will eventually learn to say "no" to things she does not want, but that will probably take a long time yet. You are a good writer, Shayne.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/junevollans
(review of free book)

Review by: Angie Nikoleychuk on July 02, 2012 :
I was a bit worried when I first started reading this one, but I'm so glad I kept with it. This is one story that will stick with me for quite a while.

I have to admit that I kept waiting for the happy ending. Each time something happened, I kept waiting for the good things to start happening. I'm still waiting. This is a bit disappointing because now I HAVE to get the second book, but I'm really glad it wasn't the same old romance story. It's nice to have a story that's closer to real life for a change -- there isn't always a happy ending and sometimes, you have to simply be thankful for what you have.

Overall, it left me feeling quite sad and reflective, but that's a good thing! It's how you know it was worth the time to read.
(review of free book)

Review by: H Carole Stucki on June 09, 2012 :
So enjoyed this book and read quickly and bought the follow ups and enjoyed them also. I check frequently if Ms Parkinson has written any others as I enjoy her creativity.
(review of free book)

Review by: DonnyDuck on June 07, 2012 :
an enthralling book. I do not get a lot of free read time so it took me a while to read it.. I liked it so much I bought the rest of the series and am on mud and gold now.
(review of free book)

Review by: Joy Johnson on May 17, 2012 :
On the positive side: I love the story's imagery. It is very well conceived.
On the negative side: Grammar and punctuation are an issue. These two problems in combination give the reader a slight issue with the flow of the story.
Words to the Author: You have an obvious talent. Keep going! However, please work out the technical issues you have with writing. Commas, and paragraph structure are just as important as creativity when it comes to writing.

Respectfully,
Joy Johnson
Freelance Writer
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JoyJohnson
(review of free book)

Review by: Chaz Young on March 30, 2012 :
This is a great book! I got very absorbed in the characters of Amy and her cousin Lizzie. It is surprising that this book is free. I have to read the next one!
(review of free book)

Review by: Shaunna on March 24, 2012 :
I enjoyed reading this book so much and plan on purchasing the next book in the series. Good characters and a good story.
(review of free book)

Review by: Terry Heuser on Feb. 10, 2012 : (no rating)
In this past two weeks i have read all the books in this series.I am on the last book A second chance.I could not stop readind them.So few books have made have strong emotion like anger,sadness and so much hope.To the writter awesome writing thank you for sharing with us. Many hugs.
(review of free book)

Review by: Lynelle Clark on Jan. 13, 2012 : (no rating)
Excellent writting, good story and good strong characters. Loved it and bought the rest of the series.

Hope there will be more books of the author
(review of free book)

Review by: amy epting on Jan. 09, 2012 :
Very good book, loved it! Just bought the rest of the series and cannot wait to start reading!
(review of free book)

Review by: malkainca on Dec. 22, 2011 :
This book is wonderfully written (unlike many other free books that make me want to get the red editing pen). The story is very engaging. Be warned though: I am so eager to find out what happens next, that I have to buy the series :)
(review of free book)

Review by: bonbonma on Oct. 04, 2011 :
Definitely 5 stars.
(review of free book)

Review by: Meredith Rae Morgan on Sep. 30, 2011 :
It is late 19th Century in rural New Zealand. Amy Leith is fifteen years, and she has been managing the household by herself since her grandmother's death. Suddenly one day, her father comes home with a new bride from Aukland. The troubles that ensue, from verbal and emotional abuse heaped upon her by her wicked stepmother to what amounts to repeated statutory rape by the stepmother's visiting brother (who adds insult to injury when he abandons Amy after she tells him she is pregnant), carry the story forward at a breakneck pace.

Despite her youth, Amy is a strong and worthy heroine, with both grit and a loving (if almost fatally naive) heart. Susannah is an almost fairy-tale caliber wicked stepmother. Jack is a loving father, limited by, but occasionally sublimating, the culture of his era. The rest of the characters are an interesting collection of period characters, some of which are almost stereotypical, but all of whom come across as realistic in the context of the narrative.

This was a good story, well-told. It is the first of a series. This one's free. We'll have to pay for the others. I've already bought the second one. I can't wait to see if Charlie Stewart turns out not to be as misogynistic as he is thought to be by the neighbors. (I hope not -- for Amy's sake. She deserves a break.)

