TBR Thursday with She is Too Fond of Books is a meme to highlight all those hidden gems languishing in our out-of-control TBR piles.
They can be “books that I physically own, be it arc, bought, paperback or ebook. It could have been there for months or just acquired it yesterday.”
My little twist is to highlight one new release and one classic each week.
Over the next few weeks I will also focus on the Australian books lurking in my TBR in honour of AusReadingMonth.
The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee made it onto my TBR list after I read her children’s story Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy. I was captivated, wrote a gushing review and tracked down her backlist.
All her life, Rose Lovell has moved from town to town with her alcoholic father. When they wash up in an Australian coastal sugarcane town, Rose wonders if maybe, finally, things will be different this time. On her first day at school, Rose meets Pearl Kelly, a popular, pretty and lively girl intent on tracking down her long-lost Russian father. She convinces Rose to join in with the town’s annual Harvest Parade, and Rose agrees, despite thinking the whole thing is embarrassingly yokel. She has to find a truly special dress – one that will make it clear she is different to the rest of the girls in this town. And who better to help her than the local eccentric, Edie Baker, who knows all the town’s secrets and whose own family is a rich tapestry of stories, including whispers of witchcraft and murder. Edie agrees on the condition that Rose will create the dress with her – a dress woven from scraps and secrets and stories.
But when the girl wearing the midnight blue dress goes missing, the town will find it has secrets of its own to tell, and nothing can ever be the same again. THE MIDNIGHT DRESS weaves a mesmerising story of love, loss and longing to the very last page.
I came late to my love of Alex Miller with Coal Creek. As with Foxlee, I am now tracking down Miller’s backlist. This is his Miles Franklin Literary Award winner from 2003, Journey to the Stone Country.
Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Beck retreats from Melbourne to her old family home in tropical North Queensland where she meets Bo Rennie, one of the Jangga tribe. Intrigued by Bo’s claim that he holds the key to her future, Annabelle sets out with him on a path of recovery that leads back to her childhood and into the Jangga’s ancient heartland, where their grandparents’s lives begin to yield secrets that will challenge the possibility of their happiness together.
With the consummate artistry of a novelist working at the height of his powers, Miller convinces us that the stone country is not only a remote and exotic location in North Queensland, but is also an unvisited place within each of us. Journey to the Stone Country confirms Miller’s reputation as one of Australia’s most intelligent and uncompromising writers.
“The most impressive and satisfying novel of recent years. It gave me all the kinds of pleasure a reader can hope for” – Tim Winton