Rachel is 35 and ready to be a mother – the only slight hitch in her plans is that she doesn’t have a husband, a partner or even a boyfriend. Rachel has never been one to let an obstacle in her path stop her though and makes the life changing decision to go it alone in her quest to have a child. Yes, she knows its not the “ideal” way, but faced with the possibility of parenthood passing her by, she believes it may be her only chance to be a mother.
4 Stars * * * *
Are you German or are you French? Are you working against Germany or for it? Are you telling me the truth, or are you a very accomplished liar?’
Lavender farmer Luc Bonet is raised by a wealthy Jewish family in the foothills of the French Alps. When the Second World War breaks out he joins the French Resistance, leaving behind his family’s fortune, their home overrun by soldiers, their lavender fields in disarray.Lisette Forestier is on a mission of her own: to work her way into the heart of a senior German officer – and to bring down the Reich in any way she can. What Luc and Lisette hadn’t counted on was meeting each other.
Melbourne-based graphic designer Dervla Johns’ life is turned upside down when her brothers, Emmet and Gabe, turn up on her doorstep with the horrific news that their stepmother, Lucinda, and their half-sister and half-brother have been murdered – shot dead in their beds. Her father, Warren, has vanished, and the police have him in their sights as prime suspect. Dervla refuses to believe it. That’s until he turns up dead in his car on an isolated bush track, the weapon by his side. Mix in a dysfunctional family and a friend with an abusive husband and the lines start to blur…My Thoughts….
The very thought of murdered children almost put me off this book, but I did persevere and I am pleased that I did. This is a very intriguing mystery that has the reader hanging to the very end to discover the culprit in this terrible family murder.
As usual a well crafted story with characters that I found a bit difficult to empathise with. Frankly, Dervla Jones is a bit of a handful and needs an injection of ‘intelligence’! The one person who seemed to have his hand on the wheel was Detective Senior Sergeant Todd Gleeson.
However, the story unfolds in way that surprises and tricks the reader and is the usual high standard of this accomplished Australian author.
Desi has just been released from prison, having spent two years there after an impulsive act that tore her family apart. Desperate to make amends she soon realises this will not be as easy as she hoped. Her teenage daughter Maya is aloof and distant, while her brother and father also struggle to maintain any sense of normalcy. Fortunately her friend Pete is in her corner and it is he who helps her negotiate her way back to her old life.
When journalist Jack Fawcett writes and article about Snow Delaney, little does he expect to receive a reply from her, let alone begin an ongoing correspondence. Jailed for a series of horrible crimes against the children she and her boyfriend “cared” for in their home, Snow refutes the charges against her and corrects some of the facts mentioned in Jack’s articles. Although unorthodox Jack maintains the letter writing, hoping to also get to the bottom of the mysterious disappearance of Snow’s sister Agnes. Born several years before and half a world away from Snow each is unaware of the others existence until the death of Snow’s father. His lucrative estate cannot be claimed by Snow until she contacts her sister and offers her half. Agnes arrived in Australia, only to mysteriously go missing on the day of the huge dust storm that smothered Sydney in September 2009. As is normal for Caroline Overington, the story is narrated through the eyes of a third party (in this case Jack). Although an unusual way to tell a story, it works very well and she manages to capture the voice of a middle aged male journalist extremely well.
It’s Christmas day but instead of celebrating with her family Sarah Barnard is heading for the rugged Mortimer Ranges. With her marriage and business down the tubes, she is desperate to escape and is happy to spend the Christmas/New Year break alone on the mountain with just her beloved horse Tansy for company.
In too much of a hurry to check the weather forecast, Sarah is taken by surprise when a major weather event creates rains of biblical proportions with an accompanying flood, the like of which Sarah has never seen before. Against all odds she makes it to the top of the mountain and takes refuge in the old hut located there. Settling in for an extended stay, Sarah is startled when a lone bushwalker appears to share her very basic shelter.
I recently read an interview with debut Australian author Poppy Gee. Detailing her amazing experience in securing an American agent and a spectacular international publishing contract, she mentioned that the reason she looked overseas was that she didn’t believe Australian readers were very interested in Australian fiction. A couple of years ago I might have agreed – but not anymore.
I believe the problem with Australian fiction is not that we Australians don’t want to read it – it is that it is still quite hard to find. Many librarians and bookshop staff cannot name more than a couple of Australian authors. I know myself when I went looking for Australian titles to read, it involved a LOT of internet searching with one site leading to another, then to a BLOG or a Facebook post etc, etc. Taking a lot of notes and compiling a list I decided to start my own website Great Aussie Reads – which aims to list as many Australian authors and titles as possible to at least get readers started if they are searching for new authors. I found what was out there because I was prepared to look and had the determination to keep digging. Many people don’t have the time or patience to do that. So they will just go into a library or bookshop which promotes the ‘BIG’ name international authors and not see the hidden gems hiding in the back shelves (or not there at all).
We love to review Australian fiction and have taken part in the Australian Women Writer's Challenge for the past several years. Check the links below for our reviews and be inspired to try a new author or two.
Join The Australian Women Writer's Challenge
REVIEWS BY TITLE