Travel ‘Down Under’ to the country of some fab fiction…

AUSTRALIA-BLOG

The Sun in Her Eyes

Paige Toon

Adelaide

A journey which takes a woman from London to Australia in search of the truth about what really did happen when she was three and her mother was killed in a car crash

SUNDespite the sun and warmth of Australia however, it’s during the dark moments where Amber really has to deal with. There are difficult decisions to be made – far from where ‘home’ is at the moment but then is home not where  the heart is according to the saying?

Returning home after many years away can leave you with more problems that it solves. You can feel a stranger in your own country and in your own life.

Stephanie Bishop

The Other Side of the World

Perth

1960s – Moving from Cambridge, England to Perth Australia is a move between cities, climate and cultures. But problems have a way of making the same journey..

Charlotte struggles to remember who she was before she had a family. She loves her other sidechildren and husband Robert but has forgotten what it is to be Charlotte – not just a mother and wife but Charlotte, who loves to paint.

Robert is also unhappy as when a chance to move to Australia comes his way, he grasps at this new opportunity of a a fresh start. Charlotte is too tired to argue and so their journey to the other side of the world begins..

Perth their new home is not paradise however as a new city,a new setting reveals the cracks and weaknesses life in Cambridge never did. Charlotte wonders if there is anywhere she will feel at home.

The Chocolate Apothecary

Josephine Moon

Tasmania

A Chocolate Shop in Evandale Tasmania? Chocolate tasting and cooking in France? CHOCOYou can practically eat this novel!

Evandale is a small town in Tasmania which really does exist yet sadly there is not (yet) a chocolate apothecary as featured in this novel. It is so real and vivid that you really expect it to exist and as you lick your fingers from the chocolate you’d had to buy to read this novel, you wonder why it doesn’t.

Silver trays weighed down with mugs of hot chocolate, mochas and pots of tea, apple pie and cream, chocolate fondants, chocolate-coated raspberries, chocolate brownies and pralines….

When you’re finished with Australian set books then why not head off somewhere else? The world of books is a big place and the possibilities of discovering something and someone new are never ending!

Pack your case now!

Australia Day in Books

As the booktrail mantra is to discover locations and countries via #booktravel then what better on Australia Day than to capture the essence of the country via its fiction –

Let’s travel with Kate Morton, Tim Winton, ML Stedman and many more…

and see their Australia….

Brisbane -and Tamborine Mountain Kate Morton New South Wales - Kate Grenville Leeuwin Lighthouse - inspiration for Janus Rock in ML Stedman's book Perth - where Tim Winton  is our guide The Rock - set near to Mount Macedon
Brisbane -and Tamborine Mountain Kate Morton
New South Wales – Kate Grenville
Leeuwin Lighthouse – inspiration for Janus Rock in ML Stedman’s book
Perth – where Tim Winton is our guide
The Picnic at Hanging Rock – set near to Mount Macedon

Brisbane –

forgotten garden

Kate Morton takes us to Brisbane in the Forgotten Garden, a tale of a lost little girl abandoned on a ship to  Australia,  a missing writer known as the authoress and the secrets of an aristocratic family – all interwoven to provide a magical tale of hidden secrets and a mystery that has endured across the decades.

Within this book there is a book of fairytales which comes alive and which holds a special memory linking time and place – Cassandra remembers reading her stories on a hot Brisbane day. It’s these stories that transport you in this novel – to Cornwall and to the magic of writing, but it all starts in Brisbane…..

After crossing the Brisbane river,they bypassed the centre of town and drove through Paddington with its corrugated-iron toadstools cut into the hills

Nell lived in  ‘a wooden house on the hillside, with its peeling lemon-paint and overgrown garden, the neighbourhood cats that followed her everywhere…

Tamborine Mountain –

secret keeper

Granted there may not be much of the novel set in Australia but it is the backstory of one of the characters where we are taken back to the wonders of tambourine mountain where both she and the author herself grew up that really capture the imagination –

This is a story of wartime secrets and one secret in particular that has endured for decades that finally starts to unravel many years later.

Whipbirds cheered overhead, insects burred, the waterfall in Dead Man’s Gully chipped and chattered. Fragments of light and color jittered as she ran, kaleidoscopic.

No one else knew it but the creek was magic.

Then Vivien discovers some lights    And that was when she had noticed then, several of them or orange and twinkly, blinking at her from the very bottom of the pool.

And that’s when Vivien had realized: there was a hold in her creek that ran all the way to the other side of the world.

Childhood notions of there being a tunnel from Australia to the other side of the world reawakened here….this is evocative writing at its finest!

New South Wales –

secret river

This is the journey of a family of Brits at the turn of the 19th century as they are deported to Australia for crimes committed by the man of the house -William Thornhill

They are taken to the  New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. As they try to make this part of the world their home, they are soon forced to realize that tough measures are needed to survive even if it means unsettling those who who already claim the land.

Enter the world of  early colonial Australia and get a sense of how difficult a life the early settlers had.

New South Wales had a life of its own now, beyond any intention that any man – the Governor, even the King himself- might have. It was a machine in which some men would be crushed up and spat out and others would rise to heights they had never dreamed of before.

Mount Macedon

picnic-at-hanging-rock

Deemed to be one of Australia’s classic and during mysteries, the picnic at Hanging Rock is set deep in the Australian bush at the isolated and imposing Hanging Rock. It’s 1900, and a class of young women from an exclusive private school go on an excursion but their trip ends in tragedy when three girls and a teacher mysteriously vanish after climbing the rock. Only one girl returns, with no memory of what has become of the others . . .

The Rock is the main character in the book and has a haunting and bulky presence. It is the scene of the crime but reveals nothing, it is the danger that surrounds the girls, its the sheer size and imposing beauty of the Australian outback that hides tragedy….

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

light

In the town of Point Partageuse, Australia during the 1920s, a light house keeper (Tom) and his wife (Isabel) find a life boat with a dead man and live baby in it wash up on their beach.

Isabel has suffered several miscarriages. Life is tough and lonely on Janus Rock. A baby would change things. Who would know if they passed the baby off as their own?

This places may indeed be fictional but they are clearly routed in the  authors imagination and based on real places . Janus for example is  a place of solitude and reflection –

“On Janus there is no reason to speak. Tom can go for months and not hear his own voice. He knows some keepers who make a point of singing, just like turning over an engine to make  sure it still works. But Tom finds a freedom in the silence. He listens to the wind. He observes the tiny details of life on the island”

Perth – 

cloudstreet

The Pickle family have inherited a big house called Cloudstreet in a suburb of Perth, take in the God-fearing Lambs as tenants. The Lambs have suffered their own catastrophes, and determined to survive, they open up a grocery on the ground floor. The shared experiences of the two overpopulated and chaotic families join together in ways that non one could have expected.

As for Winton’s Perth –

Perth is the biggest county town in the world trying to be a city.

Lester pointed to the lights above Perth water where the city hung and the suburbs began their outward roll….

This is Perth, Western Australia, whose ambitions know no limits.

There is a lot more to discover about Australia but these are just some of the gems we’ve come across but there are so many more we could travel around Australia for ever and never leave. And when you realise the quality of the writers there, those who write about this place and those who showcase their country through their eyes, you may never want to leave….

Happy Australia Day!