I found this an exciting and fast moving adventure story, set in the rugged and isolated Rocky Mountains in the mid 19th century. The central characteI found this an exciting and fast moving adventure story, set in the rugged and isolated Rocky Mountains in the mid 19th century. The central character is abandoned by his team of fur trappers after he is near fatally attacked by a grizzly bear. The story unfolds as he recovers from his horrific injuries to track down and take revenge on those who abandoned him. Apart from being a terrific yarn, the historic detail is fascinating and educational. ...more
An entertaining thriller that has been justly compared to Gone Girl. A successful woman befriends a homeless girl with a baby. Related from the perspeAn entertaining thriller that has been justly compared to Gone Girl. A successful woman befriends a homeless girl with a baby. Related from the perspectives of the girl, the woman, her husband and their teenage daughter, the author slowly unveils a thrilling and suspenseful story that eventually reveals why the girl is homeless and why the woman took her in. The tension and twists make it a page turner and the ending is quite unexpected. Recommended for sheer entertainment and ease of reading - a great holiday read, or perfect for a long journey. ...more
I enjoyed reading this book for the evocative prose and descriptions of place, but the story didn't engage me. I felt the success of the book dependsI enjoyed reading this book for the evocative prose and descriptions of place, but the story didn't engage me. I felt the success of the book depends on your level of empathy for the central character, who has given up her beloved England to emigrate to Australia with her husband and children. I found her very selfish and ultimately felt that her issues in coming to grips with Australia and her young family were self-imposed. It seemed that even before she left England, she made up her mind not to like Australia and nothing was going to change that mindset. I especially disliked her for betraying her husband and her total lack of wanting to make things work. As we wallowed in the central character's issues, many other interesting aspects were understated, especially the mixed ethnicity of her husband and the adjustment of the children. Overall, to enjoy a book, you don't necessarily have to relate to, or like, the characters. This is one such book for me....more
This is the story of two brothers, who meet over dinner with their partners, to discuss "something bad" their teenage sons have done together. It poseThis is the story of two brothers, who meet over dinner with their partners, to discuss "something bad" their teenage sons have done together. It poses the question of how far parents are prepared to go to protect their children, even in the face of overwhelming moral and ethical wrong. The book builds through the various courses of the meal to the climax, when the "issue" is confronted. It's an interesting book that never rose to any great heights for me. The premise and the tension kept me engaged and there was a little surprise in the ending....more
It's been a while since I've read any Tom Keneally and this one gave me an appetite to read more. The man writes so well. He knows how to grip you inIt's been a while since I've read any Tom Keneally and this one gave me an appetite to read more. The man writes so well. He knows how to grip you in a story and hold you until the end. He knows how to take contemporary themes and expose them in a manner that leaves your thoughts buzzing. And he knows how to create rich and complex characters. This book is about sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy. Without any over-dramatization, it not only tells the story of victims of abuse, but also the victims of the politics of the church. Yet this is not a book that gets lost in the beauty of literature, it is a solid story, with a stunning conclusion that is hard to predict. I wouldn't call it disturbing, because there were no surprises for me in how the church and the victims interact, but it definitely worried me for having confirmed several viewpoints. What makes this a particularly good story is the realisation that given his personal experience with the church, there is little the author needed to make up. Recommended. ...more
This was an unusual book, that because of its complexity, required a high level of concentration to follow, but was rewarding nonetheless. The authorThis was an unusual book, that because of its complexity, required a high level of concentration to follow, but was rewarding nonetheless. The author had researched her characters and situations thoroughly and it showed in the atmosphere and richness of her narrative. It brings together a wide range of times, places and people, each of which is connected to one character, a mother who decides to leave her husband and children behind on an isolated West Australian farm to pursue freedom with an itinerant. In this however is my only criticism - the inconsistency in the chronology made it really hard to follow, so instead of relaxing, it was an intense read. I felt the author described rural West Australian very well (as only one who has lived there would know it). Similarly, rural USA, which whilst on the other side of the world, was similarly isolated and challenging. I didn't find it a neat book - in that the stories and characters didn't develop and come together smoothly - and it certainly conflicted with my plan for 2016 to only read books with good pace, a defined plot and a well constructed climax. In a phrase - strange, but good....more
Whilst the book is sub-titled as "Harold Fry #2" it is neither a sequel nor prequel to the original story. Instead, it relates a parallel story that eWhilst the book is sub-titled as "Harold Fry #2" it is neither a sequel nor prequel to the original story. Instead, it relates a parallel story that explains who Queenie Hennessy is and why in the first book, Harold Fry walked across the country to see her. Queenie is in the final stages of her life in a hospice and this book is her confession to Harold Fry that maps their relationship and why they were destined to be reunited. It is not a classic love story, even though the confession relates the love that Queenie had for Harold. Much of the charm is in the ordinariness of the characters and situations, proving that beautifully rendered stories of ordinary things can be more affecting than the creative and extreme. The book is beautifully written, tender, emotionally engaging and with a fair serving of wry humour. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I feel you need to have read the first book to understand the context.