Kimberley Sun, by Di Morrissey

Lily Barton, recently retired and looking for a fresh challenge, is delighted to return to Broome, in the northwest of Australia. She has family links there, discovered only in her adult life, and loves the lifestyle of the town. Her thirty year old daughter, Sami, is not so thrilled. She is joining her mother in Broome for the first time, and has many reservations, not sure she wants to be drawn into this family she doesn’t know and this lifestyle so different to her own.

In Broome the two women will be drawn into adventures they could not have foreseen. Business opportunites arise, relationships blossom and unlikely friendships are formed. They also become entangled in the mystery of the murder of a German tourist.

Along the way to finding a new common ground, stories are told which reflect the multitude of cultures and backgrounds which converge in the town of Broome.

Kimberley Sun is the latest offering from popular Australian author Di Morrisey. Morrisey weaves the various stories into a rich carpet, providing a detailed sketch of the lifestyle and cultures of this part of Australia. Lovers of family sagas and Australian stories will find themselves enjoying this, Morrisey’s eleventh novel. Most readers will be able to overlook the occasional lapses in editing which can cause distraction in places.

An unforgettable adventure.

Kimberley Sun, by Lily Barton, recently retired and looking for a fresh challenge, is delighted to return to Broome, in the northwest of Australia. She has family links there, discovered only in her adult life, and loves the lifestyle of the town. Her thirty year old daughter, Sami, is not so thrilled. She is joining her mother in Broome for the first time, and has many reservations, not sure she wants to be drawn into this family she doesn’t know and this lifestyle so different to her own.

In Broome the two women will be drawn into adventures they could not have foreseen. Business opportunites arise, relationships blossom and unlikely friendships are formed. They also become entangled in the mystery of the murder of a German tourist.

Along the way to finding a new common ground, stories are told which reflect the multitude of cultures and backgrounds which converge in the town of Broome.

Kimberley Sun, is the latest offering from popular Australian author Di Morrisey. Morrisey weaves the various stories into a rich carpet, providing a detailed sketch of the lifestyle and cultures of this part of Australia. Lovers of family sagas and Australian stories will find themselves enjoying this, Morrisey’s eleventh novel. Most readers will be able to overlook the occasional lapses in editing which can cause distraction in places.

An unforgettable adventure.

Kimberley Sun, by Di Morrissey
MacMillan, 2002
MacMillan, 2002

Attempts to Draw Jesus, by Stephen Orr

Being without a job means being aimless. For Rolly, living in Adelaide, it means retracing familiar routes, watching people, applying for jobs he does’t want. For Jack, living in a small country town, it means being nobody. The two have never met, but when they both answer the same ad and apply for jobs as jackaroos, their lives come together.

Neither boy has any experience of Outback life, but both have plenty of will and nothing to lose. This is an experience they hope will make them into something.

Attempts to Draw Jesus, the first novel for Adelaide author Stephen Orr, is partly based on the story of Simon Amos and James Annetts, two young boys who took on jackaroo work in the 1980s and were subsequently found dead in the Great Sandy Desert. This is not, however, a non-fiction piece. Instead, Orr gets inside the heads of his own characters, whose lives do overlap those of Amos and Annetts, to show the motivations, the emotions and the growth of his characters. He also leads them through a journey of self-discovery which makes the novel more uplifting than the newspaper articles which reported the real-life event.

Orr also creates adventures and friends for the pair, rich in their diversity and in the various ways they touch the lives of Jack and Rolly.

Attempts to Draw Jesus is an insightful and richly developed novel.

Attempts to Draw Jesus
, by Stephen Orr
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Babel, by Barry Maitland

When Professor Springer, one of England’s leading philosophers, is assasinated on the steps of the London University where he works, DCI David Brock is called into investigate. His usual partner, Kathy Kolla is on leave.

Springer has been outspoken in his views against fundamentalism, and suspicion is cast on London’s Arab communities. When Kolla is drawn into the investigation, it becomes more complex. Is the murder as straightforward as it seems, or could it relate to the deep divisions between different factions in the university?

Brock and Kolla must solve the mystery before further violence gets out of hand.

Babel is crime fiction as it should be written – danger and intrigue combine with characters of substance and just the right level of surprise.

Barry Maitland was born and raised in Britain. He came to Australia to teach Architecture at the University of Newcastle, but has since retired to work full time on his writing. This can only be a good thing for the lover of quality crime fiction.

Babel, by Barry Maitland
Allen & Unwin, 2002.

