Politics

On Charlatans by Chris Bowen

Reviewed by Gerard Healy Chris Bowen, the senior ALP politician, has penned an interesting little book on the rise of the political charlatan in the recent past. Bowen attempts two things in this book. Firstly, to seek to understand how these charlatans work and secondly, to sketch a roadmap back to victory for Labor at

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Children

The Last Bear by Hannah Gold

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve This book, with its eleven-year-old heroine and her father, is a first novel.  It is beautifully written with a strong environmental message. April Wood lives with her father, a scientist and widower, and loves to spend time in her garden, observing nature and befriending a wild fox she calls Braveheart.  Her

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Memoir/Biography

Breathtaking by Rachel Clarke

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Challenging, difficult and sometimes overwhelming in its content, this book was written by an NHS doctor working in the year of the pandemic. Rachel Clarke is a young doctor whose role, prior to Covid 19, was to tend patients facing their battle with terminal illness in a hospice in Oxfordshire. There

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General Fiction

Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Amy, the leading character in this book, is a compulsive hoarder.  When a shocking episode shatters her life shared by a boyfriend she loved and a girlfriend she was deeply attached to, she begins to collect objects that reminded her of happier times.  They offered a constancy that her friend and

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Historical Fiction

Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Florence, who is passionate about her swimming, plans to be one of the first women to swim the English Channel. She lives and trains in the ocean off Atlantic City and its famous Boardwalk.  She is vivacious and strong, loved by all who know her. Very early in the book, she

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Historical Fiction

Those Who Are Saved by Alexis Landau

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Alexis Landau presents her story through the lives of three key characters between August 1940 and August 1945. They were all Jewish and each of them had different experiences during the time of the Nazi occupation in Europe. Chapter 1 is set in February 1945, then the story reverts to the

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ABIA Book Awards – 2021

AUSTRALIAN BOOK INDUSTRY AWARDS (ABIA) 2021 LONGLIST ANNOUNCEMENT IMPORTANT DATES AND INFORMATION  On Monday 22 February 2021 The Australian Publishers Association announced the 2021 ABIA longlist. The longlist introduces the titles, publishers and authors in the running for a coveted ABIA. This year, the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) and the Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) have come

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General Fiction

The Shaman by Roland Perry

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Roland Perry has been a regular figure on both the fiction and non-fiction landscapes for many, many years. I remember reviewing his non-fiction book The Changi Brownlow when it came out in 2010. That book, like the present volume, was thoroughly researched and particularly well told. It was short-listed for the

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General Fiction

Dreams They Forgot by Emma Ashmere

Reviewed by Rod McLary Henry David Thoreau – in his series of essays Walden – said ‘the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’.  Sometimes – and incorrectly – the words ‘and die with their song still inside them’ are added.  If ‘men’ is replaced with ‘women’, then this quote and its addendum is

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History

Bastard Behind The Lines by Tom Gilling

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Until I read Tom Gilling’s book, I had never heard of a soldier called Jock McLaren, a soldier who seems to have become a casualty of history. Only a very driven man could escape from two Japanese-held prisons during World War 2 and then carry the fight with guerrilla contingents after

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General Fiction

The Paris Affair by Pip Drysdale

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The Paris Affair is the third novel by Pip Drysdale. Her two earlier books The Sunday Girl and The Strangers We Know were both best sellers, sold worldwide with the second being developed for television. Her latest contribution, The Paris Affair, is a novel about modern society with much reference to

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Crime/Mystery

The Imitator by Rebecca Starford

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This is a page turner!  A gentle easing into a complex story, a story of friendship and betrayal, of power misused and innocence scuttled. The ideas on which the story builds are simple but are manipulated so well that the reader is immersed in mystery as dense as a London fog.

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Memoir/Biography

Kate Kelly by Rebecca Wilson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke I began reading this study with high hopes. What an interesting person Kate was! Her family is comprehensively described in history and, to my mind after numerous assays by various scholars, probably accurately. Soon I discovered, despite the sub-heading emblazoned on the cover viz. The True Story of Ned Kelly’s Little

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Crime/Mystery

Faithless in Death by J. D. Robb

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Experienced reviewers of the ‘in Death’ series know there will be blood, that Eve Dallas will be up to her elbows in it, that the faithful Peabody will be dancing to keep the blood from her pink boots, that McNab, the electronics wizard will be doing mysterious things, while Roarke will

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General Fiction

Outlawed by Anna North

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Outlawed is set in 1894 in an unidentified State of the USA. Ada lives under a law that requires young women marry and have children. Failure to produce a child in a reasonable time carries the consequence of divorce and social disfavour. Rumour is sufficient for a charge of practising witchcraft,

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