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Desire Lines

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  50 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Are you still a liar? The crafting of those five words, even without dispatch, left her chilled.

Arctic Circle, 2012. On a lightless day at the end of the polar winter, landscape architect Evie Waddell finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen mountain vault - insurance against catastrophe.

Molong, 1953. Catastrophe is all seven-year-old
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Hachette
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Gloria Arthur
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
Desire Lines is an epic story of love, politics, history and the lies you will tell to protect others. Its a thought provoking read and is set over five decades beginning in 1952.

A troubled & traumatised seven-year old boy Paddy OConnor is shipped from Nazareth House, a cruel institution in London to an Australian farm school.

Some years later as a teenager, Paddy meets Evie at a market in Leura, NSW and falls in love. Desire Lines tells the story of Evie and Paddy and their compulsive and
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When you lie to protect other people, its a good lie and you dont have to confess.

Desire Lines is the second novel by Australian author, Felicity Volk. Are you still a liar? What could lead to this spite-filled annual text, temporarily unsent, from an arctic ice cave? Almost sixty years earlier, the intended recipient was the seven-year-old son of a sadistic, vicious, controlling father and a helpless mother, living in the poorest parts of mid-twentieth century London; the sender, a botanists
Sharah McConville
Desire Lines is a wonderful but heartbreaking story set over many decades. The two main characters, Evie and Paddy come from completely different backgrounds but their lives become entwined. The secrets and lies that follow change both their lives forever. I thought this was a beautiful book and especially enjoyed the parts about native flora and architecture and found our brutal history regarding orphans very shocking. Thanks to Better Reading Preview for my ARC.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

'There was no right life and there was no wrong one either. There was just life. You did the best you could. You made the best decisions possible with what you knew at the time. It didnt mean you lived without regrets, but it was necessary to keep these in tolerable proportion, to be prepared to let them go after they had served their purpose.

Felicity Volk, an Australian author with a background in foreign policy, presents Desire Lines, which follows the
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I have read from this author, it is a compelling read that takes us across the seas from England to Australia and from 1952 to 2012, the story of a young boy Paddy who is sent away and what he does with his life, then there is a young girl Evie and their meeting as teenagers in the Blue Mountains and then a lifetime of love, ups and downs and what lies can do to people whether they are good lies or bad you decide.

Paddy OConnor is seven when he arrives at the farm
Theresa Smith
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww2020
This is one of those novels where my feelings are all different shades of grey rather than firmly black or white. There are so many parts of the story that I loved and just as many that I didnt. But when considered in its entirety, its a beautifully written story of love, landscape, and history. Its also a story of fate and consequence, and while I didnt necessarily like the two main characters Paddy and Evie all of the time, I was deeply invested in their journeys, both separately and ...more
Valerie Volk
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book from a polished and authoritative writer. 'Desire Lines' interweaves two stories, from childhood throughout life, against a background of a changing Australia. Volk involves us deeply in the lives of her two central characters, as their paths meet, part, meet and part again, in a series of criss-crossing lines which invoke the book's title. Paddy, who is brought to Australia as a 'Fairbridge Society' ward', and Evie, from an middle-class Canberra home, seem an ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Desire Lines by Felicity Volk

Are you still a liar great first line, made me grip the book a little tighter, intrigued. What a wonderful story of love at first sight, Volk captures this beautifully from Evies curiosity as to the maker of models at the market and Paddy deciding right at that time this was the girl for him.

I think Paddy had a skewed sense of love though and no wonder from what hed been through, so much sadness. The first few chapters relating to Paddys upbringing served to
Kylie Purdie
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was sent this by the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.

Desire Lines follows the stories of Evie, an Australian girl growing up in and around Canberra (my old home town!) and Paddy, an English boy sent to an Australian children's farm in the 1950's. Desire lines are those paths that we walk, that feel natural to us, even if they deviate from the paths formally laid down. That bit of worn grass between two points that deviates from the concrete path - that's a desire line. This book
Angie Bee
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Desire Lines by Felicity Volk is an interesting read, drawing you in from the first page. While in one aspect it is a sweeping family saga across generations, while simultaneously focusing on the day-to-day experiences of people in the emerging Australian nation.

