ABBEY'S CHOICE JULY 2015 ----- Cambridge, 1963. Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can't face the thought of another English winter.
A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: 'Australia brings out the best in you'. Despite wanting to stay in the place that she knows, Charlotte is too worn out to fight. Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, she is travelling to the other side of the world.
Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she'll go to find her way home...
In the aftermath of the Second World War, an Australian soldier, Wesley Cress, a hero of the underground resistance on German-occupied Crete, seeks solace and comfort on King Island, in the mouth of Bass Strait, in the Roaring Forties latitude of the Southern Ocean.
Wesley carries in his heart the infernal story of the Battle of Crete, the disappearance of his brother in the ensuing evacuation, and the hellish journey he was forced to take after he was left behind on the ancient island. When he meets Leonie Fermoy, the granddaughter of an American whaler with her own nightmares, the private and the public battles of their post-war worlds begin to fuse. Through the agency of John Lascelles - the unassuming postmaster on the island and a crusader for the rights of returned soldiers - Wes and Leonie attempt to negotiate a future in which love can prevail in a morally devastated world.
Archipelago of Souls is a novel exploring the difficult realities of nationhood, war, morality and love. Compelling and beautifully realised, it is about the creation of identity, the enigmas of memory and the power of the written word to heal the deepest wounds.
'Silence, Chris discovered, is easy. If nobody asks, you never have to tell.'
Christopher Bright is a well-respected conservation architect, good neighbour and friend. He has a devoted wife, two talented children and an old Rover. He plays tennis on Saturdays and enjoys a beer with his business partner after work. Life is orderly, yet an unresolved question has haunted him for as long as he can remember: Who was his birth father?
Devotion to his adoptive parents has always prevented Chris from enquiring too deeply, but when his mother dies, information emerges that becomes the catalyst for changes he has never imagined. As light is cast on his father, attention turns to his birth mother, but when he goes in search of the person behind the photo, he encounters a conspiracy of silence.
His quest for information, however, reveals not only the truth about his mother's life but exposes the fault lines in his own, and Chris finds the price of knowledge increasingly heavy. Nevertheless, the truth must be told... Or must it?
Cate Carlton has recently died, yet she is able to linger on, watching her three young children and her husband as they come to terms with their life without her on their rural horse property. As the months pass and her children grow, they cope in different ways, drawn closer and pulled apart by their shared loss. And all Cate can do is watch on helplessly, seeing their grief, how much they miss her and how - heartbreakingly - they begin to heal. Gradually unfolding to reveal Cate's life, her marriage, and the unhappy secret she shared with one of her children, In the Quiet is compelling, simple, tender, true - heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure.
Orphaned at thirteen, Charlie Anderson has been on her own for half her life. Not that she minds - she has her work as a vet and most days that's enough. Most days. But when she's sent to a small town on the New South Wales coast to investigate a possible outbreak of the deadly Hendra virus, Charlie finds herself torn between the haunting memories of her past, her dedication to the job and her attraction to a handsome local. Travelling to Naringup means coming face to face with what is left of her dysfunctional family - her cousin Emma, who begged Charlie not to leave all those years ago, and her aunt Hazel, who let her go without a backwards glance. But it also means relying on the kindness of strangers and, when she meets local park ranger Joel Drummond, opening her heart to the possibility of something more... As tensions in the country town rise, can Charlie reconcile with the past and find herself a new future in the town she left so long ago?
Six Bedrooms is about growing up; about discovering sex; and about coming of age. Full of glorious angst, embarrasment and small achievements. Hot afternoons on school ovals, the terrifying promise of losing your virginity, sneaking booze from your mother's pantry, the painful sophistication and squalor of your first share house, cancer, losing a parent. Tegan Bennett Daylight's powerful collection captures the dangerous, tilting terrain of becoming adult. Over these ten stories, we find acute portrayals of loss and risk, of sexual longing and wreckage, blunders and betrayals. Threaded through the collection is the experience of troubled, destructive Tasha, whose life unravels in unexpected ways, and who we come to love for her defiance, her wit and her vulnerability. Stunningly written, and shot through with humour and menace, Six Bedrooms is a mesmerising collection of moments from adolescence through adulthood, a mix of all the potent ingredients that make up a life.
