General Fiction

General Fiction

The Shearer’s Wife by Fleur McDonald

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke In her latest novel, The Shearer’s Wife, Fleur McDonald has once again given her readers an insight into life in Australia outside the big cities. First the readers are taken back to the 1980s where Rose and her Irish shearer husband Ian pull up at the Golden Fleece roadhouse in their

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General Fiction

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr

 Reviewed by Rod McLary The Prophets is the debut novel by Robert Jones, Jr – a novel which at the same time explores the joy and the vicissitudes of love, the harsh cruelty of slavery and the significance of the wisdom and folk lore of ancestors. Set in Mississippi on a cotton plantation during the

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General Fiction

Elizabeth & Elizabeth by Sue Williams

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Two powerful women – one the wife of the Number 1 man in the colony of New South Wales, Governor Lachlan Macquarie; the other married to the greatest landowner of the time, a man wined by Colonial Secretaries and blessed by bishops, John Macarthur. There should be plenty of scope for

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General Fiction

The Charleston Scandal by Pamela Hart

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Pamela Hart is the respected author of The Soldier’s Wife, The War Bride, A Letter from Italy, and The Desert Nurse – all stories set in war time and all immensely popular. Fine writing, combined with the sentimental climate that stories about service life attract, produced stories that the public found

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General Fiction

Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

Reviewed by Ian Lipke A magnificent story that offers a perception of three geographically distinct, but imaginatively connected, localities in the late seventeenth century. Philippa Gregory describes 1670 London, a place that, as all serious historians know, was controlled by the profligate King Charles II. Roman Catholicism had replaced the dour age of Oliver Cromwell

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General Fiction

The Berlin Girl by Mandy Robotham

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It is summer on the European mainland when Georgie Young and Max Spender are posted to Berlin. She finds him arrogant; he regards her as a naïve reporter who is certain to get under his feet. It is 1938 and the German people slavishly follow Hitler’s demands. The city is swathed

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General Fiction

The Strays of Paris by Jane Smiley

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The Strays of Paris, which the much-loved author Jane Smiley has written, brings an unlikely tale of community, friendship and the value of kindness in the heart of one of the most sophisticated of cities, Paris. It begins when Paras, short for Perestroika, nudges the door of her stall and discovers

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General Fiction

Contacts by Mark Watson

Reviewed by Clare Brook In his latest novel Contacts Mark Watson validates the positive power of our modern telephone technology; how social media can be used to facilitate communication, providing paths to inclusion and empowerment for those on the margins of society. To achieve the above, Watson constructs a plot around James, a man in

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General Fiction

Under the Golden Sun by Jenny Ashcroft

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Sometimes when you start reading a book you feel compelled to keep on reading until the whole story emerges. This is how it was for me with Jenny Ashcroft’s Under The Golden Sun. I kept being driven back to continue reading. It is hard to understand why. Was it because the

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General Fiction

When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke In chapter one of this book I was confronted, in the first paragraph, with a five and a half line or sixty-four word sentence which required me to backtrack and re-read it to get the full benefit of all those words. This was followed by the introduction of the central characters

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General Fiction

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton

Reviewed by Rod McLary Trent Dalton’s first book – Boy Swallows Universe – was a best-seller and may soon be made into a film.  Partly based on the author’s life, the book told the story of Eli and is one of love, family and coming-of-age – all told with a touch of magic. The magic

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General Fiction

The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The prologue to The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home, with its juxtapositioning of a fall from a rickety ladder with the drift into an anaesthetic induced sleep, was an interesting introduction to this novel. Dr Joanna Nell, the author of this book, spent a considerable amount of time in nursing homes

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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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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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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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