Under her Chanel suit and designer lingerie, Connie Carven is no longer the typical banker's wife. Since Cliff's dreadful skiing accident Connie has become a willing submissive to her husband's every desire. While at first she enjoys a perverse sense of freedom within the ever-tightening bonds of her marriage, this dark and seductive passion consumes her entirely. She finds herself surrendering to an act that will forever remind her that she belongs to her husband alone - to be unlocked only by him, whenever he pleases. But it is this that awakens Connie from her slumber. In the communal garden of her Notting Hill home, she meets Mel and discovers the thrill of true intimacy.
In the tradition of Atonement and Birdsong, the Durance sisters leave Australia to nurse on the front during WWI and discover a world beyond their imaginings. Naomi and Sally Durance are daughters of a dairy farmer from the Macleay Valley. Bound together in complicity by what they consider a crime, when the Great War begins in 1914 they hope to submerge their guilt by leaving for Europe to nurse the tides of young wounded. They head for the Dardanelles on the hospital ship Archimedes. Their education in medicine, valour and human degradation continues on the Greek island of Lemnos, then on the Western Front. Here, new outrages - gas, shell-shock - present themselves. Naomi encounters the wonderful, eccentric Lady Tarlton, who is founding a voluntary hospital near Boulogne; Sally serves in a casualty clearing station close to the front. They meet the men with whom they would wish to spend the rest of their lives. Inspired by the journals of Australian nurses who gave their all to the Great War effort and the men they nursed. The Daughters of Mars is vast in scope yet extraordinarily intimate. A stunning tour de force to join the best First World War literature, and one that casts a penetrating light on the lives of obscure but strong women caught in the great mill of history.
Set during the Cold War, Who We Were is an intimate and powerful love story about trust, obsession and the truth itself. Melbourne, 1938. Annabel's dream is to be a scientist. Falling in love is not part of her plan. But when she meets Bill Whitton she knows instantly that they are destined for each other. She has to wait for him to come back from the war. Their life together, as lovers and microbiologists, can now begin. The newlyweds emigrate to New York. They are at once captivated by fellow immigrants Frank, an ex-Communist from Hungary, and his playwright wife, Suzy. It's the 1950s and the Cold War is in full swing. Frank, Annabel and Bill find work on weapons projects, experimenting with lethal infectious diseases. Did they cross the world for this? Annabel's whole being is anchored in her ardour for Bill, and their work together. But other forces-suspicion, paranoia, deceit-are at play. Everything begins to unravel: her work, her career and her marriage.
It is 1997 in San Francisco and Simon and Sarah have been sent on a quest to see America: they must stand at least once in every 25-foot square of the country. Decades later, in an Australian city that has fallen on hard times, Caddy is camped by the Maribyrnong River, living on small change from odd jobs, ersatz vodka and memories. She's sick of being hot, dirty, broke and alone. Caddy's future changes shape when her friend, Ray, stumbles across some well-worn maps, including one of San Francisco, and their lives connect with those of teenagers Simon and Sarah in ways that are unexpected and profound. A meditation on happiness - where and in what place and with who we can find our centre, a perceptive vision of where our world is headed, and a testament to the power of memory and imagination, this is the best of novels: both highly original and eminently readable.
Once, so very long ago, she had watched him like this when he came to pick her up from a date...Her stomach fluttered and burned with infatuation and desire. She would watch him walk up the path and think, 'This must be love.' But that was so very long ago. Now Liz is wary and afraid. She has made a terrible mistake and it cannot be undone. Alex believes that today will be the day she comes back to him. Today will be the day his wife and young son finally come home. Today they will be a family again. But Liz knows that some things can never be mended. Some marriages are too broken. Some people are too damaged. Now the most important thing in her life is her son, Luke, and she will do anything in her power to protect him. So when Alex is a few minutes late bringing Luke back Liz begins to worry and when he is an hour late her concern grows and when he is later still she can feel her whole life changing because: what if Alex is not just late?
Juniper, living deep in the forest with her parents, is stunned to discover that the beautiful girl living isolated in a nearby tower is her sister. When the two girls meet, what begins as a fascination and a friendship ultimately develops into something truly sinister. A story of jealousy, passion and power, Beauty's Sister is a dark and gripping reimagining of one of our oldest tales, Rapunzel, from acclaimed novelist James Bradley.
Tina is a young woman hiding from her grief on the streets of the Cross. On a cold night in the middle of winter she breaks all her own rules when she agrees to go home with a customer. What she finds in his house will change her life forever. Across the country Sarah and Doug are trapped in limbo, struggling to accept the loss that now governs their lives. Pete is the local policeman who feels like he is watching the slow death of his own family. Every day brings a fresh hell for each of them. Told from the alternating points of view of Tina, Sarah, Doug and Pete, The Boy Under the Table is gritty, shocking, moving and, ultimately, filled with hope. A harrowing glimpse into the real world behind the headlines, this is a novel of immense power and compassion - one that will not fail to move all who read it.
Ellie Wilding has been running from her past, but when the residents of Half Moon Bay call for help she knows it's finally time to return home. As an international photojournalist, she's used to violence in war zones, but she's shocked when it erupts in the sleepy hamlet on the north coast of New South Wales, threatening all she holds dear. Battle-weary Nicholas Lawson walked away from his military career leaving unfinished business. In a coastal backwater, that decision returns to haunt him. He remembers all too vividly his last lethal assignment in Afghanistan when Ellie's sister, Nina, was shot and killed. Ellie's been in his dreams ever since, even if she doesn't remember him...As a storm rages and floodwaters rise, Ellie struggles to save her community. But who can she trust? Nick Lawson, the dangerously attractive stranger with secrets, or an old friend who's never let her down?
Layla is only 14. As she sits in bed with a laptop, her mother Margot sleeps in the next room. But what separates them is more than just a wall. It's every mother's nightmare. Layla cruises online. She catches trains to meet strangers. And Margot never suspects. Not even when Layla brings a man into their home. Margot's caught in her own web: an evangelical church and a charismatic pastor. Pastor Bevan preaches to the faithful, reeling them in to his tangled conceits with podcasts and twitter. Meanwhile, downtown, a man opens a suitcase and tenderly places his young lover inside. just_a_girl tears into the fabric of contemporary culture. A Puberty Blues for the digital age, a Lolita with a webcam, it's what happen when young girls are forced to grow up too fast. Or never get the chance to grow up at all...
For the price of two movie tickets, Ron Elliott's criminally good mini novels bring cinema's best known genres to the page. Celebrate the celluloid as you read your way into a noir movie, romantic farce, comedy heist, thriller and classic Aussie road movie. Brimming with cinematic references, Now Showing is best consumed with a tub of hot popcorn.