July 2023

Memoir/Biography

Growing Grapes Might be Fun by Deidre Macken

Reviewed by Richard Tutin When the time to retire from full time work arrives what does one do? For Diedre Macken and her husband Roger Johnstone the answer to this question came from an unlikely source. Encouraged by Macken’s mother Ann they decide to establish a vineyard on part of Cockatoo Hill a 100-hectare property

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Non-Fiction

Bathurst: 60 Years of the Great Race by Steve Normoyle

Reviewed by Richard Tutin  Every year the hills around Bathurst in country New South Wales come alive to the sound of revving engines – lots of revving engines. The city’s famous Mt Panorama race circuit holds various events – some of which are eagerly anticipated by motor racing fans from all over Australia and the

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Davitt Awards 2023 – shortlists

Sisters in Crime Australia has announced the shortlists for the 2023 Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women. The shortlisted titles in two of the categories are: Adult novel Release (Lucy Christopher, Text) When We Fall (Aoife Clifford, Ultimo) Stone Town (Margaret Hickey, Penguin) All That’s Left Unsaid (Tracey Lien, HQ Fiction) The Torrent (Dinuka McKenzie, HarperCollin) The Unbelieved (Vikki

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Children

I am Lupe by Sela Ahosivi-Atiola

Reviewed by Rod McLary This charming book for young children addresses and affirms diversity and the intrinsic value of each of us regardless of any differences we may have from those around us. Lupe attends school and notices that she looks different from the other children – and they too notice the differences.  She is

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General Fiction

Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society by Sophie Green

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Sophie Green is an Australian writer who compiles heart-warming stories about everyday people, usually women and highlights some of the thoughts they harbour which are rarely aired. ‘In a world where so many women’s lives are always on display – as they move from parents’ homes to marital homes, always serving,

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Crime/Mystery

The Guest Room by Tasha Sylva

Reviewed by Rod McLary This debut novel by Tasha Sylva delves into the consequences of searching through property which doesn’t belong to you. Tess Hartley is grieving for the death of her sister Rosie who was murdered by an unknown assailant.  In an attempt to assuage her grief and loneliness, Tess has moved into Rosie’s

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Award News

The longlist for the Margaret and Colin Roderick Literary Award, which has increased in value to $30,000 and is administered by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies (FALS) at James Cook University, has been announced. The 15 longlisted titles, chosen from 225 entries, include: Dirt Town (Hayley Scrivenor, Macmillan). Click here to read the QRC review.

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General Fiction

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve “Human Life is like a sunbeam passing through a crack”.  Exceptional people achieve much in that fraction of time and one is surely Lady Tan, Tan Yunxian, a pioneer in women’s medicine, who employed her knowledge and skills in fifteenth century China. In her book about this brilliant woman, Lisa See

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Children

One Little Duck by Katrina Germein

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A charming and engaging variation on the well-known “Five Little Ducks” story suitable for younger pre-schoolers and the adults in their lives. The text by Katrina Germein is most appropriate for younger readers and it is beautifully complimented by Danny Snell’s wonderful illustrations. If you have younger children in your lives

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General Fiction

Dreaming in French by Vanessa McCausland

Reviewed by Rod McLary Dreaming in French is a beautifully written and realised novel – and ultimately a very emotionally moving one. Set in two time periods twenty-six years apart, the novel explores the relationships between three people – Saskia, Simone and Félix.  The current time period is narrated by Saskia in the first person;

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Memoir/Biography

Reaching Through Time by Shauna Bostock

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Shauna Bostock, a former Primary School teacher, through curiosity about her family, researched and completed a PhD in Aboriginal history. This book is the story of her personal research. Unlike other previous works with a similar purpose, Reaching Through Time is written from the perspective of an Aboriginal historian who has

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Non-Fiction

The Good Death Through Time by Caitlin Mahar

Reviewed by Richard Tutin All humans know that at some point we will die and no longer walk this earth. This does not mean that we go around ready to embrace it. It is more the opposite. We spend a lot of time trying to avoid it as much as possible. Then comes the time

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CWA New Blood Dagger winner

Crime Writers Association winner Hayley Scrivenor’s Dirt Town (Macmillan) has won the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for debut fiction in the UK Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) 2023 Dagger Awards. CWA judges described Scrivenor’s crime novel—which centres on a missing child case in a rural Australian town—as a ‘haunting mystery.’ Two other Australian authors were on the

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General Fiction

Immaculate by Anna McGahan

Reviewed by Rod McLary Immaculate by Anna McGahan won the 2023 The Australian/Vogel’s Award for Young Writers.  Anna is the niece of one of Australia’s favourite authors – Andrew McGahan who died in 2019 – who had previously won this award for his first novel Praise published in 1991.  While Anna may share a name

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Memoir/Biography

A Farming Life by Liz Harfull

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Because the cover of this book, A Farming Life, told me that it contained tales of resilience from inspiring rural women, I initially thought that each of the six chapters would highlight just one specific woman and her achievements. What I found in each chapter was not just the accomplishments of

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