March 2nd, 2012

WHM - Felicity Pulman

There are four (very different) books I've read and enjoyed recently, all by Australian authors: Seven Sacred Sites by Serene Conneeley; When It Rains by Maggie MacKellar; Beyond Fear by Jaye Ford; and Sydney Harbour Bridge, part of the My Australian Story series, by Vashti Farrer.

Seven Sacred Sites gives a beautiful physical description plus the history and special spiritual and psychic connections found in Glastonbury, Stonehenge, walking the Camino to Santiago, Machu Picchu, Egypt, Uluru and the Fire Islands of Hawaii. Each site holds its own special significance and, although you can still experience the magic as an 'armchair traveller', the book is certainly an incentive to visit these inspirational sites for the insights they will bring both to your heart and your soul.

When it Rains is a searingly honest and beautifully written memoir, a meditation on grief (and anger) as well as a story of courage and survival. Maggie's husband committed suicide while she was expecting her second child; her mother died shortly afterwards. With her life falling apart, Maggie abandoned her academic career to seek comfort with her mother's family on their farm. There, the heat, drought and endless hard work helped her come to terms with her loss and find peace. A beautiful and inspirational story.

Beyond Fear is Jaye Ford's debut crime novel. Four friends go for a girls' weekend in the country. Jodie carries a secret from the past, a secret that alerts her to the dangers they face when two men come knocking at the door. What follows kept me on the edge of my seat and reading far into the night!

Sydney Harbour Bridge - one of Australia's icons brought to 'life' in Vashti's fascinating account of the last year leading up to its opening. The story is told in two very different diaries. Alice, who lives on the north shore, is the daughter of one of the engineers. Billy lives at the Rocks. His father is a 'donkeyman' and he's keeping the diary for one of his mates whose family home was demolished to make way for the bridge's foundations and who has had to move to the Happy Valley Camp at La Perouse, home for the homeless. Interesting information about the Depression and the politics behind the building of the bridge (leading to the rise of the New Guard) is skilfully woven through details of how the bridge was actually built. Although this is a series for children, I found it both fascinating and informative. The characters are appealing and the resolution was very touching.

Seven Sacred Sites by Serene Conneeley, published by Blessed Bee, 2008.
When It Rains by Maggie MacKellar, published by Random House Australia
Beyond Fear by Jaye Ford, Bantam Books
Sydney Harbour Bridge by Vashti Farrer from the My Australian Story series, published by Scholastic Australia

Felicity Pulman is the award-winning author of numerous novels for children and teenagers, most notably the timeslip novels Ghost Boy and the Shalott trilogy, and her medieval crime series for teenagers, The Janna Mysteries. See her website and blog + video clip below for more information plus site photographs and articles of interest to writers.

(no subject)

I seem to have about ten times the number of messages to do these days. I also have my Annual Report due soon and other paperwork. This means that I've spent the whole day doing this and that and the other and now I get an hour off (because I hurt) and then I shall work the whole evening on the research that was unable to happen while I was doing this and that and the other.

I have given the matter great consideration and I feel very strongly that I strongly deserve spiced hot chocolate, very dark and very rich and very bad for me.

For those worried about the floods, a lot of them have gone down, but not all. We're waiting to see what the next lot of rain brings. I was living in hopes that the next lot of rain would miss us, but my weather aches and the BOM both suggest this won't happen. The longer it takes to hit, though, and the less heavy it is, the less of a problem this region will have. And I would not be downstream from this region right now, not for love or money!