A Charm of Powerful Trouble, by Joanne Horniman

Lizzie and Laura grow up in a house that oozes secrets from every brick, every crevice. Yet it is a life full of wonders. Surrounded by nature and by human nature the girls learn to live and to love as they follow the path toward adulthood.

Both girls look for answers in the secrets of their mother’s past. Self-possessed, she seems to be unaffected by the events of her life, yet will not speak of her past. When they beg for stories she will tell them only one – the tale of her mystical visit to her great-aunt when she was sixteen. Yet, given time, the girls will learn to understand and to learn from their mother.

This is a story about love and intimacy in many different forms – about friendship, family and lovers. Threads overlap and intertwine with a richness that binds them into a delight of sensual emotion. Most female readers will find hints of themselves in one or other of the three generations of female characters.

A Charm of Powerful Trouble is Joanne Horniman’s first novel for adults. She has previously written for children and teenagers, a fact echoed in her empathy for the teens in this book.

A powerful read.

A Charm of Powerful Trouble, by Joanne Horniman
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Their Doorstep Baby, by Barbara Hannay

Claire and Adam Townsend are happily married. VERY happily married. After eight years they are still very much in love and in lust. But one thing prevents their lives from being complete – the lack of a child to complete their family.

With no medical reason for her failure to fall pregnant, Claire becomes increasingly depressed. The pressure on their previously stable marriage is immense. Then, when a baby is left on the doorstep of their isolated Outback home, Claire thinks her prayers have been answered, but Adam is not so sure.

Their Doorstep Baby by Australian author Barbara Hannay released in May in the UK, in June in Australia, and in September in the United States. The Outback setting, uniquely Australian, is used to tell a story which will tug at the heartstrings of all who are mothers and all who long to be.

Hannay offers characters with believable emotions and responses, in a predicament bound to test the strongest of relationships. She moves the story along with an excellent sense of timing and tension. A great read.

Barbara Hannay can be visited on the web at www.barbarahannay.com. You can also read an extract from Their Doorstep Baby

Their Doorstep Baby,by Barbara Hannay
Mills and Boon, 2002 ISBN: 0 263 83007 1

Carrion Colony, by Richard King

We are here to etch the faint name of England upon the dust.

Set in the early nineteenth century, Carrion Colony explores the beginnings of white Australia in the mythical colony of Old and New Bridgeford. As they adapt to life in this harsh and alien clime, officers and convicts are stretched beyond belief just to survive.

Among the characters are a doctor so terrified by the native flora, he is determined to eradicate it, a madman who has been isolated on a rock in the middle of the bay and a Governor who chooses to exercise his medical skills only when it suits, among other flawed and eccentric characters.

This is a colony where mayhem and violence are the norm, where there is nothing too far fetched to be considered a legitimate part – for everything in this colony is far fetched.

Richard King, winner of the 1995 Vogel Literary Award, exercises his skills as an absurdist writer. Unfortunately, he is perhaps too absurd, for in its efforts to be clever it becomes too clever for the average reader.

This is a novel where plot and character are pushed aside in the pursuit of art. Perhaps one needs to be finely schooled in the art of the absurd to truly enjoy it.

Carrion Colony, by Richard King
Allen & Unwin, 2002

Murder in Montparnesse, by Kerry Greenwood

There is nothing that inspires Phryne Fisher more than a mystery. When her wharfie mates Bert and Cec come to her for help, Phryne becomes involved in solving a mystery more personal than she first expects.

Bert, Cec and their five mates, celebrating the end of World War I in 1918, have unknowingly witnessed a murder in Paris. Ten years later, two have died in strange circumstances and the remaining five men fear for their own lives.

While Phryne delves into these events in a quest to find the killer, she must deal witht he memories of her own time in Paris. Her former lover Rene Dubois returns to haunt both her dreams and her reality.

At the same time, Phryne’s houshold is in turmoil. Her lover, Lin Chung, is about to be married and her trusted staff are threatening to leave her employ.

Murder in Montparnesse is the twelfth title in the Phryne Fisher series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood. For those not familiar with this sassy, self-styled detective of 1920s Melbourne, there are some unanswered questions about her background, however as the novel progresses these become less important.

Phryne Fisher moves in a world of class and culture, but hovers on the edge of shadow and intrigue. She is equally comfortable with fine art and cocktails as with house breaking and vengeance – on the side of justice, of course.

Murder in Montparnesse is a delight for lovers of crime fiction.

