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Group Reads > Outback Part III SPOILERS

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message 1: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
I'm just starting this section. Be back later.


message 2: by Jill (new)

Jill I've finished when anyone else wants to talk about it.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

This one took me much longer to figure out what was going on when the section started. The whole train thing threw me for a couple of pages.


message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill I know what you mean, Michele. Another next gen leap. I really liked this book. Very well-written, interesting. But I really, really wanted to know more about some of the characters. Great chunks are missing from their lives. And poor Colin (the elder). He was just a shadow, a puff of smoke. As mentioned before, just there to provide the sperm for the next gen.

And Sheila. She's dead in Part III. I wanted to know more about her especially.

Your thoughts?


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Jill wrote: "I know what you mean, Michele. Another next gen leap. I really liked this book. Very well-written, interesting. But I really, really wanted to know more about some of the characters. Great chunks a..."

I enjoyed the book, for certain. I'd like to know more about Sheila, especially (how did she die?). Again, I'm confused about their ages. I thought Sheila's son was born while she was fairly young (teens/early 20s?)...so if he is 30-ish in Part III, wouldn't she have been young when she died? I think it's mentioned that Elizabeth in Part III is only in her 50s, but that she looks much older.

Regardless, I for one am fully intend to read the rest of the series!


message 6: by Jill (new)

Jill Sheila was for me if not the most, certainly one of the most interesting characters in this book. It is unfortunate that the author didn't do her justice by writing a bit more on her. Like you said, how she died, etc.

In many ways I can tell this was a male author. Men tend to skip the details that women find so fascinating. I don't know if you find that, Michele. In fact all my favourite authors are female. I guess that's why I LOVE Diana Gabaldon's writing. She writes detail, not just headlines.

Yes, I'm wanting to read the next book as well. Did you enjoy the Australian setting? I did. And I think this is just one of a handful of books that I've actually read that are set here. Do you read many set in Alaska? Or do you not find that setting interesting enough since you live there?


message 7: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Michele wrote: "This one took me much longer to figure out what was going on when the section started. The whole train thing threw me for a couple of pages."

OK, I've twenty pages left so I can safely jump in without getting too spoiled. The train thing threw me as well and I was hopelessly lost until I recalled a James from before.

I think Jill has valid points about things a female author might have fleshed out better. The age thing is bugging again - why is Elizabeth being described as such an old old woman? If her children are barely in their early twenties she can't be that decripit.

I enjoyed the setting and story (just wanted more of it) and I'll be continuing the series - although for once I'm not chomping at the bit to start the next.

Jill, books with Northwest/Alaska settings are hard to find - at least I haven't come across that many and I lap them up like a cat with cream when I do.


message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Yes, Misfit the age thing was an issue for me here as well. I'm guessing that Elizabeth is in her 50's. No way is she going to be as old and aged as described. I think Mr Fletcher could have done with a better editor/beta reader - preferably female.

How about you Misfit? Did you find the setting interesting? Have you read other books set here? And how do you feel about books set in Washington? Are there that many?


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I loved the setting. It's no Thorn Birds, but I'm willing to keep going.

Jill - I was raised up in Alaska and Misfit is right...there's not much written with a setting up there (all that cold and ice is boring, I guess). I don't know, to be honest, if I'd be interested in reading nothing but whale blubber and polar bears and the Pipe Line, ha ha. I live down in Washington, not too far from Misfit, now and I'm much more interested in Pacific Northwest novels.

What about you? Does it interest you reading a novel set where you are from? Or is Australia geographically diverse enough for the outback as it is described in the novel to interest you?


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

ps...I think it said towards the end that Elizabeth was in her 50s, but looked much much older. Or am I imagining things again, lol?


message 11: by Jill (new)

Jill Michele wrote: "I loved the setting. It's no Thorn Birds, but I'm willing to keep going.

Jill - I was raised up in Alaska and Misfit is right...there's not much written with a setting up there (all that cold and..."


Actually I did find 'Outback' interesting as a setting. Especially as the way of life as described is so very different to what I see everyday when I walk out the front door. So it certainly kept my interest.

