At the moment, I’m half way through Bereft by Chris Womersley. It’s a gripping, haunting tale of murder, grief and family. It’s setting is the Central West of NSW (which explains why I felt so at home in the story from the start) and follows Quinn Walker as he returns home after WW1 to atone for the murder of his sister years earlier. The writing is dark and poignant…and I’m hooked. A worthy winner of the 2011 Indie Award for Fiction.
Flock by Lyn Hughes is set in the Blue Mountains – another place close to my heart. Essentially it is the history of wallpaper in Australia – who could have guess how interesting and compelling this story would turn out to be! Of course, the history of wallpaper is interwoven into a moving family saga of love, betrayal abd belonging. Flock was evocative, gentle and mesmerising in it’s detail.
Since reading this story I too have become fascinated in wallpaper! I now find myself gazing at unusual designs on cafe walls or running my fingers across a beautifully flocked wall with a far greater appreciation than before.
And now to the gorgeous Kate Morton and The Distant Hours. This was a pre-Christmas read. It was big, juicy and satisfying. Perfectly absorbing and easy to read in the rush and madness leading up to Christmas. I loved the Gothic eerieness, the mystery, the hint of sinister events. My only complaint was the ending, which wrapped everything up a little too tidily. I enjoyed it so much that I hunted down one of her earlier works, the Forgotten Garden a couple of months later.
Finally we come to Geraldine Brooks and Caleb’s Crossing. I am a fan of Geraldine’s Brooks previous books, so I was expecting a lot…and I was not disappointed. I devoured this book in a few days over Easter. Brooks has the happy knack of completely immersing her readers into the time and place of her stories. You are in America – Boston and Martha’s Vineyard in the 1600’s. You walk beside Bethia and Caleb as they negotiate their way through these new worlds too.
This is Brooks at her best – historical fiction with heart, soul and intellect. Highly recommended and sure to turn up on a number of award shortlists over the coming year.