Review: Burned by Persephone Nicholas


Title: Burned

Author: Persephone Nicholas

Published: Random House June 2013

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from July 09 to 10, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Burned was the winner of the Australian National Seniors Literary Prize for 2013, sponsored by Random House. Only in its second year, the Literary Prize attracted entries from more than 120 unpublished authors aged over 50 from across the country.

In this novel, tagged as a, “haunting story of loss, love and renewal”, Persephone Nicholas reveals the secrets, tragedies and hopes of ordinary people whose lives are disrupted by a single act of reprehensible violence.

To be honest I probably should have given up on this book at the half way mark, if not sooner, but the glowing reviews from bloggers I respect motivated me to push on. Unfortunately that decision never paid off for me.

I was frustrated by the rapid cycling of perspective, time and location, which resulted in a disjointed narrative that stalled momentum. Most of the pivotal plot moments were telegraphed well in advance including the incident of admittedly shocking violence, resulting in a lack of impact for me, and the ending was anti-climatic.

Neither was I able to connect with any of the characters. I mainly found Kate irritating though Noah was appealing. Neither Dave or Lydia had much presence at all and I wanted to understand more about Matthew and Tom’s family.

While I do agree with other reviewers that the writing in terms of style is lovely, Burned just didn’t work for me. However, given that my opinion is firmly in the minority (it currently has a solid 4.0 rating average at Goodreads) please don’t dismiss this novel based solely on my reaction.

Available to Purchase from

Random House I BoomerangBooks I Booktopia I AmazonKindle

Via Booko


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margaret Lynette Sharp
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 14:52:19

    So often it happens that a book is liked by one reader but not another. It just illustrates the difference in personal taste and indeed in human nature.



  2. The Australian Bookshelf
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 16:15:03

    Sounds like a tough one to get through Shelleyrae, but you’ve given it a fair review.



  3. Julie @ Knitting and Sundries
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 09:58:52

    Sometimes “award-winning” books may have a lovely writing style, but the story .. well … I’ve found that even with Booker and Orange prize winners. Thanks for the review!



  4. samstillreading
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 17:53:52

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this one, but like Margaret says, we’re all different. I loved that there were only those characters to concentrate on and not a cast of hundreds. I thought Noah was lovely too – I’d love to see a book focused on him reaching his dream.



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