April 2022

General Fiction

One Good Thing by Alexandra Potter

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve There are occasional times when a book provides a heartening antidote to the horrors that bombard us in the news. Such a novel is Alexandra Potter’s latest, One Good Thing. There is much to divert and engage a reader as the main character Olivia (Liv) adjusts from being a shattered divorcée

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Non-Fiction

When the Dust Settles by Lucy Easthope

Reviewed by Gail McDonald Professor Lucy Easthope is the United Kingdom’s leading authority on recovering from disaster, whether that is as a result of earthquakes, tsunami, fire bombings or war. Lucy has been at the forefront of the development of policy and practice guidelines in partnership with governments for most tragedies that impact on populations

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Children

Under the Moonlight by Susannah Crispe

Reviewed by Gail McDonald Susannah Crispe is a Canberra based children’s book author and illustrator with a background in zoology. Susannah has previously partnered in writing and illustrating two children’s books but this one Under the Moonlight is written and illustrated by Susannah alone. The book is a delightful tale of Moose who is an

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True Crime

Missing, Presumed Dead by Mark Tedeschi QC

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In this gripping account of the tragic case of Kerry Whelan, Mark Tedeschi has shown, although a body was never found, how a trial and subsequent conviction could take place. The public is often mystified when years pass between a crime being committed and it being brought to trial – sometimes

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Children

Penelope Snoop, Ace Detective by Pamela Butchart

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Brilliant female detectives are not exclusive to the adult world of books and television. Penelope Snoop believes she has the skills to solve any mystery. Accompanied by her dog, Carlos, and both wearing their eye-catching pink hats, they both set out to find the missing smelly sock.  Penelope’s imagination takes her

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History

This Mortal Coil by Andrew Doig

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Though Death is one of the certainties of life along with taxes, it’s not often that we have an opportunity to read about its history. I originally thought that Andrew Doig was going to describe the various practices of different cultures to Death and how people respond when their loved one

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General Fiction

A Solitary Walk on the Moon by Hilde Hinton

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Most laundromats in large cities are unattended but there are some that offer a service of careful washing and ironing. One such business In Melbourne is the unglamorous setting of ‘A Solitary Walk on the Moon’. It is operated by Evelyn, the chief character, and she is dedicated to giving a

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General Fiction

Dinner with the Schnabels by Toni Jordan

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In our post pandemic world, it is a challenge to find reasons to laugh or smile. Thankfully there are authors with the ability to write a novel that is a pure delight to read. Toni Jordan received international recognition for her brilliant debut novel Addition.  Since then, she has published four

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Children

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A charming tale for older children and adults about greed, kindness and community by American author Kelly Barnhill. The setting is a small rural town named Stone-in-the Glen, which could be almost anywhere and which used to be a lovely town (everyone said). The townsfolk are a typical cross-section of humanity.

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Memoir/Biography

The Poinciana Tree by Antony Jeffrey

Reviewed by Gail McDonald This biographical novel by Antony Jeffrey centres mainly on the story of his mother who is described as a brave and sensitive woman who never stopped caring for the people she loved.  It is a story of love, loss and family and is the first novel written by Antony. He previously

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General Fiction

The Girls of Lake Evelyn by Averil Kenny

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke I enjoyed reading Averil Kenny’s first novel, Those Hamilton Sisters, but I think I enjoyed The Girls of Lake Evelyn even more.  While her first novel was more about exclusion where the three girls were shunned by the town, her second was about how a newcomer to an area was readily

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Crime/Mystery

The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A very interesting tale, set mainly in the 1640s, of witchcraft, murder and deceit in Norfolk, England. The first-time author, Rosie Andrews, has done a fine job of weaving together a mystery yarn with engaging characters and authentic-sounding details of life at this turbulent time in English history. The story pivots

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Literature

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart

Reviewed by Rod McLary Douglas Stuart’s first book – Shuggie Bain – burst on the literary scene in 2020 and later that year was awarded the Booker Prize and deservedly so.  The novel chronicles the life of Shuggie, a teenager in 1980s Glasgow, and explores with scathing honesty themes of addiction, sexuality and love. Just

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General Fiction

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The term ‘portrait’ is a term often used when talking about art. It can be a painting, a photograph, an ink drawing, a sculpture — or even a description in words or in a film. Portrait of a Thief is a lyrical novel inspired by the true story of Chinese art

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Children

Rainbow the Koala and Star the Elephant by Remy Lai

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Delight and charm, quite rare in adult fiction, is often used in discussing children’s books. Remy Lai, the young Brisbane based author, has this in abundance in her series ‘Surviving the Wild’. She has a contract to write three books for the series. These are the first two, which will be

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