I was drawn to the characters and places in this story because of my own experiences. Having grown up and lived in the vicinity for a number of years, I could clearly picture the Canberra suburbs, the developing parliamentary district,
Annie Gilholm rowland
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
There isn't much this beautifully crafted and constructed novel doesn't cover...
love, loss, mistakes, poverty, domestic violence, infidelity, choices, lies, regrets, forgiveness, intergenerational connection, landscapes, structures, politics across time and place(s).
Paddy and Evie invite us to consider the complexities of navigating life - born of worlds so inherently different, the randomness of how peoples lives intersect. What holds them? What shapes them? What shackles them and where does
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
My first thought when I picked up this book was Oh no. Not a back and forth book. Books that go back and forth in time can sometimes be confusing but luckily this wasnt one of those. It followed a story in a timely way and was easy to follow.
The story was of mainly two people who had such different lives; their lives came together, pulled apart and then came together yet again. It was an interesting story of family, hardships, love and loss.
The first part of the book set the scene for both
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this book and I can already see that I am in a minority. This is the sort of book that I love to read but I just felt like it was full of too much fluff and not enough of the story lines that piqued my interest. I liked the way the story was constructed with moving between the 2 characters and timelines, but I wanted more about Paddy and his UK family, the way that ended was so disappointing. I love Evies storyline with her grandmother but that also fell flat. This book explores ...more
Lee McKerracher
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Felicity Volk is a writer that grabs your attention from the moment your eyes hit the first sentence of Desire Lines. Her writing is smooth, engaging and draws you into her intertwined plots throughout the novel. I loved the way she took the two main characters, Evie and Paddy, and started to weave their separate lives together, drawing them close and then drawing them apart again, taunting the reader will they ever resolve their relationship, what will happen?

I was so drawn into Evie and her
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The two main characters, Paddy and Evie, were both likeable and believable. I could feel for them as they went through lifes ups and downs.
Paddy had a tough beginning to life, and grew up the hard way, while Evie had a much happier upbringing, but fate brought them together. The intertwining of their lives is very realistic, as we watch them grapple with competing obligations and needs. I could identify every step of the way.
This book is a breath of fresh air. It
Angelynn Gill
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever followed a well-worn pathway through the grass instead of the concrete path that youre supposed to be on? Thats what a desire line is, its the pathway people take instead of the trail designed to be followed. Sometimes people take a shortcut because of instinct, sometimes because its following others before them.
Thats the premise of this beautiful story of two people whose lives seem destined to be intertwined by the choices they make and the circumstances they have no control
Dominique Wilson
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed Desire Lines. This beautifully crafted novel explores the effects of childhood trauma, the lies and truths we tell ourselves and others, and the many facets of love.

Volk's prose is lyrical, and her characters are complex and believable, suggesting a writer that has a true appreciation of the human condition. I particularly liked the way Volk linked the names and attributes of various plants and trees to the history of the land and the emotions of her characters, so that
Susan DeLong
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would have given this book five stars if it hadnt been too overly descriptive for my taste and the story made me frustrated and miserable at the characters inability to express what they needed from each other.
There are two main characters who come from poles apart.

Evid grows up in the security of an intact family in the Canberra suburbs. Her father, a solicitor, wanted her to follow in his footsteps. But like most kids she followed her passion and became a famous landscaper.

Paddy comes from
gemsbooknook  Geramie Kate Barker
Arctic Circle, 2012. On a lightless day at the end of the polar winter, landscape architect Evie Waddell finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen mountain vault insurance against catastrophe.
Molong, 1953. Catastrophe is all seven-year-old Paddy OConnor has known. Shipped from institutional care in London to an Australian farm school, his world is a shadowy place where lies scaffold fragile truths and painful memories. To Paddys south in Canberra, young Evie is
Renee Tam
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Desire Lines isn't the type of book I would ordinarily be drawn too, so I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to preview this book as it forced me outside of my little bubble - and I really loved it.

