Review: The Shearer’s Wife – Fleur McDonald

The Shearer’s Wife

Fleur McDonald

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760876814

RRP$29.99

 

Description:

2020: When the Australian Federal Police swoop unheralded into Barker and make a shocking arrest for possession of narcotics, Detective Dave Burrows is certain there is more to the story than meets the eye. But the Feds insist that Dave is too invested in the town and its people to see the truth of what is happening there.

 

1980: Rose and Ian Kelly arrive in Barker for supplies before they begin shearing at Jacksonville Station, a couple of hundred kilometres out of town. Rose, heavily pregnant with their first babies, worries that despite Ian’s impending fatherhood he remains a drifter who dreams of the open road.

 

The twins arrive early and while Rose recuperates in town after a complicated birth, Ian stays at the Station to finish the shearing. When Ian turns up at job’s end ready to collect them all and move on, Rose is adamant that she and the twins need the support of the community in Barker. Impatiently, Ian sets off alone, leaving Rose and the children behind.

 

2020: After many months of grief over her brother’s illness and death, journalist Zara Ellison is finally ready to begin a new chapter of her life and make a commitment to her boyfriend, Senior Constable Jack Higgins. But when she’s assigned to investigating the Barker arrest, Jack begins to believe that Zara is working against him.

 

It takes a series of unconnected incidents in Zara’s digging to reveal an almost forgotten thread of mystery as to how these two events, forty years apart, could be connected.

 

 

My View:

I wish I had “discovered” Fleur McDonald’s Detective Dave Burrows series a long time ago -unfortunately I judged the books by its cover and hastily disregarded these as “romance”. How wrong was I? Fleur McDonald writes rural crime fiction with a sensitivity and knowledge that makes her narratives believable and her characters empathetic and credible. Fleur McDonald knows small Australian towns.

 

I particular enjoy reading about her protagonist Detective Dave Burrows. Burrows is a knowledgeable cop who has good instincts about people and their intentions, is community minded and liked by most; I’d like to see him come to life on the small screen – I think he would have a big fan following.

 

The Shearer’s Wife is a poignant read. With a dual story time line and a mystery or two, there are so many moments that will cause you to reflect on how difficult life was/is for women in remote locations, whether they be small towns, farms or businesses. This is another intelligent, poignant, engaging mystery from this great writer of small town Australian mysteries. Detective Dave Burrows is my hero 😊

 

Review: The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida – Clarissa Goenawan

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Clarissa Goenawan

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781922310286

 

Description:

A bewitching novel set in contemporary Japan about the mysterious suicide of a young woman.

Miwako Sumida is dead.

Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity — but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret.

Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.

 

 

FROM THE AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Clarissa.

Thank you for picking up The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida.

I’m fascinated with the idea that often, we thought that we know a person really well, but actually, we don’t. How far would you go to uncover the truth? And what if the truth is more painful than the lies?

Those questions eventually led me to write The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida. It’s a story of how a young woman’s unexplained suicide shapes and transforms the lives of those she left behind. I usually describe the book as a literary mystery with elements of magical realism set in Japan, and a coming-of-age story masquerading as a murder mystery.

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida is my second novel. The book has been five years in the making and I couldn’t be more proud. Just like my debut novel, Rainbirds, this book features a collection of my favourite things. You’ll find a second-hand bookstore with no signage, beloved classic books, a whimsical cat that resembles maneki-neko, delicious Japanese comfort food, convenience stores, melancholic rainy days, and amidst them, small, everyday moments that dazzle me. In a way, I’m turning them into words with the hope of capturing these precious memories forever.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. And if you do, I’d be grateful if you could share it with others.

 

Warm regards,

Clarissa Goenawan.

 

 

My View:

A compelling read.

At the heart this is book about secrets and friendships.  There is something about an unexpected death that leaves those in the circle of friends and relations seeking to understand, seeking answers, seeking clues as to the “why?”.  Goenawan tackles this subject delicately and quietly – I like the voice in this narrative. It is a sad story yet not morose. The back story is one …well that’s another secret and I won’t reveal that😊 But I will say it is very contemporary social issue that is sensitively illuminated and discussed.

 

To me this is a book in two parts. The before the trip the friends take to the village and the after. The “after” is a little mystical, or perhaps spiritual…depending on your outlook. Traditions and culture form the strength of the second part of the narrative and help resolve some areas of the story arc.

 

There is something about the quiet voice in this narrative that is so powerful and compelling. I did enjoy this read and hope you will too.