Well done! I will definitely read more of this author's work.
(review of free book)

Review by: Doris Holmes on Sep. 13, 2011 :
I so wanted to become one of the characters in this book to give so comeuppance to a few people. Love it!!!!! I will certainly read the entire series.
(review of free book)

Review by: Janet Wambold-Buraik on Sep. 12, 2011 :
i got the first book in the series free. I got so involved in the story that I had to buy the rest. I wish it kept going. I loved every one more than the one before it. I whole heartedly recommend this book and the author.
(review of free book)

Review by: pj on Aug. 14, 2011 :
This book was free so I thought I would try to read it, had nothing to lose. Well, let me tell you nothing else got done till I had finished it. Then bought the sequels, and thouroghly enjoyed each. Let me say this was no series I would ever have bought, borrowed from the library, but it was the best I have read in a very long time. Hope there are more coming
(review of free book)

Review by: queenofsheba50 on Aug. 09, 2011 :
I read this entire series and love it!!! Ms Parkinson draws you in from the very 1st book. A must read series.
(review of free book)

Review by: idealsoul on Aug. 08, 2011 :
a+++
(review of free book)

Review by: linda k murphy on Aug. 04, 2011 : (no rating)
great read and almost finished with all but Second chance reading it now....loved how descritped of the time and place.
(review of free book)

Review by: MadameD on July 25, 2011 :
This was a wonderful read, I ended up purchasing the rest of the series. I found myself enthralled by the tale woven.
(review of free book)

Review by: Laurel Taylor on July 19, 2011 :
Hard to believe this book gets 5 stars from almost everyone. About 1/3 of the book appears to be about rape. A vulnerable girl taken advantage of. This probably does have something to do with the plot, but I don't believe detailed, page-after-page descriptions are necessary. I probably should have read one of the other books first. This does give me a negative reason for e-books, tho. At least with a paper book it would be easier to skip past the multiple and unnecessary rape details.
(review of free book)

Review by: cbell on July 09, 2011 :
Sentence of Marriage is a wonderful book and I came back to Smashwords to buy the rest of the series, whatever the cost.

Shayne, thank you for a very enjoyable read. As a voracious reader, this series is exactly what I've been looking for!
(review of free book)

Review by: Shamrock M Ranch on June 07, 2011 :
What a great surprise! I love how this book didn't have the typical story line. Very honest book that was a pleasure to read.
(review of free book)

Review by: Mark Stewart on May 27, 2011 :
75% read and is as good as the start. Well done.
(review of free book)

Review by: Sarah Blatchford on May 19, 2011 :
Loeved it! And I am pretty grudging with my praise!
(review of free book)

Review by: judy flanagan on May 16, 2011 :
Well, I am so surpised to have fallen into the wonderful books written by Shayne Paterson,starting with sentence of
marriage. I have been lifted up and taken away to a land I never heard of, a family I've been lucky enough to find, and
a fulfillment of friendship I didn't think could be made through a story book!!A must read , Judy Adams
(review of free book)

Review by: Mark Stewart on May 13, 2011 :
So far this novel has been a great read. Ten pages in and reading.
(review of free book)

Review by: Janel Biondo on April 27, 2011 :
3rd time around for me for the whole series! I love these books the charactors are well defined and I love them all (even the mean ones)! Can't wait for the next book!
(review of free book)

Review by: Christa Watkins on April 24, 2011 :
Wow! Even after reading the reviews, I was still amazed at how much I loved this book. Truly wonderful, and I'm off to read the next, Mud and Gold, right now.
(review of free book)

Review by: Connie Thayer on April 03, 2011 :
I had allready raved about this series but forgot to rate it... five. STARS is not even enough for this series. GREAT SERIES!!!!!
(review of free book)

Review by: Mirela Cris on April 03, 2011 :
Great book! really loved it and i will start "Mud and gold" today. hope it's going to be as good as the first one.
(review of free book)

Review by: Carolyn Simone on March 31, 2011 :
Didn't want to put it down,great book
(review of free book)

Review by: Joan Peart on March 21, 2011 : (no rating)
Loved this book - especially as, coincidentally, we had just returned from our first holiday in NZ and had toured the area in which the book is set. Immediately on our return, I got online and bought the following books in the series by Shayne Parkinson. Now I can't wait to read them!!!!
(review of free book)

Review by: Gudrun Schindler on March 17, 2011 :
"Sentence of Marriage" and the rest of the series are wonderful books and very hard to put down once you get started.
(review of free book)

