I always find the context of Carol Preston's books very interesting and this is likewise the case with Next of Kin.
The book is set around Grafton in the late 1800's at a time when the descendants of German immigrants and others were experiencing the prejudices of the white Australian community. The story reveals the many of the problems that were prevalent at this time in history, some of which are still with us. For example the reluctance of older immigrants to embrace a new culture – or at least allow their children to do so, the prejudice of the original settlers in welcoming new people into the community and the mistrust of people whose lifestyle is different to ours. The book also deals with the age old problem of overcoming bitterness through forgiveness.
Carol weaves an engaging story against this back drop. Fanny Franks grows up in a loving family but others have not been so fortunate. As much as Fanny would like to help, she finds herself with difficulties of her own and comes across prejudices that run deeper than culture.
One thing I would have liked in this book is a family tree diagram which have made it easier to remember who was related to whom. Being true to the era, people had large families so it was sometimes difficult to keep track of everyone. However as the main drama focussed on a select few it wasn't unwieldy.
An enjoyable read.