Post Script: The Cowgirl – Anthea Hodgson

The Cowgirl

The Cowgirl

Anthea Hodgson

Penguin Random House

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143797265

 

Description:

Teddy Broderick has lived on her farm almost all her life, committed to the rhythms of the country – seeding, harvest, shearing and the twice daily milking of the cow her grandmother has looked after for years, but she dreams of another life, in the wide world away from the confines of her property.

 

She thinks she knows her home and its community inside out, until her grandmother Deirdre announces there is a house buried on the property, and Will Hastings, an archaeologist, is coming to dig it up again.

 

As they work together to expose Deirdre’s past to the light, the stories they tell bring them together and pull Teddy further away from her home.

 

But what is hidden in Deirdre’s childhood house that she needs to see again before she dies – and why? What is it that stops Teddy from living the life she truly wants? And will she ever find her freedom?

 

 

My View:

A uniquely rural Australian coming of age story that tips it hat at the #MeToo movement.

 

Anthea Hodgson writes empathetic characters that challenge societal pressures to confirm and be controlled. Sometimes there are small victories, though the scars form the many skirmishes take a long time to heal.  Ultimately this is an uplifting book that will bring a tear, all be it a happy tear, to your eye.

Guest Post:Six Ways to Sunday – Karly Lane

Six Ways to Sunday

Six Ways to Sunday

Karly Lane

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760296766

 

Description:

When city naturopath Rilee Summers meets gorgeous farmer Dan Kincaid, sparks fly. A whirlwind romance follows, and the next thing Rilee knows she’s married and living on her husband’s family property in a small rural community.

Never one to shy from a challenge, Rilee is determined to win over her in-laws and the townsfolk of nearby Pallaburra, but her city ways and outspoken views only seem to alienate her further.

Opening her own naturopathy practice has always been her dream. Although Pallaburra isn’t Sydney, and despite the fact she’s not exactly inundated with new clients, she’s not ready to give up. Things get even worse for Rilee when she champions the issue of teen pregnancies in the deeply conservative town.

Worn down by the ill-will towards her and what she sees as Dan’s lack of support, Rilee flees the station to think about the future. Can her marriage survive – or is she destined to leave Dan and move back to the city?

Six Ways to Sunday is a rip-roaring tale about a woman determined to stand up for her convictions even at the risk of jeopardising the future she envisaged with the man she loves.

Brenda’s Review:

Rilee Summers had her life’s path planned out in front of her. A naturopath, her dream was to open her own practice in Sydney – the past four years of working at the local pub while she studied had brought those dreams closer. But when she met Dan Kincaid, she had no idea her plans were set to change; Dan was a farmer from the property, Thumb Creek, near the small New South Wales town of Pallaburra. Three months after they met, they were married and Rilee was steeling herself to meet Dan’s parents…

Ellen and Jacob Kincaid were shocked and dismayed to meet Rilee – and didn’t bother to hide it. Over time their attitude toward her didn’t soften and Rilee felt she was fighting an uphill battle. But still, she did everything she could to have Dan’s parents like her – but whatever she did, they rejected.

Rilee could see that Pallaburra needed help – no doctor in town, and only a pharmacy with an old-fashioned pharmacist whose outdated ideas beggared belief. She was determined to open her naturopath practice, but the community weren’t interested and did their best to stop her in her tracks. Was it worth the battle? Rilee was starting to wonder.

But it was when Dan’s support for her plans vanished like they’d never been that Rilee had had enough. Her future looked grim – in fact she was no longer sure if any of it was worth fighting for anymore…

Six Ways to Sunday by Aussie author Karly Lane is a brilliant story of courage in the face of adversity; of fighting for what you believe is right; and the way some small rural communities are left behind and forgotten in the advancement of time. Rilee is a wonderful character; kind, empathetic and genuine – I felt for her and silently encouraged her to keep going! I loved her parents too 😊 I have no hesitation in highly recommending this 5 star read, Six Ways to Sunday, to fans of the rural romance genre.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin for my hardcopy to read and review.

