Sisters Donna and Bette were like chalk and cheese – Donna was the wild one, the one who lived her life to the fullest, experiencing everything, scare...moreSisters Donna and Bette were like chalk and cheese – Donna was the wild one, the one who lived her life to the fullest, experiencing everything, scared of nothing. Bette was the cautious, practical one, the sister who thought of the consequences before the actions happened. But they were incredibly close; they loved each other deeply and whatever happened, that would never go away.
This story started when the girls were children – Donna was in school, rebellious, wanting to wear inappropriate clothing and fighting with her mother about it. Bette tried to be the peace-maker, as did their dad. And as they grew, smoking and drinking became the norm for Donna; entering adulthood, there were decisions made which would have long reaching and dire results...
This is a beautifully written novella with a heart wrenching story; a story of a deep love between sisters, and the heartbreak of tragedy. It is the story of decisions made and the regrets that follow; of family and the support base that exists between the extended members of that family.
The author says “This story is a work of fiction, and it’s not. It is a memoir of sorts.”
I really enjoyed Blueberry Hill: A Sister's Story – I have read Spare Change and Cupid's Christmas by Bette Lee Crosby (and have others waiting to be read!) and love her writing. I have no hesitation in recommending this title highly. (less)
Sybylla Melvyn was the eldest of her siblings and living in poverty with her parents in rural NSW in the late 1800s. She fought with her mother c...more3.5★s
Sybylla Melvyn was the eldest of her siblings and living in poverty with her parents in rural NSW in the late 1800s. She fought with her mother constantly, was wilful and headstrong and after being told by her mother continually that she was ugly and useless, Sybylla believed it all. The day came that she was sent to live with her maternal grandmother and aunt on a property which was the opposite of her family home; she flourished under their care, enjoyed music and the arts and the company of more genteel companions.
But her headstrong nature and constant assurance that she wasn’t worthy of anyone’s love would drive all around her to distraction. When she met young Harold Beecham, wealthy owner of the adjoining property, his quietness and seeming lack of emotion caused Sybylla some angst. After a time a sudden and unexpected change of circumstances meant Harold departed while Sybylla left the comfort of her grandmother’s home for a position as governess for a number of slovenly children in an equally filthy home…
I’m glad I read this very Australian classic; the descriptions of the harsh country in the never ending drought, the hard work of property owners to make ends meet, the struggle of families to put food on the table – what a terrible time those long ago days were. Sybylla was a difficult character to like – her arrogance on the one hand and low opinion of herself on the other made her someone I felt the great need to slap! Again and again! Anyone who hasn’t read this classic Australian novel (which seems like an autobiography, but isn’t) by the wonderful Miles Franklin (Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin) most definitely should do so. (less)