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1944. Emily Dean is sent to stay with relatives in rural Victoria. With grandmother determined to keep up standards despite the effects of the war, Della, the Bible-quoting cook, and her young and fearless aunt Lydia, who refuses to befriend her, Emily just wants to go home. But things start looking up when she encounters Claudio, the Italian prisoner of war employed as a farm labourer. And then Lydia’s brother, William, unexpectedly returns from the war. Wounded and bitter, he’s rude, traumatised and mostly drunk, yet a passion for literature soon draws them together.

©2018 Mira Robertson (P)2018 W. F. Howes Ltd

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  • John S.
  • 27-12-18

Tough one to review

Would I recommend it? Yes overall, but it's a matter of watching a fuse sputter along for several hours with a resultant bang. How much it's worth the wait will vary. Some folks will find it a really well-presented vignette in a young girl's life, while others will feel that everything is all of a sudden wrapped up too quickly and neatly.

Solid narration

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  • RueRue
  • 03-11-18


Obviously a debut novel. The author attempts to include a mis-mash of topics ( mental illness, PTSD, homosexuality, prisioner-of-war prejudice, sexual awakening....) and none of these is explored in any depth. The end of the book is left open-ended for a sequel ( nope, not interested )