Review by: Brian S. Pratt/DiddaEinars on Feb. 26, 2011 :
I agree with other reviewers. All four books in the series of Shayne Parkinson are excellent. They are well written and exciting.
(review of free book)

Review by: Chloe Dawson on Feb. 26, 2011 :
Terrific book. Reminds me of the stories my grandmother used to tell about rural life, even though she wasn't a New Zealander!
(review of free book)

Review by: Jeanne on Feb. 20, 2011 :
Stumbled on this book as I was checking out a new app for my iPod. I was searching through the "Independent Authors" section and fond this free download and decided to give a try. I could not put the iPod down after I started reading! And once I finished this 'installment' in the series I didn't want to be left hanging so I immediately downloaded and happily paid for the second book! A great read!!!
(review of free book)

Review by: Jill on Feb. 16, 2011 :
I agree with the reviews - just started book three of the series and hope that there will be more from this author soon.
(review of free book)

Review by: Maire Grove on Feb. 06, 2011 :
An amazing series of books!! Heart wrenchingly realistic; I was drawn into each of the characters, the time period and the every day details of their lives. Shayne is one of the most talented writers I've come across. I was sorry to come to the end. Maybe another book?
(review of free book)

Review by: JLC on Feb. 01, 2011 :
Great touching story. Enjoyed the whole series. Will keep an eye out for any future writings from this author.
(review of free book)

Review by: Beth Knick on Jan. 30, 2011 : (no rating)
I absolutely loved this book. The author does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. There are some I grew to love and some I grew to dislike completely. (Hate is such a strong word.) Like others, I was disappointed when the book came to an end, then elated when I realized there was a follow-up book. I was back on Smashwords.com the same day downloading the next book. Thank you Shayne Parkinson for a great read.
(review of free book)

Review by: Deirdre Mewse on Jan. 21, 2011 :
I absolutely loved this book. I was gripped from beginning to end. No sweet Victorian sentiment but a novel with real people with real emotion. Had to work out how to pay in US Dollars through paypal so I could buy the rest of the trilogy. Although an unknown author in the Uk, one I would highly recommend.
(review of free book)

Review by: Janice Weaver on Jan. 20, 2011 :
This is a great book. I could not put it down and then I found out it was a small series so I knew I had to buy all of them. Great story line. I have my daughter reading this book now.
(review of free book)

Review by: Ann Cooper on Dec. 24, 2010 : (no rating)
Bought the book and loved it so much I had to buy the rest of the series... Just couldn't put it down and have recommended it to friends
(review of free book)

Review by: Jem George on Dec. 19, 2010 :
Be careful! I loved this book so much I immediatly was compelled to purchase the remainder of the series! I became so engrossed in amy's life. i loved every chapter
(review of free book)

Review by: Carol Newman Cronin on Nov. 22, 2010 :
I was disappointed when this ended, until I realized there was another one that I could download right away. Now diving into Mud and Gold... Sentence of Marriage is a highly recommended look at a New Zealand girl's life (and a cause for thanks that I don't have it).
(review of free book)

Review by: Dave Spiller on Nov. 21, 2010 :
Wow!
(review of free book)

Review by: Jennifer Elsea on Nov. 15, 2010 :
I very much enjoyed this book --so much so that as soon as I finished it (today), I came here to buy the next book "Mud and Gold". I highly recommend this book!
(review of free book)

Review by: Oksana Vasilenko on Oct. 23, 2010 :
A fascinating story! Made me feel like I was actually living in 19th century New Zealand and Amy was my sister or close friend. Great read!
(review of free book)

Review by: Arianne Donoghue on Sep. 11, 2010 :
I absolutely loved this book. I read it in a day, after being unable to put it down and in less than a week have read all 4 of the books.

So well written - the setting is impeccably researched and laid out - very evocative. The characters are excellently portrayed too - you really warm to them and genuinely care about what happens to them.

