Finalist in the Queenland Literary Awards 2017 Longlisted in the Dublin Literary Awards 2017 A story about a love that transcends all boundaries, from one of Australia's best loved authors.
5 AUGUST, 1944.
Over 1000 Japanese soldiers break out of the No.12 Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra. In the carnage, hundreds are killed, many are recaptured, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat.
But one soldier, Hiroshi, manages to escape.
At nearby Erambie Station, an Aboriginal mission, Banjo Williams, father of five and proud man of his community, discovers Hiroshi, distraught and on the run. Unlike most of the townsfolk who dislike and distrust the Japanese, the people of Erambie choose compassion and offer Hiroshi refuge. Mary, Banjo's daughter, is intrigued by the softly spoken stranger, and charged with his care.
For the community, life at Erambie is one of restriction and exclusion - living under Acts of Protection and Assimilation, and always under the ruthless eye of the mission Manager. On top of wartime hardships, families live without basic rights.
Love blossoms between Mary and Hiroshi, and they each dream of a future together. But how long can Hiroshi be hidden safely and their bond kept a secret?
Praise for Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms 'Meticulously researched, and the result is Heiss's great achievement: the reader is transported in place and time.' The Australian 'Tact and intelligence are sustained to the end of this bold novel of the wartime home front.' Sydney Morning Herald 'With deftness and a lightness of touch ... Heiss's strengths as a writer are on full display.' The Conversation