Murder in Montparnesse, by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin 2002

Eating Out Again, by Natalie Scott

The art of a good short story is to provide the reader with a total experience in a form much more brief and concise than in a novel. Australian author Natalie Scott has developed this art to become a master of the form.

In Eating Out Again and Other Stories Ms Scott shares twenty stories which readers can savour individually, or devour in a few sittings.

And savour and devour are fitting words, for, as the title hints, there is a recurrent motif in the collection, of food being shared. Many of the stories take place in restaurants or cafes, with tensions and intrigues playing out over a table shared by the players.

In Kissy-Kissy a man meets his ex-wife in a restaurant to discuss their son. In The Loft, a woman reaches a deciding point in her marriage over dinner with her husband, and in An Apple From the Teacher, a teacher deals with a child who does not have lunch to bring to school. This recurrent theme is complemented with a selection of recipes from the stories included at the back of the book.

A second common thread is that of the challenges of aging. Characters in several of the stories are faced with the realisation that they are no longer young, and need to confront where they are in their lives. Many characters have been betrayed by other players and are facing the need to rely more on themselves.

Ms Scott’s first short story collection, Eating Out was the winner of the National Library Australian Book Award in 1997. She has also published novels for both adults and children.

Lovers of the short story will be impressed by the quality of this outstanding collection.

Eating out Again and Other Stories
, by Natalie Scott
Otford Press, 2002

Lancashire Legacy, by Anna Jacobs

If you are a fan of the historical saga , then you are surely familiar with the name Anna Jacobs. Jacobs is undoubtedly queen of this genre in Australia, with her stories about her native Lancashire and Australia, her adopted home. Fans of Ms Jacobs will not be disappointed with Lanacshire Legacy, new out in paperback.

The heroine, eighteen year old Cathie, loves her family, but wants desperately to escape the bush home that she shares with them. Life in the bush is hard, and Cathie longs to return to England, to make contact with relatives in Lancashire and to have an adventure.

When Cathie’s Uncle agrees to pay her fare, Cathie travels to England, where she finds that the adventure she has is far removed from the adventures she had hoped for. Attacked on the docks after her arrival, Cathie loses her memory. Rescued by a man with problems of his own, she struggles to remember her past and to find the answers she is seeking about her father and brother. As she does so, she becomes a part of the family of her rescuer, the handsome Magnus Hamilton, towards whom she feels an increasing attraction.

As she learns about her past, Cathie discovers that she is moving in a society where rich established families have the power to destroy her own chances at happiness, and that of those around her, including Magnus, her young brother Francis, and three half-brothers she didn’t know she had.

As we follow the journey of Cathie’s self discovery we also revisit the life of her mother, Liza, who was introduced in Jacobs’ earlier title, Lancashire Lass. Whilst the novel continues the story of Liza and her family, the first title is not prerequisite reading for a full enjoyment of the second. Be warned though, that having read Lanacshire Legacyyou will want to learn more of this family and will, like this reviewer, be looking out for more stories in the future.

Lancashire Legacy, by Anna Jacobs.
Hodder & Stoughton, 2001 (Paperback edition 2002)

Believers in Love, by Alan Clay

Sax is exhausted, from lack of sleep, and from hiding from the vast whirl of experience. Then in one day he meets Zoe and takes his daughter Sarah to Bondi beach to build a sandcastle. Both events change his future.

Sax and Sarah are discovered on Bondi beach and whisked off to build a sandcastle for a festival in New Zealand. This adventure seems set to launch them on other, equally as exciting adventures, along with Zoe and Adam, the festival organiser.

Not all adventures are exciting, however, as Sarah finds out. Her Dad and Zoe are getting closer, and her fairy, Firefly, isn’t always there when she’s needed. For Sax and Zoe there’s the confusion of their feelings for each other, and the discovery that not every project goes as planned. For Adam, the knowledge that politics is not always fair lands him in Australia with the others.

Believers in Love, the third offering by quirky Australian novelist, Alan Clay, is about love, laughter and life. The story is liberally interspersed by anecdotes taking an alternate look at life, sometimes foorm the point of view of the book’s characters, other times from beyond, but always with a depth which gives pause to the reader before the story continues.

This is not just a story; this is an exploration of emotion and philosophy.

Alan Clay grew up in New Zealand, studied clown in Sweden and for the past ten years has resided in Sydney, where he runs Playspace Studio, Sydney’s Physical Theatre Studio.

Believers in Love, By Alan Clay
Artmedia Publishing, 2001