Considering that you can read all 4 books for $6 (with this one being free), I feel almost guilty at th pleasure I have had from the series vs the price I paid. Just brilliant. Want more!
(review of free book)

Review by: Pam Castleman on Sep. 11, 2010 :
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Shayne Parkinson captured me on the very first page. I could hardly put it down. I've never given much thought to what my life would be like without electricity, indoor plumbing, automobiles, hospitals, the right to vote, malls, not to mention the right to choose my own mate or leave an abusive husband. When I finished this book I first visited Parkinson's web sight then purchased her other books. She has a new fan. Can't wait for a new book.
(review of free book)

Review by: Michaelle on July 28, 2010 :
I enjoyed story very much. It had many twists-and-turns that kept the pages turning. I hate a 'not so happy' ending but the change of pace was nice.
(review of free book)

Review by: dawnie61 on June 30, 2010 :
What can I say that has not already been said. I loved this book, I feel like Amy is a friend & the author writes so well, I can visualise the scenes. I too have bought all the other books & am 2/3 of my way through the next book in the series
(review of free book)

Review by: Lena Hadley on June 18, 2010 :
Absolutely loved this book. It was a roller coaster of emotions. It's so captivating, I couldn't keep the book down. Once finishing this book had to immediately read the sequels ... I've finished the whole set within a week. Can't wait to read the next book.
(review of free book)

Review by: Richard Adin on May 23, 2010 :
The Promises to Keep quartet (the 3 primary books and the sequel) are outstanding books. For an indepth review, see the review by An American Editor at http://tinyurl.com/2afznkg.
(review of free book)

Review by: Kate Kasserman on April 29, 2010 :
Simply splendid and engrossing.
(review of free book)

Review by: Catherine Condie on March 21, 2010 :
Sentence of Marriage is just the most beautifully written journey into nineteenth century New Zealand history. Amy leads me into a tapestry of situations, which exhibit her dilemmas in life and in love. Evocative and compelling, I have truly been struck by the fullness of the descriptions and the strength of Amy's voice. This is a wonderful series of books, and I put Shayne Parkinson side by side with L M Montgomery.
(review of free book)

Review by: Alan Fleishman on March 11, 2010 : (no rating)
Sentence of Marriage is fabulously written. It has the feel, though not the plot, of Leon Uris's Redemption or Colleen McCullough’s Thornbirds. Right from the start, the descriptions are so rich, touching every sense. The images are vivid. And we come quickly to care about these characters. The reader can picture and feel the setting in time and place. You understand the rugged life and hard labor of rural New Zealand in the 1880’s.
With Amy, Lizzie, and all of the characters, I felt I got to understand them quickly, with an economy of words that is very sophisticated writing. The scene when Frank asks Arthur for permission to marry Lizzie is wonderful. You can feel Frank's discomfort and Arthur playing with him a bit. The reader is pretty sure Frank is going to muster the courage to ask for Lizzie's hand, but there's just that little doubt. It's a perfect balance of tension. The last scene in Chapter 25, when a revelation throws Amy's family into crisis, is just terrific writing.
Sentence of Marriage should occupy a permanent place on everyone’s e-bookshelf.
(review of free book)

Review by: Jodi Higgs on Jan. 25, 2010 :
LOVE these books!! I read this one quickly and couldn't purchase the rest of the series quick enough! A great escape into a world that I just love reading about. Doesn't get repetitive either, like some series do. TWO THUMBS UP!
(review of free book)

Review by: PD Allen on Dec. 08, 2009 :
This is an exquisite portrait of life in New Zealand over a century ago, through the eyes of a young woman. Shayne Parkinson is a first class storyteller, and a pleasure to read.
(review of free book)

Review by: Margene Kiefer on Nov. 19, 2009 : (no rating)
I loved these books. They pulled me in right away and kept me to the very end wishing for more. I found several parallels to my own life and at times I found myself become very emotional. Many thanks to Shayne for writing such a wonderful saga for us all to read. I will recommend these books to my friends. I hope there will be more books from Shayne. I would like to ask the author why 'Ann' is such an overbearing young women.
(review of free book)

Review by: Marion Stein on Nov. 17, 2009 :
This is a compelling and manages to be accessible to contemporary readers while offering a realistic portrait of how people lived and thought in another time. Time travel by book.
(review of free book)

Review by: Vanessa Reaves on Oct. 01, 2009 :
Great book! I finished all of the books in this series and they are wonderful. They draw you in and definitely hold your attention.
(review of free book)

Review by: Dan Holloway on Aug. 17, 2009 :
I loved this book when I found it on Authonomy, and I love it now.
(review of free book)

Review by: Joelene Gonzales on Aug. 05, 2009 :
I finished it in less that 5 hours that how good it was. I first found it on authonomy. It is really good.
(review of free book)

Review by: Chris C on July 10, 2009 :
I'm loving this book. I had been reading it here and there but last night it hooked me and before I realized 4 hours had passed. Hated to put it down to sleep.
(review of free book)

Print Edition

Report this book