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Kitty McKenzie by Anne Whitfield

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Suddenly left as the head of the family, Kitty McKenzie must find her inner strength to keep her family together against the odds. Evicted from their resplendent home in the fashionable part of York after her parents' deaths, Kitty must fight the legacy of bankruptcy and homelessness to secure a home for her and her siblings. Through sheer willpower and determination she grabs opportunities with both hands from working on a clothes and rag stall in the market to creating a teashop for the wealthy. Her road to happiness is fraught with obstacles of hardship and despair, but she refuses to let her dream of a better life for her family die. She soon learns that love and loyalty brings its own reward.

Reviews (5)
Kitty McKenzie may have been a slow start for me but picked up speed rapidly. This is a heart warming story of family ties and love. It tugs at the heart and makes me wish I could have known Kitty McKenzie in real life.
Katherine "Kitty" McKenzie was only twenty-one when she lost her parents and a sister to typhoid. Suddenly, she has six other siblings dependent upon her to take care of them. It's not an easy task facing her. Not only is what's left of her family is in deep morning, she learns that she has no money; her parents were in debt and hadn't made any plans to see their children cared for in the event of their deaths. The carefree, secure life they had is no longer an option.

Kitty is forced to sell their home and all their worldly goods just to keep the family together. Through hard work, she rises from a clerk in a clothes stall to eventually opening her own teashop. Along the battle to see her siblings cared for, she makes friends with Max and Connie Spenser, who try to support Kitty. Even with Kitty falls in love with Ben Kingsley, the romance is not troublefree, bringing Kitty even more decisions.

A fresh voice, Australia's Anne Whitfield brings life to this tale of a woman's perseverance, of her discovering she is stronger than she ever knew. It's a gentle story of woman's struggle to keep life at bay, while holding true to her brothers and sisters. The writing is sharp, and pulls the reader into the story, makes them care. Obviously, there will be another book dealing with Kitty's journey to Australia. I eagerly look forward to it and more from this talented writer.
What is the 21 year old daughter of a country doctor and his socialite wife going to do when both parents die along with a younger sister and leave her destitute with six Siblings! Set in York England 1864 Kitty McKenzie is the story of this young woman's struggle to keep her young family together and thriving in the dusky streets of England. Rory is the eldest sibling at 18, Martin is 16, Mary is 15, Joe is 10, Clara is 8 and Rosie the baby is 2. Kitty has loyalty and love in abundance for her siblings and is not afraid of hard work! She shows great charachter as she fights to keep her family together in almost unbearable conditions.

The story sees them thrust into the depths of poverty from the heady heights of the landed gentry, no home, very little money and no less than six mouths to feed! What does Kitty do? Finds them somewhere to live! A cellar in the city of York. It is at this stage she meets Connie and Max who eventually become the best allies and friends that Kitty could have. The young family strive hard and make the cellar their home. The eldest of the brothers - Rory leaves Kitty heartbroken when he refuses to live in a cellar and leaves looking for finer pastures. Max gets Martin a job on the wharves with him whilst Kitty eventually gets a job in the rag trade, selling second hand clothes in a street market for a sick elderley woman, Martha.

Kitty's first stroke of good luck comes from her support of the dowager. The old lady sees Kitty's business acumen as she watches her business grow and when she dies, she leaves everything to Kitty in her will. This brings Kitty to meet Benjamin Kingsley son of wealthy landowners and executor of Martha's will.

Finally Kitty begins to see rewards for her loyalty as she opens a coffee house in a fashionable district and moves from the cellar to dwellings above the coffee house. Her realtionship with Benjamin develops and she allows herself to fall in love. Benjamin's grandmother grows fond of Kitty and supports her with her coffee house venture. There is however, one fly in the ointment, Benjamin's mother! A player in the social set, Benjamin's mother sets out to destroy the relationship but soon finds out that Kitty is more than her match!

Benjamin is a bit of an adventurer and heads off to the new colonies of Australia, announcing his engagement to Kitty before he leaves hoping to save her from the menancing attentions of his mother. It doesn't help a great deal and with the patronage of Benjamin's father and grandmother, Kitty makes the decision to move to Australia with her little family.

By the end of the book - you have seen Kitty and her big family go through so much you are thanking god she's decided to go to australia! There are questions - like every good novel with a sequel! How will Kitty survive in a brand new land with five siblings? Has she left behind Rory? Will her relationship work with Benjamin, Australia is a long journey to risk all on a short term relationship? Will the children adapt. Will the self made Kitty be accepted in the fledging colonies society set?.

Kitty McKenzie was not the longest book I've ever read but once in - I was hooked. I love books that show the courage and audacity of the people that became our first settlers! It takes a strong person to build a brand new life and Kitty's courage, audacity and loyalty shine through in this depiction of love, loss and rebuilding. It took me two hours to read and I like this! I was absorbed in a different world. I loved it : )

Thankyou for the opportunity to read your book Anne : )

Cheers Kel :)
This was a very good story. One of the first i bought for my KindleFire.
There is a second story i also bought and was good.
Kitty McKenzie is a delightful, heartwarming story which begins in the year 1864. Kitty, as well as her brothers and sisters are left penniless and homeless when their parents die. The family situation, going from servants and large house to hunger and fending for themselves is poignantly portrayed by the author as Kitty takes on the responsibility of caring for all. York, England is the locale--the poor area which is where Kitty and her siblings must now live. How Kitty manages to survive, keeping her family together, being parent and breadwinner engages the reader from the beginning. The author's knowledge of the era and her skill with words made me feel their cold, hunger, and disgust at their surroundings. I kept thinking about Dickens.

What I liked most about the story was Kitty's spirit, how she chose to improve her situation, time and time again, instead of whining and crying against fate. She also reacted realistically to events, family disappointments, love and tragedy.

Anne Whitfield has written a very good story, one I highly recommend. I look forward to the sequel, Kitty McKenzie's Land.

ISBN: 1599982625

Rating: 4.7/5

Votes: 397

Other Formats: lit doc rtf azw

ISBN13: 978-1599982625

Publisher: Samhain Publishing (September 1, 2006)

Language: English

Subcategory: Genre Fiction

Pages: 228

Kitty McKenzie
Literature & Fiction
Author: Anne Whitfield
Title: Kitty McKenzie