Post Script: Her – Garry Disher

Her

Her

Garry Disher

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733638541

 

Description:

Out in that country the sun smeared the sky and nothing ever altered, except that one day a scrap man came by . . .

 

Her name is scarcely known or remembered. All in all, she is worth less than the nine shillings and sixpence counted into her father’s hand. She bides her time. She does her work.

 

Way back in the corner of her mind is a thought she is almost too frightened to shine a light on: one day she will run away.

 

A dark and unsettling tale from the turn of the twentieth century by a master of Australian literature.

 

 

My View:

This is a very quick, very dark, very disturbing read, written with skill and flair. Underpinning the bleak narrative are themes of resilience, the importance of family – in its varied forms, of solidarity and of the female bonds that sustain life and offer hope in desperate situations.

 

Disher skilfully captures the essence of the times and the Australian locations succinctly – early 1900’s, rural backdrops, you can hear those banjos strumming “Deliverance” style in your head as you turn the pages, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uzae_SqbmDE  the poverty, the gloom, the desperation, the harsh conditions; the landscape ruling with a mean and spiteful fist, its fingers tightly clamped, strangling hope.

 

This is not what I would call an enjoyable read. This is however a remarkable, memorable, poignant and haunting read that I dare you to forget.

 

Post Script: Red Dirt Odyssey – Kath Engebretson – Guest Review

Today we have guest reviewer Brenda sharing her thoughts on:

red-dirt-odyssey

Red Dirt Odyssey

Kath Engebretson

Atlas Productions

ISBN: 9780995377653

 

Description:

The campervan sits in the driveway waiting for Alice–a jaded academic–and her husband, Will, to retire and hit the road … any day now.

But when Will suddenly dies, Alice is lost. Unhappy at work, and with her future plans thwarted, she rises daily, puts one foot in front of the other, existing not living.

Until one day, she climbs into the campervan and decides to go it alone. Escaping from her city life she heads across the Nullarbor, taking work as a shearers’ cook, and meeting a colourful cast of characters who will change the way she views the world.

Red Dirt Odyssey is a reminder that life can change in a moment but when one door closes, another opens. A story of contemporary Australian life explored – loss and loneliness, friendship and renewal, risk and adventure, set against the dramatic landscapes of outback and coastal Australia.

Brenda’s View:

Devastated at the sudden, shocking death of her beloved husband, Alice was buried in her grief. She took extended leave, then resigned, her academic position not enticing enough to keep her there. Will had been part of her life it seemed like forever – his death just prior to their retirement and travel in their campervan felt cruel and unjust. Alice’s married son and daughter were supportive but they were grieving as well…

Gradually Alice found a way out of the fog; a plan started to form in her mind for herself and her future. And when she tentatively and nervously told her children she was going to leave her home in Melbourne and head across the Nullarbor in her campervan, by herself, they were shocked. But after much preparation, Alice was finally on her way – heading for adventures she’d previously thought she’d share with Will; now doing it alone.

And adventures she found! A mistreated pup she named Matey joined Alice on her odyssey; before long they were inseparable. Alice was a good cook – her meeting of Tom, boss of a shearing team – and his invitation she join the crew as shearers’ cook was an eye opener for Alice. And she loved it – exhausted but happy, she made friends with the “boys” and they raved about her cooking. As she continued across the Nullarbor to Kalgoorlie and up the west coast, the people she met and scenery she viewed had a profound impact on her. When one door closed, another definitely opened…

Red Dirt Odyssey was a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining read. A mix of emotions rippled through this book – happiness and new friendships; sadness and loss; grief and new beginnings – and it was set to the backdrop of the magnificent outback and coast of Western Australia. Aussie author Kath Engebretson has blended Indigenous Australians with ease into Red Dirt Odyssey – the varied and diverse characters are wonderfully written. I have to add that I love the cover as well! Highly recommended as a new voice in Australian fiction. 5 stars.

With thanks to Atlas Productions for this copy to read in exchange for my honest review.

Thanks Brenda