ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Based on the true story of French 19th century Count de Castelnau and his illicit love affair with an upper class daughter of Brazilian Portuguese descent, this novel is told through the voices of the main characters, and the lawyer called in to deal with the count's estate after his death in Melbourne. Francois is on an exploration in Brazil when he falls seriously ill and is delivered to the Fonceca plantation by his native guide. Carolina, the headstrong 16yo daughter falls passionately in love with the older Count, and he reciprocates - without telling her he has a wife and son back in France. When they are forced to marry by Carolina's brutal brother, she discovers her perilous position - but makes a decision which will have far-reaching consequences. Francois takes a position in the newly prosperous city of Melbourne, and the two maintain a façade of respectability, but their secrets undermine their happiness. It took me a little while to get used to the various forms of narration, but the story is one of those fact-is-stranger-than-fiction tales, and quite engrossing, with vivid characterisation and colourful settings. Lindy
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- How do you tell your son that his father - how do you tell yourself that your beloved partner - has a disease that will kill him if not treated? And that the treatments to prevent his death may kill him? This is the dilemma Chloe Hooper faces when the father of their two young boys is diagnosed with a rare and extremely nasty form of leukaemia. She turns to children's stories to see if they can help make sense of the dark places, to explain the perilous pathways and monsters and brave characters waiting to assist the hero towards the treasure of ever after.
This is a memoir of fierce intimacy and emotion, of the intersection between story telling and experience, of family and love and the end of days, and of arriving at the hoped-for place of safety after the quest is followed. Enhanced by the dark ink washes of illustrator Anna Walker, this is sure to become a modern classic. Lindy
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Tulsi lives in a travelling and somewhat dilapidated circus, which is all the home she has ever known. Her mother is an adept at big magic and comes from a long line of women who have used it to entertain, but has forbidden 11yo Tulsi to learn any magic until she is 16. When the circus arrives at one of Tulsi's favourite spots on the far north coast, the future of the circus is at risk and Tulsi's mother tries to use big magic to save it. But something goes awry, and she disappears - and the only one who can bring her back is Tulsi. And the only way Tulsi is going to learn enough - or any - magic is from her untrustworthy grandmother, who was banned from practising it many years ago… A wonderful and thoroughly engrossing story, with an engaging character and a nice twist on magic and how it's used. Ends satisfyingly, but there is room for more adventures (and I hope there are!) Lindy
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- She's back! The indefatigable Ibis finds all the usual sources of food empty. Not only that, but a truck is stealing all that delicious decaying food! What's a bird to do? With the help of a flock of seagulls, she soon finds that co-operation has its own rewards... Witty rhyming text and colourful illustrations by Ronojoy Ghosh, this is a fun addition to the adventures of this iconic bird! Lindy