Daughter of mine by Fiona Lowe

Cynthia Daughter of MineAlthough most events were predictable I enjoyed reading about this family in rural Victoria. It brings to light the affect of family secrets, experiences, expectations, history, perceptions and dynamics. Fiona has a great writing style that flows well.

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Into the water by Paula Hawkins

Kate Into the WaterI chose the audiobook of ‘Into the Water’ by Paula Hawkins, not as one who had read ‘The Girl on the Train’, but seen (and loved) the movie. Being the first audiobook I’ve listened to with not one but four narrators, with so many characters telling the story from their point of view, I actually thought that was clever. As each spoke in their own unique manner and voice, it helped recognise who was then telling the story, something I’ve seen others find confusing when reading the book. It was not quite the thriller I had hoped it would be, but I throughly enjoyed getting to know all the diverse characters (and such a range of accents) and wondering about, to quote the synopsis, ‘the stories we tell about our pasts and their power to destroy the lives we live now’.

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Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Amy CommonwealthCommonwealth is the story of a complicated family. A man and a woman meet at a party, leave their spouses and marry each other. They each bring children to this new marriage; children now with two families, divided loyalties. When one of the children grows up, she meets a famous author and shares the story of their childhood. It’s a thoughtful, insightful book about the long lasting consequences of our actions, family ties and the ownership of our stories.

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Jarulan by the river by Lily Woodhouse

Cynthia Jarulan by the riverI was looking forward to reading this book based on the blurb; Australian – Family – History, all the things that I love to read. Lily’s descriptive writing gave me a good sense of place and what life was like at Jarulan. There was an overall sense of uneasiness and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen with the family. Then came Rufina, a character that I could not feel anything for, and this let the story down for me. I was also disappointed about not finding out the full story of the ghosts that would appear at the appropiate times, but not fully explained, and this made the novel feel a bit unfinished.

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Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Amy MoonglowMoonglow is Michael Chabon’s speculative autobiography, fictional non-fiction. As Mike Chabon’s grandfather is dying of cancer, he tells Mike about his life. It’s about being Jewish, about growing up, the war, marriage, brokenness, love and rockets. It isn’t a linear story, but rambles along, back and forth, in a beautiful, full of truth, story of the heart.

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Stars across the ocean by Kimberley Freeman

Cynthia Stars Across the OceanA foundling chasing her mother around the globe, a mother’s heartache at losing love and her daughter and a daughter coming to terms with her mother’s illness. Each of story is told well, but I finished the book feeling that I wanted so much more depth to each of the characters.
The ending was a surprise and I loved the way that Kimberley concealed it throughout the story.
I have enjoyed all of Kimberley’s stories that I have read and will continue to seek them out as I know I will get an interesting set of characters to read about.

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Philomena

Helen PhilomenaA young teenage girl, Philomena, becomes pregnant out of wedlock in 1952 and was sent to a convent to have her baby. When her baby, Anthony, was a toddler the nuns took the child away, putting him up for adoption in the United States. For the next 50 years Philomena searched for her son. When a former BBC journalist learns of her story they travel together in search for Anthony. Lots of twists and turns in this story. Also, have your tissues ready – a real tear jerker!

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Truly madly guilty by Liane Moriarty

Amy Truly Madly GuiltyLiane Moriarty is really great at writing about suburban Sydney-siders. There’s a strong sense of place, and the characters are real; frustrating, amusing, familiar. Truly, Madly Guilty is about three families who gather for a BBQ one afternoon and something terrible happens that has a negative impact on them all. The events of that afternoon are (very) slowly revealed over the book and the surprises are many. Though very good at pointing out people’s foibles, Moriarty is a hopeful writer, and this book is thought provoking, compelling and with a satisfying ending.

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The buried giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Amy The Buried GiantThe Buried Giant is beautiful, dreamlike, harsh and bleak, and yet tender, with a strong seam of golden hope running through it. Axl and Beatrice are an elderly couple, in long ago England, finally setting off on a journey, long neglected, to see their son. The land is shrouded in a troubling mist, and their way is indistinct and hazardous. There are knights and warriors, dragons and ogres, but it isn’t an action packed battle story, but one telling of the complexities of memory and war, and of enduring love.

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