Shelleyrae at Book'd Out's Reviews > A Stranger in My Street

A Stranger in My Street by Deborah Burrows
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Jun 01, 12

bookshelves: arc-are, aussie-author, provided-by-publisher
Read on May 31, 2012 — I own a copy

A Stranger in My Street is an enjoyable novel that blends mystery, romance and wartime history. It is a hot summer evening in 1943 when Meg Eaton and Captain Tom Legrange discover the body of Mrs Doreen Luca in an air raid shelter. It is assumed her husband, home on leave, one of 'those' passionate Italians, stabbed her in a fit of jealousy and rage but neither Meg nor Tom are so sure. Despite their awkward relationship, the pair are caught up in a desire to solve the mystery of her death which leads them from Meg's quiet suburban neighborhood to the dance halls of Perth amongst the rowdy American servicemen.

Though A Stranger in My Street has a mystery at its core, it is more than a simple who-dunnit. Burrows has created a novel rich with history, romance and interesting themes. The novel is well paced and
the characters are appealing.
A twenty one year old stenographer who lives with her widowed mother and sister, Meg Eaton lost her lover in combat and has been grieving for the last eighteen months. The unexpected appearance of Captain Tom Legrange, her boyfriends older brother, and the discovery of her murdered neighbour is the catalyst for Meg's recovery. Meg is sweetly naive, which is typical of the time, yet has a steady core of intelligence and resilience that gives her character depth.
The former Rhodes Scholar, member of Perth's social elite and older brother of Meg's deceased lover, Captain Tom Legrange is an enigmatic character haunted by his POW experiences, painful wounds and secrets he struggles to hide. Despite his engagement to a society darling, he is drawn to Meg's optimism and innocence which contrasts with his own tortured darkness.
The mutual attraction that develops between Meg and Tom is complicated not only by their connection to Peter but by their individual circumstances, they are opposites in social status, and worldly experience. The romance is built up slowly over the course of the novel but is contained within the story so that it doesn't overwhelm the plot.
World War II had a significant impact on Australia, despite being far from the front lines. The usual privations of wartime such as rationing, shortages and blackouts were in effect, women were pressed into employment in greater numbers, Germans, Italians and Japanese were interred in camps as 'enemy aliens' while hundreds of thousands of men went to war and never returned, and those that did were often badly injured and suffering shock. For some, particularly those in capital cities like Perth the general deprivations of war were mitigated by the presence of thousands of American servicemen, who introduced economic and social change. Burrows integrates the social and cultural circumstances of the period seamlessly into the novel with vivid and authentic detail.
I particularly enjoyed the setting for this novel, largely because of my familiarity with the city of Perth. Meg strolls through the Stirling Gardens, passes The Swan Brewery and gazes out across the Swan River and though it has been more than twenty years since I was last there, images of the landmarks mentioned flashed through my mind. I admit to knowing little about the city during wartime though and was impressed with how Burrows captured the atmosphere of the period with interesting details.

A Stranger in My Street is an entertaining debut from Australian novelist Deborah Burrows that is sure to appeal to a wide audience

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Lauredhel Thank you so much for all of your AWWC reviews - I'm finding heaps of books to read that I would never have picked up otherwise. I'm really enjoying your series.


Shelleyrae at Book'd Out Lauredhel wrote: "Thank you so much for all of your AWWC reviews - I'm finding heaps of books to read that I would never have picked up otherwise. I'm really enjoying your series."

Thanks! I am glad that you are finding some great new reads and I really appreciate your kind words :)


message 3: by Denise (new)

Denise Another great review, Shelleyrae. Congratulations on reading and reviewing 50 books for the AWW Challenge. As you say, you're halfway to your goal and it's only the beginning of June!


Shelleyrae at Book'd Out Denise wrote: "Another great review, Shelleyrae. Congratulations on reading and reviewing 50 books for the AWW Challenge. As you say, you're halfway to your goal and it's only the beginning of June!"

Thanks Denise


message 5: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Sharp I like the sound of this novel; it appeals to me because of its believability, and interesting plot.

As usual, your reviews get to the heart of the work and provide us with insights as to its potential for our enjoyment. Thank you.:)


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