The Cattleman's Daughter, by Rachael Treasure

When Emily Flanaghan hit the tree and her heart slammed out of rhythm, she didn’t hear the rush of hooves as the other bush-race riders belted past her. Not did she hear her silver-grey mar, Snowgum, roar in agony, screaming out a hideous guttural sound…Instead, she felt herself drifting up through the filter of gumleaves, her panic subsiding.

Since growing up in the high country, a cattleman’s daughter, Emily has lost her way in life. She is trapped in a loveless, volatile marriage and misses her high-country life. But even if she could return, the cattleman’s way of life is under threat from government legislation to stop the cattle being grazed in the mountains. When Emily has a terrible accident on her horse, Snowgum, her life starts to change. She realises she must heal her life – and her beloved mountains. Clawing her way back to health, she leaves her husband and returns to her family.

Luke Bradshaw is also at a crossroads in his life. Newly graduated from university, and precluded from returning to his family farm because his father has sold it off for tree plantations, he jumps at the chance of a job as park ranger, because it will take him back to the country. But his job will see him in conflict with the cattlemen, people he has a lot in common with.

When Luke and Emily meet, both feel an instant connection. But as Luke begins his new job and Emily fights alongside her fellow cattlemen, it seems any chance of a relationship is doomed.

The Cattleman’s Daughter is a love story, but much more as well. A woman’s journey to healing and discovery, as well as a community’s fight both to stay viable merge with an examination of the impact of alpine grazing bans, and of the difficulties of actively managing and preventing fires in forest areas. An absorbing story which also gives the reader much to think about.

The Cattleman's Daughter

The Cattleman’s Daughter, by Rachael Treasure
Penguin, 2009

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