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Waratah House

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  26 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In the tradition of Downtown Abbey comes a vivid story of life in the servant's quarters.

Waratah House, a beautiful mansion in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, is the only home Marina has ever known. Orphaned at a young age, Marina finds a new family in the colourful characters that occupy the bustling servants' quarters of this stately house.

But not every reside
...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published July 2nd 2012 by Michael Joseph (Penguin Australia)
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(showing 1-50)
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Bree T
Marina lost both her parents on the passage over to Australia from England to a virulent illness that she recovered from. Although taken in by a kindly man who had lost his son, Marina then finds herself on the outer with the man’s wife, the recalcitrant Sarah who makes no secret of the fact that she considers Marina a burden she’d rather not have. After they dock in Sydney and tragedy finds her again, Sarah comes to resent Marina even more as they take their places working at the grand old home ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Waratah House is an engaging historical drama spanning the turn of the 20th century in colonial Australia. Set in the southern Highlands of New South Wales, amongst the servants of the household, Whitehead has created a story that explores tragedy repeating itself from one generation to the next and the strength it takes to rewrite one's destiny.
In the first quarter of the novel we are introduced to Marina whose short life is dogged by superstition and misfortune. My sympathies lay squarely wit
...more
Lauren K
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Set in early Australia, Waratah House is an appealing historical story of the intergenerational issues and dramas arising in the servant’s quarter of this regal home.

As a young child, Marina had loving parents who set sail to Australia to start a new life, but illness spreads throughout the ship leaving her orphaned and outcasted. The superstitious passengers fear Marina, the first to fall ill on the voyage, brought the sickness and therefore evil, she was branded with a curse. Though Marina do
...more
Belinda Williams
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 stars:

I’m all for a good period drama and Waratah House certainly delivers on this level. The world of Australia in the late 1800’s is interwoven elegantly into the story, with the effect being that you are immersed in the period effortlessly. Whether it’s enduring the hardships of the journey from England to Australia, or treading the streets of Sydney’s Rocks area as an unwed pregnant woman searching for work, Whitehead demonstrates she’s a historical author of clout, and comparisons with
...more
Kathy
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This Australian novel, Waratah House, set in colonial Australia is a story, for me, filled with drama, upsets and tragedy which seems to follow down the generations. It certainly relates to how hard life was back then and although I did enjoy the story, I found it just a nice, easy read. Ann Whitehead is a good writer who can set the scene quite well – and you can easily imagine yourself in that era through her descriptions. There was only one loose end I would have liked tied up and that was Em ...more
Paula Clark
Very Downtown Abbeyish, although set in Australia. I enjoyed the story, however I did find that it became a little too over-the-top and I found myself thinking that the revenge side of things was just getting too much. Personally I think I would have liked to have seen Emily's father return as the new owner of Waratah House and she take up her rightful position alongside him - she then would finally have the upper hand on Sarah.
Gemma
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it
An unsettling read, for all that it's well written. For that very reason, I would have loved an epilogue to lighten up the ending. Cliched, yes, but I'm funny like that ;-)
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Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
is was a great story of early Australia
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Anne Whitehead, author and historian, was born in Sydney but spent much of her childhood in England and Papua-New Guinea. Because of a peripatetic engineer father, she was educated at eleven schools, including Lincolnshire and Yorkshire villages, the PNG highland goldfields and coastal town of Lae, and boarding schools in Charters Towers and the Queensland Gold Coast. In 1972 she graduated from th ...more
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