Having said that, I'm not real keen on Australian settings for contemporary. Or for that matter, 'The Thorn Birds' that you mentioned. I guess I really enjoy settings mainly away from home, as I see them as more exotic. I have a real fascination, as Misfit knows for the American western romance historicals.

I might have a look again about Elizabeth. I don't recall that she looked older than she was. But I could be wrong. Even so, I think that Fletcher's depictions of the characters when older, just TOO old, even if they had not aged gracefully.


message 12: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Michele wrote: "ps...I think it said towards the end that Elizabeth was in her 50s, but looked much much older. Or am I imagining things again, lol?"

No, you are right. I just finished and that was mentioned after my comment bitching about her age.

Stuff on Alaska is hard to find that might be interesting. That said, I have one coming called Glory by Janice Young Brooks (I've read two of her's now and really liked them) set in the Yukon during the Gold Rush. Can't find much online about it, so I'm anxious to get my hands on it and get a blurb and jacket.

Jill needs to come and see the "old west" for herself. You would probably love Old Tuscon (an old movie park). Better yet, check this out, bodie.com

The best ghost town I have ever been to. You can walk for hours just peering into windows and see all the rotting wall paper, draperies and furniture. Like everyone left at once.

Pacific Northwest settings are hard to find, and I'd have a hard time swallowing a contemporary setting. Unless the author is well versed in the area they can really screw things up like they in in Sleepless in Seattle. You would have to be an athlete beyond par to row a boat from the eastside of Lake Union, through the locks (how many hours would that take anyway?) all the way across Elliott bay whilst dodging container ships and ferries to land safely on Alki point.

Not gonna happen.


message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill Misfit wrote: "Michele wrote: "ps...I think it said towards the end that Elizabeth was in her 50s, but looked much much older. Or am I imagining things again, lol?"

No, you are right. I just finished and that..."


I actually have read a couple of books set in Alaska, although the titles elude me. I have a feeling one of Maggie Osborne's was set there. (Maybe 'I do, I do, I do'). Misfit hasn't read too much Maggie O.

I would love to see the old west. But it's all about time and money. And I have checked out bodie.com. It's funny how places/times/settings in history seem to fascinate. I can't see what the fuss is with the whole gilded-age/New York thing.

So 'Sleepless in Seattle' has some holes in it? I only watched it once. I'm not a big Meg Ryan fan.

Did anyone else notice in 'Outback' how the female characters far outshone the males? Even Pat was eclipsed at the end there, I think, by Mayrah.


message 14: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Jill, I think Maggie O is one author we go sideways on, but there's only one I've tried. She lost me when she had her characters go west towards Denver from the mountains (it would be east).

Sleepless has some holes in it yes, but that's Hollywood for you. Don't even get me started on Thelma and Louise. If you know the geography of the places things were filmed at you'd go crazy.

And no, they did not drive off of the Grand Canyon. That was in Canyonlands NP in Eastern Utah.

Bodie is cool, especially the graveyard. Silverton Colorado has a cool graveyard as well. Yes, I'd love to have the money to travel more. I've got the airmiles and hotel points but still there's more expense involved than just that (Hawaii cost me a bundle even after cashing in miles and Hilton points).


message 15: by Jill (new)

Jill I really wish you could give Maggie O another try, Misfit. She is one of my top three favourite historical western authors. Though I guess like me you just don't need to add to your tbr pile.

One day I am going to visit the U.S.A. I'd love to see all those places I've read about. I'm not much into Disneyland/Vegas or that type of stuff, but I'd love to see your 'Outback'. Hopefully before I'm too old to endure the 24 hour flight.


message 16: by Misfit (last edited Nov 03, 2010 05:57PM) (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Jill, I'm ashamed to admit it but I've never been to anything Disney. I'd love to but I loathe crowds. Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Northern California plus Oregon and Washington that's another story.

The California Gold country along Highway 49 is very very cool. http://www.historichwy49.com/ (wines are pretty good too)

I stayed at a B&B in Placerville CA that was the model for Thomas Kinkade's Victorian Christmas 1.



You would love the train trips you can take, especially in Colorado. Top of Pikes Peak, The Durango Silverton and the Cumbres Toltec to name three.


message 17: by Jill (new)

Jill Oh, don't be ashamed to admit you haven't been to Disneyland. (I kind of think it is the height of crass). Apologies to anyone reading this that loves Disneyland, etc but I am not a fan. And like you Misfit I loathe crowds. I even admit to doing my weekly groceries at 7.00am just to avoid the crowds at the supermarket.