What Did You Do This Weekend?

I had a fabulous time;a trip to Fremantle to take 3 paintings to be included in an exhibition at Studio 11 in Captains Lane. At the exhibition I won a high commendation for one of the pieces, and sold that piece too! Then had dinner out with husband and my daughter who lives in Perth – what a magical day.

#MeatFreeMonday: Meat-less Meatballs – The Global Vegan – Ellie Bullen

The Global Vegan by Ellie Bullen,

Published by Plum

RRP $34.99

Photography by Ellie Bullen

 

Meat-less Meatballs

These flavour-packed vegan meatballs are made using kidney beans for a protein kick. Dunked in
passata sauce and served with pasta, they make a hearty main, but on their own they also make
a great healthy snack or lunchbox filler. p164 Mains

Serves 2
cooked spaghetti, to serve
Parmesan Crumble (see Backed Mac No Cheese post for recipe)

Meatballs
3 tablespoons red or white quinoa
1 portobello mushroom, roughly chopped
400 g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
30 g plain or gluten-free flour
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tomato, deseeded and finely diced

Tomato sauce
250 ml (1 cup) passata
⅓ cup basil leaves, plus extra to serve
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

To make the meatballs, cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then drain and set
aside to cool. Place the mushroom and kidney beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until
just combined. Transfer to a large bowl and stir through the quinoa. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Roll the mixture into ten even-sized balls, then place on the prepared tray and bake for 18–20 minutes or until cooked through. To make the tomato sauce, heat the passata in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the basil
and salt and pepper to taste, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Divide the spaghetti between two plates and top with the meatballs and sauce. Scatter over the parmesan crumble and extra basil leaves.

TIPS
You can also serve the meatballs and sauce as a tapas-style dish with the parmesan crumble.
If you prefer, you can shallow-fry the meatballs. Heat 3 tablespoons of avocado oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook for 2–3 minutes on all sides or until golden and crispy.

Review: Dugong Magic – Deborah Kelly, Illustrated by Lisa Stewart

Dugong Magic
Deborah Kelly
Illustrated by Lisa Stewart
Lothian Children’s Books
Hachette Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780734419965
Paperback $15.99

Description:
A beautifully illustrated, lyrical and informative story about dugongs, one of our most unique endangered animals. Ideal for anyone with an interest in marine life and the environment, and an excellent teaching resource.
There are not many dugongs left in the world now. But what if humans freed the sea from nets? What if we cleared it of rubbish so that seagrass could flourish again and dugongs could feed?
A beautiful and thought-provoking picture book about dugongs – the mysterious creatures who were once mistaken for mermaids. Deborah’s Kelly’s beautiful, lyrical writing brings these animals to life, and highlights the dangers they face, inspiring young readers to care for and protect our natural world. Lisa Stewart’s gorgeous illustrations capture the beauty of these gentle and endangered creatures.

My View:
This is a very sensitively written book that provides gorgeous images with a message about ecology, the environment and optimism.

Read and learn about the dugong’s calf’s family close relationship, its habitat, it quests for sweet waters, pollution free, and an ocean that all can utilise.

For adults, teachers and carer’s there is a handy page of “Dugong Facts” to assist you answering those never ending “why” questions 😊, eg where they live, what does the name mean, how do they communicate? etc

A great teaching resource and an environmental call for action.

5 Star Books to Keep a Look Out For

I just wanted to share some recent 5 star book discoveries that I will be reviewing soon; some have recently been published, some will be published in the next month or so. Some are  by debut authors, some are  by favourites that never disappoint.  I highly recommend these – as I read each one I thought “this is the best book I have read this year,” and then I read THE NEXT AND THOUGHT THE SAME THING. Such talent.

 

The Lying Room

Nicci French

Simon and Schuster

 

Wearing Paper Dresses

Ann Brinsden

Mcmillan Australia

 

 

 

The Other Half of Augusta Hope

Joanna Glen

Harper Collins

 

Every Time He Dies

Tara East

Self Published

ISBN: 9780648581512

#FridayFreebie The Long Call – Ann Cleves

The Long Call

(Two Rivers #1)

Ann Cleeves

Macmillan

ISBN: 9781509889570

RRP $29.99

 

Thanks to the lovely people at Pan Macmillan Australia I have one copy of The Long Call to giveaway; its easy, in the comments  tell me the name of the two rivers that are the location of this series **hint see my review **  

 

This giveaway will be randomly drawn on the 14th of September and is open to Australian residents only. Good luck.