Harper Collins Australia
A beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the ‘light within’ that Julia Baird calls ‘phosphorescence’ – which will sustain us even through the darkest times.
Over the last decade, we have become better at knowing what brings us contentment, well-being and joy. We know, for example, that there are a few core truths to science of happiness. We know that being kind and altruistic makes us happy, that turning off devices, talking to people, forging relationships, living with meaning and delving into the concerns of others offer our best chance at achieving happiness. But how do we retain happiness? It often slips out of our hands as quickly as we find it. So, when we are exposed to, or learn, good things, how do we continue to burn with them?
And more than that, when our world goes dark, when we’re overwhelmed by illness or heartbreak, loss or pain, how do we survive, stay alive or even bloom? In the muck and grit of a daily existence full of disappointments and a disturbing lack of control over many of the things that matter most – finite relationships, fragile health, fraying economies, a planet in peril – how do we find, nurture and carry our own inner, living light – a light to ward off the darkness?
Absorbing, achingly beautiful, inspiring and deeply moving, Julia Baird has written exactly the book we need for these times.
A deeply personal yet universal message of optimism and self-reflection on what is important in our busy modern lives. Trauma is something that the author has experienced first-hand – loss, and her recent health issues have awakened a desire to reconnect with her community and nature; the beach, swimming, the comradery of her fellow swimmers, those enjoying a coffee together afterwards, chatting…the connection of a shared experience and her personal mission to explore what brings her awe and joy.
Awe and joy – what a wonderful state to be in and what sublime timing – in this world of Corona Virus pandemic never has the power of awe been more necessary. Julia Baird is in awe of the natural phenomena, phosphorescence. Have you ever experienced/observed it it? “Living Light…glow worms, ghost mushrooms, fireflies, flashlight fish, vampire squid…glowing missionaries of wonder, emissaries of awe.”
(prelude) What do you find awe inspiring?
Phosphorescence, discover this read and reignite your own passion and joy of life.
PS I love the cover art.
The Cottage at Rosella Cove
Why had the house stayed empty so long? Why had it never been sold?
Nicole has left her city life for the sleepy town of Rosella Cove, renting the old cottage by the water. She plans to keep to herself – but when she uncovers a hidden box of wartime love letters, she realises she’s not the
first person living in this cottage to hide secrets and pain.
Ivy’s quiet life in Rosella Cove is tainted by the events of World War II, with ramifications felt for many years to come. But one night a drifter appears and changes everything. Perhaps his is the soul she’s meant to save.
Charlie is too afraid of his past to form any lasting ties in the cove. He knows he must make amends for his tragic deeds long ago, but he can’t do it alone. Maybe the new tenant in the cottage will help him fulfil a promise and find the redemption he isn’t sure he deserves.
Welcome to the cottage at Rosella Cove, where three damaged souls meet and have the chance to rewrite their futures.
Isn’t it great when you discover a new author to add to your “authors you must read” list?
Sandie Docker writes with a subtleness that is poignant and encompasses many contemporary social issues without shouting her message loudly in your face. There are many threads to this narrative – domestic violence – DV does not always include physical violence; it can be a deliberate isolation from friends and family, a slow erosion of self and self-confidence, financial dependence/control…the psychological assault is oh so manipulative and dire…Docker weaves this thread into the narrative with a deceptive charm – blink and you will miss the signs – just as the victim does. But this is more than a narrative of DV, it is a charming story of friendships, new and old, about redemption, rebuilding – I liked the analogy for rebuilding life/rebuilding cottage – by allowing friendship in and opening up your heart to possibilities and hope.
I loved the device – the reading of old letters – to fill in gaps, to tell a personal history and a world history, to add depth to characters, and to provide optimism and resolution.
This is a deceptively simple narrative that encompasses so much life. A great read.
Love is random. Accidental. You just live your life and then one day it’ll hit you with the right person.
Wandering soul Freya ‘Free’ Paterson has finally come back home. Idealistic and trusting, she’s landed the job of her dreams working on an art project with the local school, but she hadn’t planned on meeting the man of her dreams as well.
With his irresistible Irish accent, Constable Finn Kelly is everything Free wants – genuine, kind . . . and handsome as hell. He’s also everything Free isn’t – stable and dependable. Yet despite the passion simmering between them, he just wants to be friends. What is he trying to hide?
As Free throws herself into the challenges of her new job, fending off the unwelcome advances of a colleague and helping to save her beloved Herne River, Finn won’t stay out of her way, or out of her heart.
But just when she needs him the most, will Finn reveal his true colours?
I received my copy of True Blue at a time when life was a little traumatic and emotional. For those who know me or follow my blog you will be aware that in February/March we dealt a number of deaths in our family; concentrating on reading my normal diet of crime fiction was not possible. But True Blue came along and gave me a little glimpse of happiness, fun and optimism.
And the anecdote regarding art – the quantity versus quality story – really resonated. You will be pleased to know I have opted for the quantity experience/experiment and I am really enjoying (and learning a lot) my foray into acrylic abstract painting.
Thanks you so much for providing a narrative that sheds light into the sometimes gloomy world; this read is cheerful, inspiring and full of optimism.
Try Not To Breathe
Allen & Unwin
A woman’s search for the truth about a brutal attack on a teenage girl puts her in danger in this tense, emotionally-charged psychological thriller: perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train or The Book of You.
Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy.
Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park not far from her house. Her attacker was never found. Since then, she has drifted in a lonely, timeless place. She’s as good as dead, but not even her doctors are sure how much she understands.
Alex and Amy grew up in the same suburbs, played the same music, flirted with the same boys. And as Alex begins to investigate the attack, she opens the door to the same danger that has left Amy in a coma…
This is a narrative that sparkles on so many fronts! This is a remarkable debut novel – though to be fair, Holly Seddon has been writing since she stepped out of college and into the freelance world at least fifteen years ago, this however is her first novel. You cannot tell – the writing her is succinct, polished and oh so addictive. I loved this read.
Try Not to Breathe is a book that is written mostly from the view point of Alex – a woman who is addicted to alcohol, a compulsion that dictates and ruins her life (mostly). This is a very confronting look at addiction – it is not however at all despondent or a self-indulgent look at this world – it is a matter of fact, almost clinical in description and Alex has almost accepted that this is her life until she stumbles across Amy and her story. Amy has been hospitalised and in an unresponsive state since she suffered a horrendous physical attack. She cannot communicate with the outside world. Another impressive revelation of life as we could not possibly imagine it – but there is hope. This “personal” story is mind blowing!
Two very personal revealing narrative threads, three if you consider Jacob’s story which is also very much integral to the overall story arc.
And then we have a mystery – who attacked Amy? A cold case reopened. Redemption and hope and justice eventuate. Brilliantly written, engaging, eye opening, tragic but with a sense of optimism…just loved it! I can’t wait to read what Holly Seddon comes up with next.
I strive to….