Oh my goodness. Thanks for that link, Misfit. Very mouth-watering. And that goes for the wines as well. And is that picture really like the B&B where you stayed? That is gorgeous. Actually train trips are my favourite. My Dad was a big enthusiast when he was alive and I took him on a few. I've yet to go on 'The Ghan' here though.

You've really got my enthusiasm stoked, Misfit!
*furiously counting her pennies*


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Jill if you ever get out this way, Misfit and I would definitely organize an old west road trip for you. I went to college in Montana and have driven through the Badlands too many times to count. And I know what you mean about faraway places seeming more exotic than what's out your front door. I think that's why whenever I have vacation time, I head across the Atlantic.

My brother has been bugging me for years to take him down to Australia (I've only been as close as New Zealand) and I keep promising him soon. But I told him it would have to wait till I read more HF about the continent so I know in advance what I'd like to see, lol. I just can't stomach the thought of such a long flight just because I think kangaroos are cute. ha. I actually have a yen to take a train north across the country. Don't know what I think I'm going to see, but like Misfit, I have a thing for trains and I think it would be cool to travel across Australia in a train.


message 19: by Misfit (last edited Nov 03, 2010 06:52PM) (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Jill, the B&B exactly like the painting. I will have to hunt down the website for you but not tonight, it is almost bedtime :P

Trains are awesome and Cumbres Toltec is one of my fav's (along with going to the top of Pikes Peak). Trivia, the Cumbres Toltec is in one of the Indiana Jones movies (whichever one it is that opens with a train). It was so cool, the entire way when we passed motorists we were always getting waved at. My face was filthy with soot and my eyes were burning but I didn't care.


message 20: by Jill (last edited Nov 03, 2010 07:04PM) (new)

Jill Michele wrote: "Jill if you ever get out this way, Misfit and I would definitely organize an old west road trip for you. I went to college in Montana and have driven through the Badlands too many times to count. ..."

@ Michele
That sounds great. Just like in 'Thelma and Louise + 1'.
Another train traveller enthusiast. Keeps getting better. There is no rail across the top end of Australia, Michele. The country is too rugged, I think. Plus there is a lot of protected rainforest. And the cost would be too great, especially since it would serve only for tourists.The trip across the Nullarbor (virtually east to west) or The Ghan (from south to north) and the east coast are all good.
When you and Misfit decide to come down let me know.

@ Misfit
Here I was thinking I was the only female who enjoys train trips. I am going to have to seriously rethink my trip to the U.S.A. Sooner rather than later.


message 21: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Jill, there is Amtrak and there is scenic trains. You would love them and Colorado is filled with them. Here's the Wik entry on the Kinkade house, but I'm off for bed so that's all you'll get, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combella...


message 22: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod



message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Ah yes, Jill, that is exactly what I meant but communicated so poorly: south to north....off to google The Ghan!


message 24: by Jill (new)

Jill Could one of you guys please confirm that the next book in this saga is 'Outback Station'? There is a book listed at Fantastic Fiction 'Outback II'. I went to order it last night but thought I'd better get confirmation first.


message 25: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Jill, I think this is it, http://www.goodreads.com/series/52606...

PS, I'm at work and really have to work but I just recalled you might like to watch a little western adventure. Go to You Tube and look at the videos of Black Bear Pass in Colorado. No, I never did that one. No way no how.


message 26: by Jill (new)

Jill Misfit wrote: "Jill, I think this is it, http://www.goodreads.com/series/52606...

PS, I'm at work and really have to work but I just recalled you might like to watch a little western adventure. Go to..."


I love the videos of Black Bear Pass. What an adventure!
I never would have taken you for a chicken, Misfit.


message 27: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Jill, I don't mind a little adventure but Black Bear is a bit too much for me, professional driver or not.


message 28: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Jill, trains are a gas, especially the older historic ones. I love standing on an open carriage (whatever the hell they're called) and getting the soot in my eyes from the coal.

