Reviews

General Fiction

The Champagne War by Fiona McIntosh

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke On first reading the prologue to this book I was immediately struck by similarities between this cast of characters and that of an earlier novel by the same author, The Perfumer’s Secret. Yes, one was about perfume and the other champagne but the setting in Europe, family dynamics, brothers vying for

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Crime/Mystery

Snow by John Banville

Reviewed by Rod McLary The title of this novel – Snow – evokes whiteness and purity.  Evocations which are reinforced by continued references to snow and its appearance; such as ‘expanses of unbroken whiteness on all sides’ [3], ‘the snow was deep’ [66], and ‘a glittering shell of hoar frost [123].   But beyond – or

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Crime/Mystery

Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In her latest mystery, not one murder but three deaths in Daylesford confront the beautiful detective who has twenty solved criminal investigations to her credit in prior adventures.  Phryne Fisher, famed for her many abilities including having an impeccable fashion sense, sets off with Dot, her ingenuous assistant, who, to Phryne’s

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Memoir/Biography

Son of the Brush by Tim Olsen

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Inspiration guided the person who coined the title of this memoir. Son of the Brush allows the writer to give the reading public information about the writer’s famous father – his virtues and vices, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses while making available information about himself, one of the recognized business

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True Crime

These are not gentle people by Andrew Harding

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In negotiating the twists and complexities of a crime committed in South Africa’s Orange Free State, the esteemed British journalist, Andrew Harding, has produced a detailed account that is scrupulously balanced.  He avoids any judgments and political or historical bias.  Instead, his book, These are not gentle people, is a portrayal

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General Fiction

Before the Storm by Di Morrissey

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Di Morrissey was one of the first 21st century writers to realise that people were ready for books set in Australia.  The Thorn Birds was the most memorable of any earlier examples. Since then many writers have brought the Australian landscape to readers through their various novels. Since publishing her first,

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Crime/Mystery

Hidden in Plain Sight by Jeffrey Archer

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Having read the glowing tributes on the dust cover and found the hyperbole on the Macmillan website, I could not withhold my excitement as I contemplated the precious jewels awaiting me when I open Jeffrey Archer’s Hidden in Plain Sight. … I wondered if I’d missed something somewhere, something hidden in

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Children

The Wizard in my Shed by Simon Farnaby

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Not being familiar with Simon Farnaby’s Paddington 2 movie or The Horrible Histories series, I came to read The Misadventures of Merdyn the Wild with no preconceived notions. On reading chapter one, I could just imagine an adult reading this story to a younger child and them both enjoying it immensely.

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General Fiction

The Silence by Don DeLillo

Reviewed by Rod McLary While Don DeLillo would reject such a classification, it is generally thought that his novels are postmodernist in that they explore postmodern themes such as ‘rampant consumerism, underground conspiracies and the promise of rebirth through violence’.  His latest novel The Silence is no different – its primary theme is the breakdown

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Memoir/Biography

Courage Under Fire by Daniel Keighran VC

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Dan Keighran’s book contains one of those stories that we treasure, one we keep coming back to when we think that life is tough. It is the story of a little boy who slept in the dirt but grew to be a man of principle to whom service to others was

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History

Breaker Morant by Peter FitzSimons

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The cover of Breaker Morant reveals that Peter Fitzsimons is Australia’s bestselling non-fiction writer as well as Australia’s greatest storyteller. Grand statements, indeed. (I wonder what Henry Lawson might have thought!) Readers, however casual, cannot fail to see the thirty pages of Endnotes, the five-page bibliography, and the twelve-page index, each

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Non-Fiction

On Money by Rick Morton

Reviewed by Gerard Healy An interesting take, by journalist Rick Morton, on what happens when you grow up WITHOUT money. From his very personal experiences, Rick explains how life treats the poor and the not-so-poor in our society. It’s probably among only a handful of books on finance written from the lack-of-money perspective and it’s

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General Fiction

The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Australian writer, Sally Hepworth’s latest book is about sisters, twins, their relationship, and their identity, themes which she tackles very well. In this case it is about sibling dependency. The book tells the reader of the life of the Castle twins. The title of the book, The Good Sister, implies that

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General Fiction

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Rosalie Ham

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke With her latest novel, Rosalie Ham is hoping to latch onto the success of her earlier novel, The Dressmaker, which was made into the acclaimed movie of the same name starring Kate Winslet. The cover of her new book states ‘She’s back!’ in dark blue on the bright yellow cover. This

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Health/Medicine

Healing Lives by Sue Williams

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In March this year as Covid 19 began to grip the world, Dr Catherine Hamlin, famous internationally, died in a hospital in Ethiopia aged 96.  All those whose lives were touched by her mourned the loss of this woman who was loved for her contribution to women’s health while possessing most

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