For the purposes of this challenge ‘general fiction’, is defined as fiction set post mid 1950′s, which does not fit neatly into a specific literary genre.
Anita Heiss has been one of the most popular authors in the AWW Challenge so far, with more than 19 reviews of her books including her chick-lit novels Manhattan Dreaming, Paris Dreaming and Avoiding Mr Right, her memoir, Am I Black Enough For you? and her poetry book I’m Not Racist but… March saw the release of her newest novel Tiddas.
“A story about what it means to be a friend … Five women, best friends for decades, meet once a month to talk about books … and life, love and the jagged bits in between. Dissecting each other’s lives seems the most natural thing in the world – and honesty, no matter how brutal, is something they treasure. Best friends tell each other everything, don’t they? But each woman harbours a complex secret and one weekend, without warning, everything comes unstuck.”
Shelleyrae of Book’d Out writes, ” These are women we can likely relate to in one way or another, smart, savvy, socially aware, they are varyingly wives, mothers, daughters, cousins, in law’s and, of course, tiddas… They variously evoke admiration, sympathy and laughter and I thought their personal journeys, and their sisterhood, to be portrayed realistically.” Bree of AllTheBooksICanRead notes, “As quite obviously, a majority of the characters are Aboriginal or connected to Aboriginals, there’s a lot of discussion of Aboriginal issues, both in a national way and also in a much more intimate personal way, such as the role of women within the family group and the community tribe.” Lisa Walker finished the book, “with a sense of having been enriched by some lively and intelligent company.”
Jennifer Smart, who spent five years working on Home and Away as a Director’s Assistant and then scriptwriter, draws on that experience in her debut novel The Wardrobe Girl offering a behind-the-scenes peek at television production, and a close up of the action happening off camera.
“After the humiliating end of her last relationship, this is just what TV costume designer, Tess Appleby, needs to hear. Sure, a wardrobe assistant on a soap is a step down from her gig at the BBC, but all Tess wants is an easy life . . . Unfortunately she’s barely arrived on set before she’s warding off the attentions of the show’s heartthrob, Sean Tyler – and, as a consequence, the hostility of its other star, Bree Brenner. And if the pressures and politics of working on a TV drama aren’t enough, she’s living with her high-maintenance mother, an ageing celebrity, and her infuriating sister Emma, an aspiring actress. Still, Tess is certain she can deal with everything they throw at her – until Jake Freeman, her ex-fiancé, the man she last saw eight years ago as he walked away and broke her heart, is named the show’s new director… “
Bree of AllTheBooksiCanRead, “enjoyed the parts of the story that dealt with filming the soap and all of the intricacies involved with that behind the scenes and the banter between the crew, plus I loved that it was set in Sydney.” Sam of Sam Still Reading thought, “The characters were done well – Tess’s family in particular were cleverly drawn and ….The other actors and crew were funny and unique”. Monique of WriteNoteReviews warns, “I wouldn’t class this as a romance though – it’s more soap opera, what with Tess’s family, work and relationship dramas.”
“In The Grass Castle, Karen Viggers tells an epic story of love and loss and the strength it takes to keep on living after. It is a beautifully written tale that I enjoyed immensely. Karen really impressed me with her writing style and I loved the setting.” writes Rochelle of Inside My Worlds.
“The daughter of a pastoralist, Daphne grew up in a remote valley of the Brindabella Ranges where she raised her family with her husband, Doug, in a world of horses, cattle and stockmen. But then the government forced them off their land and years later, Daphne is still trying to come to terms with the grief of her departure from the mountains and its tragic impact on her husband. It is during a regular visit to her valley that she meets Abby, a lonely young woman shying away from close contact with others, running from a terrible event in her early teens. But Daphne is a patient mentor, and slowly a gentle friendship develops between them. While Abby’s family history means she tries to ignore her feelings for journalist Cameron, Daphne struggles with her own past and the long shadow it may have cast over the original inhabitants of their land. Both women must help each other face the truth and release long-buried family secrets before they can be free. The Grass Castle is a sweeping rural epic that reflects the strength which resides in us all: the courage to grow and learn from the past.”
Sam of Sam Still Reading wrote, “The narrative has a quiet, lyrical feeling to it as if the reader is standing back, watching things unfold through a misty lens. At first I found the pace rather slow, but as the book progressed I found myself looking forward to the chance to slow down and lose myself in the book.” while Brenda thought, “The way the past was woven into the present was beautifully done, everything blended and wound its way to a very satisfying conclusion.”
Other titles earning recommendations last month include Night Street by Kristel Thornell from Jessica White, Distance by Nene Davis reviewed by Simone at Great Aussie Reads, The Corner of Your Eye by Kate Lyons given five stars by Danielle , The Memory Trap by Andrea Goldsmith reviewed by Amanda of looking up/looking down and Shelleyrae at Book’d Out enjoyed The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster.
You can browse more general fiction titles reviewed by participants on the AWW review site
My name is Shelleyrae Cusbert I am a mother of four children, aged 7 to 17, 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 and in 2013 a total of 117. 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.
Great round-up Shelley-rae with some interesting books. Must try to read Tiddas if I can. I just saw some signed copies of Karen Viggers’ book in the bookshop yesterday. Was tempted – but, too many books right now. And, I’d be interested to read the insider’s view in Wardrobe girl. Such variety eh?