It was so nice to revisit the Bakers and the Wiltshires and share in their stories of life in the Flinders Ranges. This is the tird novel featuring these characters. There is hardship, joy, sorrow and survival. The Australian landscape can be beautiful and also cruel. It is a lovely insight into what pioneering farming families had to achieve and how communities were built.
Dubliners is a series of short stories, set in Dublin in the early 1900s. There isn’t a great deal of plot; it is a snapshot of the lives of different people across the city. Lives filled with love, frustration, contentment, rage, drunkenness, hope, loneliness, lust and despair. They are a little bleak, but beautifully so.
See what I have done is a must read for lovers of murder mysteries and historical fiction.
Lizzie Borden’s parents Andrew and Abbey are found brutally murdered in their Massachusetts home. The novel takes the reader back to events leading up to that fateful day in 1892.
Lizzie becomes an immediate suspect in this crime and is send to trial for the murders. The question is did the daughter Lizzie take and axe and butcher her parents or not?
Sarah Schmidt is an Australian author and this is her first novel.
This was an intereting historical novel, covering historical events that I did not know about beforehand. I did get a little lost in the politics of the Spanish Civil War which lessened my enjoyment of the book and Belinda does not hide from the brutality of war adding to the novel’s setting. The characters were interesting and made me continue reading the story – showing the great storytelling ability of the author. Throw in the history of flamenco dancing, a bit of a mystery and a bit of romance and it became a worthwhile read.
This is a lovely novel, set in three different times and places. A Dutch woman paints in the 1600s, a young Australian woman paints a forgery of a painting owned by a wealthy New Yorker in the 1959s, and in the year 2000, the no longer young Australian is faced with the prospect of the real painting and the forgery coming together to her ruin. It is fascinating in its historical detail, and moving as we follow the characters through their lives. It’s about art, connection, love, loss and regret, and it is quite beautiful.
Told through letters and diary entries this was a glimpse into English life at home during war. There was love, mystery, death and hope. I think the most eye opening part of this novel was the idea that you should not have a choir without men – who would of thought! The strength of the women to carry on and make decisions about their own lives – how the war changed them was a central theme. Although told through the eyes of several people the storyline continued seemlessly and was an enjoyable read.
The 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.
Another solid story in this series of books about Dody, a female autopsy surgeon in Victorian London. This story focused on the suffragette movement and the treatment of female mental patients. The story made me squirm in places as practices towards female patients was rudimentary, the thought that female mental health was totally connected to their sexual organs and removal of those organs did wonders is preposterous! There was not as strong a story line in this volume but I enjoyed learning about early medical practice and am glad times have changed.
I love how fiction make something that is just vague memories of the news, real and somehow urgent though it is the past. Girl at War is the story of a Croatian girl, Ana, just ten at the beginning of the Civil war in Yugoslavia. From her childhood in Zagreb to her student days in New York, we experience the horrors of the war, and how she faces her personal history and that of her country. I knew so little of this war and found this story about the history, its continued impact and people’s resilience compelling and darkly beautiful.
Veronica Speedwell is such an unusual women for Victorian times. She is knowledgeable, outspoken, sexually aware and determined and is not afraid to let everyone know that is all that! Being such a strong character, by the end of the story she unfortunately becames a bland character for me – there is no development or frailty. The book had a strong sense of place – Victorian London was well described. As for the mystery, even though it was quite outlandish, I did have to keep reading to find out what happens, and I have the feeling that it is not fully solved yet.