Trivia on the two I mentioned. The Silverton Durango was used during the shooting of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Cumbres Toltec can be spotted in one of the Indiana Jones movies (forget which one, but it was the opening scenes).

Arizona has a cool one up west of Sedona. There's also one in Northern CA up north of Mendocino, never took that one, nor the one by Mount Rainier.

Ah, one more I loved. cograilway.com

A very different railroad, as it goes up and up to the top of Pikes Peak (14,000'). I believe the cogs are little "teeth" or something that keep the railcars firmly attached to the track.


message 29: by Jill (new)

Jill Misfit I had no idea you were an enthusiast like me until this thread. For me, trains are the only way to travel. You can see so much countryside and I just love the rocking, even on the smooth electric trains.

I don't have a great deal of love for the open cars though - soot in the eyes and all. I travelled through India on trains and most of them were steam. After the first few thousand miles the love affair with the soot, grew into resentment. Had to have the windows down for 'fresh' air - no air con.

I think that was the third Indiana Jones movie, with River Phoenix as IJ as a young 'un. That was a great scene, great movie actually.

You have to stop this, Misfit. My mouth is watering with all this train travel talk.


message 30: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Ok Jill I'll knock it off. Maybe.

BTW, I live just close enough to the rail lines through the Kent valley that it's an enjoyable background noise without getting clobbered by being right next to it. I love it. I have ridden Amtrak once to the Portland area with a group. That was a lot of fun.

The Cumbres Toltec



It's a good thing this is a smallish group. We are getting terribly OT at the moment. I may have to moderate myself :p


message 31: by Jill (new)

Jill Misfit wrote: "Ok Jill I'll knock it off. Maybe.

BTW, I live just close enough to the rail lines through the Kent valley that it's an enjoyable background noise without getting clobbered by being right next to..."


True we are getting a little OT. But. When I was a kid we lived right next to the railway line in my town - maybe five houses down. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with my enthusiasm for rail, but I still remember and love the sound of the trains in the night.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Took the kidlets on the Mt Rainier steam railway a couple of months ago. Think I loved it more than the kids, despite that top speed was 18 MPH, ha ha ha.

Jill, the trains through India must have been AMAZING....am so jealous.

We're actually planning a train trip this spring for April....from Budapest to Istanbul because I've always wanted to travel through the Carpathians via train. I am so excited. Husband is "meh" about it all, but it's MY trip so he just has to shut up and hang on.


message 33: by Jill (new)

Jill Michele wrote: "Took the kidlets on the Mt Rainier steam railway a couple of months ago. Think I loved it more than the kids, despite that top speed was 18 MPH, ha ha ha.

Jill, the trains through India must have..."


Michele, I loved the whole India experience. Went on many, many trains also through South-East Asia. The whole different culture/s and the train travel was fabulous.

Now it's my turn to be jealous. Budapest to Istanbul sounds great. I really want to do the Canadian one as well. By the way, you should leave hubby at home and take Misfit with you. At least she would appreciate it.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Jill wrote: "Michele wrote: "Took the kidlets on the Mt Rainier steam railway a couple of months ago. Think I loved it more than the kids, despite that top speed was 18 MPH, ha ha ha.

Jill, the trains through..."


LOL - you're right. Actually, I was trying to look up my pass benefits to see if I could get any kind of a decent deal for Misfit to Australia on United....still looking..... :)


message 35: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
I think my days of cheap air travel are long over. Once I turned 18 I lost rights to Dad's cheapies from Northwest Orient. And yes, it was still called NO back then.


message 36: by Marg (new)

Marg (margreads) | 128 comments So I just finished and despite my comments in other threads about the characterisations, I did actually really enjoy it! The characterisation were at times two dimensional, and at other times lazy.

I definitely want to find out more about Alice and James too!

You can definitely tell that this is a male author writing this book, by what he left out more than anything else! I would have loved to find out how Sheila died.

In terms of the age of the characters, I think that it needs to be remembered that life expectancy was a lot shorter then, and it is still shorter in the outback. It was also very definitely a tough life, and when you add into the factors the harsh climate, then it makes sense that Elizabeth would have looked older than many of the 50 year olds we see around today.

I did find myself wishing that there were more dates mentioned so that we could get a better idea of time frames etc. For example, the beginning of the last section must have been set in 1888 as that is when the train line from Adelaide was completed.