Desire Lines is a story about two soles from inherently different walks of life and how the choices they made or had made for them by others, entwined their futures through a series of captivating meetings over time.

The story captures love, violence, lies, betrayal, social dynamics, and
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Volks writing is evocative and lyrical. Desire Lines opens with one of our protagonists, Evie, in the frozen tundra of Norway. Where the sun was preparing to heave itself over the horizon for the first time, I too was anticipating the first blush of its arrival. For those that like atmospheric reads, this would be a good winter read.

I enjoyed the writing, there are some lovely descriptive sentences used by the author and I love a book steeped in history. I knew of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Penne Davis
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Better Reading for an advanced copy of Desire Lines for my honest review. Felicity Volk has written an Australian masterpiece from the first line Are you still a liar?, this novel has it all, domestic violence, poverty, love, betrayal, the lies we tell ourselves, the lies we tell others & the happiness & trauma that results all at once. This beautifully written novel follows Evie & Paddy and the decades that they come together and fall apart, its an unconventional love ...more
Desire Lines

I'm not completely sure how I felt about this novel. Overall it was a good story, and the writing was very descriptive and emotive. The beginning third of the novel was very grim, and it pulled me down and made me wonder if there was any hope for Paddy. There were a few scenes that whacked me in the chest and I had to put the book down to deal with my emotions.

The story deals with a lifetime love between Paddy and Evie, at times it is not a positive situation for either of them, at
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Desire Lines is a well crafted masterpiece rich in the workings of humanity and steeped in Australias history. Volk has written a moving story that not only covers the history of Paddy & Evies relationship but the history of our nation. She has expertly intertwined the two and shown the effect one has had on the other while also showing how the same events are seen differently by the different parties involved. There are not many issues from Australias history in the past 50 years that have ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I will not follow where the path may lead,
But I will go where there is no path,
and I will leave a trail
Muriel Storde
Desire Lines is a powerful and beautifully crafted love story that explores the human condition, the lies we tell and how the truth lasts forever, written by the very talented Felicity Volk. The book looks at the family dynamics in an ever-changing world, a love story that spans over 50 years, the heartbreak, heart warmth and the ability to just survive. Paddy and Evie have an
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Felicity Volks Desire Lines is one to savour. The storyline follows two different characters on their life trajectories set against a stunning Australian backdrop. The alternating narratives are beautifully written and evoke lots of emotions on behalf of the reader. The images portrayed by Volks skilful use literary devices are nothing short of brilliant. Complex and compelling, Desire Lines is a wonderfully crafted delight to read. Thanks again Better Reading Preview for the advanced copy, and ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Desire Lines is full of the ups and downs in life and love, and is made rich by the vast topics covered, including botany, science, theology, poetry, Latin, law, politics, and Australias modern history. What I love about this book is Volks writing style, it was easy to read and the words and original similes throughout created vivid imagery that drew me into Evie and Paddys worlds. What I didnt like was that this story started to become too political. I enjoyed this book and would recommend ...more
Vivi Widodo
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are two characters in this story, Paddy and Evie. The author wrote that each chapter is belong to one of them. A pretty slow story as these two characters are finally meet each other not until by half of the book. Before that, i keep wondering where this story is going??? I was abit annoyed at first. Once these two characters met, it starts becoming an addictive reading.
Felicity, you developed Paddy and Evie characters amazingly, until you let me fall in between love and hate for each of
Anna Loder
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an epic novel! Incredible characters, I got to know not only Evie and Paddy but Charlie, Rusty, Russ and Rod. Watching people grow from children to 60 year old, for me it was a study in humanity. Major Australian events and people are here, but viewed through the characters. The idea of building and creating as well as love and truth. Its a hard book to review, there was so much happening. ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the first page I realised that Desire Lines was a novel that deserves a slow and careful read. I took my time, allowing myself to be captured by the words and the story itself.
In 1962 two teenagers meet. For the next fifty odd years, their lives converge and entwine, full of love and desire, and lies.
To a backdrop of Canberras growth, architectural and landscape, Paddy and Evie live their lives, both together and apart.
The writing is rich, the characters complex. I was thoroughly
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