In the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, a female narrator, who remains unnamed is trying to come to terms with the absence of Jack, the man she loves. In a bar she meets Bernice, a radio personality, in her late thirties and flirting with IVF. Finding a job as a gardener, she discovers that her co-worker, Mitali, has an unresolved mourning that attracts other deaths into its orbit. Later on, she befriends the resolutely mysterious bar owner, Sarah, and her daughter, Mary, who has, for potent (and as yet unrevealed) reasons, converted to Islam and donned a burqa. The lives of these women are characterised by love and loss, and are woven together by their shared grieving at the senseless murder of Jill Meagher. On Brunswick Ground traverses the world of longing, grief and personal loss with an assured and literary touch. It is a novel that is also heart-warming, and affirming. Catherine de Saint Phalle truly understands the surprising ways in which tragedy and loss can tighten the bonds of friendship and of a community.
Do you ever feel like you might have just one more chance to get on top of your life and make things happen?
Andrew Van Fleet and Bamberg Davis Kirchner have parted company. Private equity has let him go without a fuss and he's opting for a job that will let him spend more time at home. But the house is overrun by iPads and teenage hormones and conversations that have moved on without him. Plus his ailing father is now lodged in the granny flat, convalescing from surgery with his scrappy bulldog in tow.
And then there's Brian Brightman, the expensive fading star at the radio station Andrew's signed up to manage, still gotcha-calling and dropping single entendres as if it's the eighties. He too is starting to wonder if the twenty-first century might prove to be his second best. He's Andrew's worst nightmare, but they're thrown together on a road trip to face their shared fear of obsolescence, with hilarious consequences.
A teenager on the tram meets an old man claiming to be Jesus Christ. Six young women band together on a night prowl. A Filipino immigrant clashes with his eldest sister, who has brought him to Australia for a better life. And in a future where dogs have risen up against their owners, a mother is alarmed by her adolescent daughter's behaviour. Through such diverse characters, Paddy O'Reilly takes us into the fringes of human nature - our hidden thoughts, our darker impulses and our unspoken tragedies. By turns elegiac and acerbic, but always acutely observed, Peripheral Vision confirms O'Reilly as one of our most inventive and insightful writers.
Safari guide and private investigator Hudson Brand hunts people, not animals. He's on the trail of Linley Brown who's been named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Linley's friend, Kate, supposedly died in a fiery car accident in Zimbabwe, but Kate's sister wants to believe it is an elaborate fraud. South African detective Sannie van Rensburg is also looking for Linley, as well as a serial killer who has been murdering prostitutes on Sannie's watch. Top of her list of suspects is Hudson Brand. Sannie and Hudson cross paths and swords as they track the elusive Linley from South Africa and Zimbabwe to the wilds of Kenya's Masai Mara game reserve. Tony Park's trademark storytelling prowess turns this hunt into a thrilling - and deadly - escapade through some of the most dangerous, yet beautiful, places on earth.
Two women and three men, displaced in different ways by the rapid transformation of Victorian England, travel separately to a small settlement on Australia's western rim. With them they carry social ambitions and psychological wounds. As their lives intersect in the Swan River Colony, what they encounter is not quite what they expect. Who will struggle, who will thrive, and how will each react when secrets emerge? Though fictional, The Mind's Own Place is partly based on the actual experiences of historical figures: a pair of convicts from respectable backgrounds, talented and enterprising but troubled; two female immigrants, free settlers, not equally fortunate or resilient; and the first detective in Western Australia, who eventually uncovers more than he intends. Like Ian Reid's previous acclaimed novels, this powerful story explores intricate relationships between the shaping of character and the pressure of adversity. It reveals damaged families, mixed motives, and the long shadows thrown by the past.