While the focus this month has been on the titles featured on various award lists, contemporary fiction continues to be popular with challenge participants.
Debut novelist Dawn Barker, a West Australian psychologist, is garnering attention for Fractured. The story of a young family shattered by an episode of post natal psychosis is “Written with compassion, understanding and sensitivity…” says Heidi of …but books are better while Lauren from The Australian Bookshelf , who works in the field of perinatal mental health, ‘couldn’t fault it”. Reviewers are not only in agreement that the novel is a moving story but also feel it is well written – Natasha Lester praises the ” skilful narrative” and found it “so accomplished that it is difficult to imagine it is Dawn’s first [novel]”.
House For All Seasons is also a debut novel for Jenn J McLeod. It is the story of four women, once childhood friends, now strangers, drawn back to their hometown by the unusual terms of a surprising inheritance. Brenda was initially wary of the characters but “grew to like and then love them. [She] felt for them, and their varying circumstances made [her] laugh and cry.” Bree of All the Books I Can Read concludes her review with the statement, “It’s beautifully written, a story that sweeps you in and holds you there. There’s a little bit of magic in this one.”
While both of these new releases have received several reviews, there are a number of titles with only single reviews so far this year.
Elizabeth Lhuede posted a review for the novella Harmless by Julienne Van Loon and recommends it to “Anyone who relishes subtle and emotionally powerful prose; who is interested in a portrait of contemporary Australian life that doesn’t shy away from issues of social disadvantage; and who can bear the heartbreak.”
Jennie of Daystarz Books feels Dancing to the Flute by Manisha Jolie Amin, “… is like a beautiful complex tapestry – the story of Kalu and his love for friends and music all interwoven with popular Hindu lore”.
How to Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman left Monique of Write Note Reviews in a quandry, she writes, “Was it enjoyable? Do we really enjoy being in a state of tension for a prolonged period of time? Not really. Enjoyable is not the right word for this book, which is on the darker side, if not scary. I appreciated this book for what it was – a remarkably clever and polished book.”
In contrast, Kevin of Red Bluff Review enjoyed Queenslander Laraine Dillon’s first novel, The Easement, “a passionate and irreverent tale of moving to the seaside in the late 1980s.”
Melanie of BlakkopyKat has shared a thoughtful review of The Reunion by Andrea Goldsmith, She says this novel, about four friends reunited after twenty years, “…fairly teems with ideas to be mulled over and the benefit of writing about smart, high achievers with differing fields of interest is that these ideas − on friendship, memory, nostalgia, romantic love, marriage and fidelity, religion, philosophy, humanity, science, professional ethics and integrity – can be weighed up, drawn out, examined, turned over and evaluated, without steering the narrative off course.”
Looking for more contemporary fiction to try? Click HERE to visit the AWW Bookshelf and browse the titles listed.
My name is Shelleyrae Cusbert I am a mother of four children, aged 6 to 16, living in the mid north coast of NSW. I am an obsessive reader and publish my thoughts about what I read at my book blog, Book’d Out. In 2012 I read and reviewed a total of 109 books for the AWW Challenge (see obsessive!) and featured more than 35 Australian women writers. I juggle caring for my family with a part time job and volunteer at both the town’s local library and her children’s school library. While I have a degree in Education, I hope to gain a diploma in librarian studies in the near future.