When faced with hard times and potential financial ruin, Stanton Finch moves his family from Adelaide to Salt Creek, where they will work the land andWhen faced with hard times and potential financial ruin, Stanton Finch moves his family from Adelaide to Salt Creek, where they will work the land and try to rebuild the family fortune. The landscape is harsh and remote, a thousand times removed from the comfortable city life they left behind them. Despite some good intentions, the family heads inexorably towards a tragic clash with the Ngarrindjeri people, who they have displaced and misunderstand.
Told through the eyes of Stanton's eldest daughter, Hester, Salt Creek is an epic historical novel. It spans countries and years, encompasses big themes and delves into the clash between white settlers and the Aborigines. There are echoes of Kate Grenville's classic, The Secret River, but perhaps only because they deal with similar subjects and both authors were inspired by their own family history.
I don't really know how to review this work. I could talk about how author Lucy Treloar makes the world feel real, how her characters are well-developed and complex. I could talk about the voice of the novel, which feels authentic for the time but still vastly readable. I could talk about how Treloar is willing to present the Finches as well-intentioned people who still have racist attitudes. These things are all true and praise-worthy. This is a fantastic book, a potential classic.
Which is really a short, easy way of saying what I think of this book: it's awesome....more
Journalist Brian Cookson and photographer Jack Smart are in north-east Victoria, aiming to investigate reports that Dan Kelly – member of the notoriouJournalist Brian Cookson and photographer Jack Smart are in north-east Victoria, aiming to investigate reports that Dan Kelly – member of the notorious Kelly Gang, believed dead – survived and is living under an assumed identity in South Africa. During a storm, they take refuge in a roadside cottage and find their host is none other than Ellen, the mother of Ned and Dan Kelly.
So I'm really in two minds how to review this book. I was eager to get my hands on this book once I heard of its existence. Ellen Kelly is a fascinating figure from the Kelly Gang saga and the idea of having a book from her POV – well, that made me very excited. And the story itself – it's utterly fantastic. Beautifully written with strong, vivid characterisations, particularly of Ellen. It was a story that I loved sitting down and just reading. The story itself is worth 5 stars.
The problem is that the book itself is a sorry excuse for a book. I caught typos, I caught punctuation mistakes, spelling mistakes (consistently spelling kookaburra kookaburrah, for example) and the formatting is a mess. For one thing, there's nothing to indicate a scene break. Nothing. So you're reading a scene from Brian's POV, then suddenly you're jumping to Ellen's POV. It actually detracts from the story, making it feel very jumpy and convoluted and it makes the author appear somewhat unskilled.
See, I reckon if this had been properly proofread and formatted, I'd be rating this a good 4 or 5 stars overall. But as it is, I'd say that the book gets 1-star for the effort that went into preparing this book for publishing. It's lucky that the story itself was so good, because it kept me reading, made me want to stay in the world and ultimately made me willing to overlook the poor publishing job. ...more
I've seen Liane Moriarty's books around often enough but I've always sort of dismissed her as chick-lit, which is not a genre that I seek out or thinkI've seen Liane Moriarty's books around often enough but I've always sort of dismissed her as chick-lit, which is not a genre that I seek out or think I'll enjoy. I only really picked this up because I heard about the HBO adaptation and was intrigued by the calibre of the cast attached (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon). And in all honestly, this was a seriously addictive, super enjoyable book. I went out and bought two more of Moriarty's other books within a week of finishing this because it was that good. It's an engaging story, with enough mystery to satisfy my love of the crime genre and enough depth to satisfy my love of complex characters and situation – and it's set in Australia and written by an Australian author, which goes well with my love of Australian fiction. It's pretty much the perfect book for me. ...more