Category: Australia and New Zealand 5 out of 5s

Gregory David Roberts’ — Shantaram *****

Gregory David Roberts’ — Shantaram *****

Sentenced to nineteen years in prison, Roberts escapes from his Australian jail cell and heads to India. Robbed in Mumbai, he’s forced to live in the slums until his life in various illegal operations, lead him to a more comfortable life style.

This is a tale with its heart in the streets of Mumbai. The characters, the setting, Mumbai’s underworld and the gripping story make this an unforgettable tale. While this is a nine hundred plus page novel, I still didn’t want it to end.

Kathryn Heyman’s — The accomplice

Kathryn Heyman’s — The accomplice

When mutiny breaks out of the Dutch ship the Batavia, Judith is desperate to survive. The ship arrives near the Western Australian coast and sinks. Judith is one of a hundred survivors who make it to shore, but how they stay alive becomes a nightmare.

This harrowing tale is based on true events seen through the eyes of Judith.

Anna Smaill’s — The chimes

Anna Smaill’s — The chimes

Simon arrives in London after his parents’ deaths and soon finds a new family amongst a gang of scavengers who roam their turf in search of metal. He grips his bag of junk — items that trigger the only memories he holds and slowly discovers with the help of Lucien, that he has a gift that others do not hold. But the London of the future keeps most of its citizens ignorant. Can Simon’s gift free them from their simple lives?

A real page turner that was not only well written, but revealed a unique story.

Kimberly Freeman’s — Ember Island

Kimberly Freeman’s — Ember Island

Tilly, living in the 19thcentury and Nina, living in the 21stcentury are both connected to Nell Holt. After the death of her grandfather and a disasterous short marriage, Tilly takes the first available boat out of England to Australia. She is employed as a governess to Nell on Amber Island — a Moreton Bay island where prisoners are jailed. But Nell keeps memories of her haunting past close to her chest until an error of judgement forces her to expose her past.

Nina’s great-grandmother was Nell. She’s a successful author struggling with her forth novel. She holds a secret that’s about to be exposed by a scathing journalist.

Can both women survive their past?

Equally as good is Freeman’s Lighthouse Bay (another 5 out of 5).

Kimberley Freeman’s — Wildflower Hill *****

Kimberley Freeman’s — Wildflower Hill *****

After Emma, a talented ballerina, damages her knee and her career is ruined, she leaves London and returns to Australia where she learns of her grandmother Beattie’s death and her inheritance — Wildflower Hill. Emma heads to the property that was once a prosperous sheep station, where she discovers her grandmother’s possessions packed away in boxes. As she sorts through each box, she uncovers the mystery of her grandmother’s past and a new beginning for herself.

Colleen McCullough’s — The independence of Miss Mary Bennett *****

Colleen McCullough’s — The independence of Miss Mary Bennett *****

I remember Mary as the Bennett sister who couldn’t sing, but twenty years on from the end of Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary’s life continues. In her desperation for independence, she investigates the plight of the English poor only to find herself in danger.

I wasn’t expecting this to be an engaging tale, but I should have known better because this Australian author has never disappointed me. A book I couldn’t put down when I needed a light read.

Kate Morton mysteries *****

Kate Morton mysteries *****

If you’re curious about why a child was abandoned on the dock in a foreign country, or want to know why the person a character trusts more than anyone commits a horrendous crime, then Kate Moreton’s the author for you.

The Secret Keeper, Forgotten Garden and House at Riverton were all gripping novels I couldn’t put down. Not only were they well written, but I was hooked right till the unpredictable ends of all three.