It was interesting seeing the mentions of SAR (South Australian Railways) and towns like Peterborough. My parents both worked for the railways and my ex stepfather's brother in law worked in Peterborough for many years and we visited them there a few times.

As a consequence of my mum and ex stepfather working for the railways, we had free rail travel for a long time, and so have done the train trip across the Nullarbor quite a few times. I haven't done the trip for a long time now. The last time, I caught the train from Adelaide to Perth, and then flew back, and I have flown ever since. I think that is more to do with the fact that we had always done the trip sit up though, and 36 hours or more in a carriage is a bit much to take. I do like the idea of doing the Ghan trip, in sleeper carriages, though, but train travel is very expensive here these days.


message 37: by Carey (new)

Carey (thetometraveller) | 109 comments You are all making me want to pack my bags! I grew up in Albuquerque NM and have been on the Cumbres & Toltec...it was years ago but it was so cool. The train is my hands down favorite mode of transportation, too! And always my top choice when traveling abroad, such a great way to see everything...especially in GB where I would be a hazard learning to drive on the opposite side.

Oh Michele, you lucky girl! What a fantastic trip! I'm gonna talk your ear off about it on Saturday.

We're just gonna have to all go down to visit Marg...between Michele and I we ought to be able to find some decent pass deals. I have a friend who lived in Australia for several years. She says that there is a version of just about everything that can kill you down there...snakes, insects, fish, even a type of tree. But I still want to go!

Just finished Outback, so much slower than the rest of you! I really thought that Part I was waaaayyyy too wordy, too much description. Liked the characters but was annoyed by the writing. It got better, I thought the rest was much improved. But I would have liked more character development, poor Colin in part two was barely a mention. It wasn't really his story but he could have been fleshed out some.

What the bloody blue blazes happened to Shelia? Too much description in Part One, serious lack in Part Three.

But I liked it and am looking forward to volume two!


message 38: by Marg (new)

Marg (margreads) | 128 comments I only just finished today too Carey.

I was a bit disappointed when I read the synopsis for the next book and realised that it doesn't follow on with Alice and James.


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Marg wrote: "I only just finished today too Carey.

I was a bit disappointed when I read the synopsis for the next book and realised that it doesn't follow on with Alice and James."


It doesn't???? What the heck is a saga if not a following of the family??


message 40: by Marg (new)

Marg (margreads) | 128 comments From what I can tell the main characters are different, but then they intersect with the characters from this book.


message 41: by Marg (new)

Marg (margreads) | 128 comments Carey wrote: "You are all making me want to pack my bags! I grew up in Albuquerque NM and have been on the Cumbres & Toltec...it was years ago but it was so cool. The train is my hands down favorite mode of tr..."

Come and visit! We could talk books for hours! lol


message 42: by Carey (new)

Carey (thetometraveller) | 109 comments Well this interesting! Marg is right, the next book is about a transported english convict. BUT it looks like it takes place during the time that Patrick and Mayrah were building up Wayamba. That's kinda cool.


message 43: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Carey wrote: "Well this interesting! Marg is right, the next book is about a transported english convict. BUT it looks like it takes place during the time that Patrick and Mayrah were building up Wayamba. Tha..."

That's what had me scratching my head reading the back jacket of book two, I couldn't figure out how they fit in with the family. I like this idea and might bump the book up a bit.


message 44: by Marg (new)

Marg (margreads) | 128 comments Carey wrote: "Well this interesting! Marg is right, the next book is about a transported english convict. BUT it looks like it takes place during the time that Patrick and Mayrah were building up Wayamba. Tha..."

You doubted moi?? ;- It looks like the whole series is llike this, and I presume that his New Zealand is too.


Did anyone ever end up finding anything out about the author?


message 45: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 478 comments Mod
Nah, I got no hits on HFO and I think Michele had little better luck either.


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

Misfit wrote: "Nah, I got no hits on HFO and I think Michele had little better luck either."

I got nuthin', despite my Google skills. Not even a bio.


message 47: by Marg (new)

Marg (margreads) | 128 comments Same here. It's a bit weird really given that the edition of Outback that I was reading was rereleased in 2007.


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