Matt’s hands trembled so violently the tea slopped over the rim. The scald hardly registerd but he let the man take the cup from him and hold it to his mouth.
‘How am I going to tell her?’ he kept saying, over and over. All he could think of was his future – and that of his family – lying in the charred ashes on the road. It took a little while before he realised the guttural moans he could hear came from himself.
Anna and Matt had a lot going for them – childhood sweethearts, they’d worked hard to buy their own farm, and weren’t afraid to keep working to make it profitable. But events beyond their control start to take their toll: he seasons are unkind, then Matt’s truck catches fire and then, when the saving rain finally comes, their precious fertiliser is stolen, making it impossible to continue.
With the farm gone, Anna is determined to rebuild their life, even though it is nothing like they had dreamed of. They can start again, she is sure, even if just for the sake of their daughter. But Matt isn’t convinced. He is caught up in searching for answers. He is going to solve the mystery of the stolen fertiliser and put the wrong to right. As each works to follow their hearts, Matt and Anna’s relationship starts to crumble. Perhaps it will be too hard to put it back together again.
Purple Roads is a rural fiction tale which is an interesting blend of romance, mystery and contemporary fiction. There’s a lot going on, with Anna being revealed as a strong, resilient type who can overcome adversity and work for change, and Matt’s struggle with depression and financial adversity being explored. Both characters are well developed as are other minor ones.
An entertaining read which will appeal to those for a taste for realistic rural fiction.
Purple Roads, by Fleur McDonald
Allen & Uniwn, 2012
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