For the purposes of this challenge ‘general fiction’, is defined as fiction set post mid 1900′s, which does not fit neatly into a specific literary genre.
Rachael’s Gift by Alexandra Cameron
“Rachael is a child prodigy, a talented artist whose maturity and eloquence is far beyond her fourteen years. She’s also energetic, charming and beautiful, beguiling everyone around her. To her mother, Camille, she is perfect. But perfection requires work, as Camille knows all too well.
For Rachael has another extraordinary gift: a murky one that rears its head from time to time, threatening to unbalance all the family has been working towards. When Rachael accuses her art teacher of sexual misconduct, Wolfe and Camille are drawn into a complex web of secrets and lies that pit husband against wife, and have the power to destroy all their lives.
Set in contrasting worlds of Australia and Paris, told from the perspective of husband and wife, Rachael’s Gift is a detective story of the heart, about a mother’s uncompromising love for her daughter and a father’s quest for the truth.“
Marcia from Book Muster Down Under writes; “Rachael’s Gift is Alexandra Cameron’s debut novel and she should be commended for drawing so many emotions from this reviewer from incredulity, anger and distress …contempt [and] sympathy…” Shelleyrae from Book’d Out also notes; “ Cameron explores some of the modern concerns of parenting such as cyber-bullying, sexual predation and the narcissism of youth, and questions the choices parent have in an era where they are expected to protect their children from the consequences of their own behaviour and to support their ambitions without censure.”
Wife on the Run by Fiona Higgins
“A mother’s greatest fear… A wife’s worst nightmare… What would you do?
When two technology-related disasters hit within days of each other, Paula knows her comfortable suburban life has been irrevocably blown apart. One involves the public shaming of her teenage daughter, the other is a discovery about her husband that shocks her to her core. With her world unravelling around her, Paula does the only thing that makes any sense to her: she runs away from it all.
She pulls her children out of school and takes off on a trip across Australia with her elderly father and his caravan. The only rule is No Technology – no phones, no Facebook, no Instagram, no tablets, games or computers. It’s time to get back to basics and learn how to be a family again.
It all sounds so simple – and for a while, it is. But along the way Paula will meet new, exciting complications, and realise that running away is only a temporary solution. The past has to be faced before the future can begin.“
“Part cautionary tale, part “finding yourself” yarn, Wife on the Run is full of flawed, believable characters and tackles modern-day issues with candour and compassion.” writes Monique of Write Note Reviews. Bree of All the Books I Can Read says, “…the parts of the story concerning family and marriage and relationships kept me utterly fascinated.”
Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McIerney
“For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself–she tells the truth….
The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.
Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together–and pull themselves together–in wonderfully surprising ways…
From the bestselling author of The House of Memories comes a funny and heartfelt novel about miscommunication and mayhem in a family like no other.”
“…this is an exceptionally well crafted story set in a beautiful part of outback South Australia….I loved this novel. ” says Sam Still Reading. Carol @ Reading, Writing and Riesling writes, “This is such a surprising read – glance quickly over it and you will discover a family story with characters that you identify with or have met along your way in life but this novel is so much more than the individuals in it; it is a story about the struggles of modern day Australians whether they live in regional or city communities, for all the issues here affect us all in one way or another.”
Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O’Neill
“It’s Kate McDaid’s birthday and she’s hoping to kickstart her rather stagnant love-life and career when she gets some very strange news. To her surprise, she is the sole benefactor of a great-great-great-great aunt and self-proclaimed witch also called Kate McDaid, who died over 130 years ago. As if that isn’t strange enough, the will instructs that, in order to receive the inheritance, Kate must publish seven letters, one by one, week by week.
Burning with curiosity, Kate agrees and opens the first letter – and finds that it’s a passionate plea to reconnect with the long-forgotten fairies of Irish folklore. Instantly, Kate’s life is turned upside down. Her romantic life takes a surprising turn and she is catapulted into the public eye. As events become stranger and stranger – and she discovers things about herself she’s never known before – Kate must decide whether she can fulfil the final, devastating step of the request . . . or whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t… “
Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out writes, “Entertaining and light, Reluctantly Charmed is a fanciful story about self discovery, modern day malaise, and magic, with appealing touches of humour, intrigue and romance.” Marcia from Book Muster Down Under notes, “Along with these fine characters and her deftly structured narrative, Ellie’s cracking turn of phrase and scenic descriptions are something to be savoured.” Tracey of Carpe Librum finished her review with this statement, “Reluctantly Charmed was the most unexpected and surprising read of the year for me and reinforces the lesson that if you generalise and make snap judgements about a book, you could be missing out on a rewarding reading experience. I’m glad I didn’t miss this one.”
Can You Keep a Secret? by Caroline Overington
“How well do you really know the one you love? ‘Why do some people decide to get married when everyone around them would seem to agree that marriage, at least for the two people in question, is a terrifically bad idea?’ The year is 1999, and Lachlan Colbert – Colby – has the world at his feet. He’s got a big job on Wall Street and a sleek bachelor pad in the heart of Manhattan. With money no object, he and his friends take a trip to Australia to see in the new millennium. And it’s there, on a hired yacht sailing the Whitsundays, that he meets Caitlin. Caitlin Hourigan has got wild hair and torn shorts – and has barely ever left the small patch of Queensland where she grew up. But Colby is smitten and for Caitlin, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, a blissful future awaits – marriage, a big house, a beautiful little boy. But nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. And for Lachlan and Caitlin the nightmare is only just beginning.”
” Caroline Overington once again takes a complex topic at large and brings it to light. In Can You Keep A Secret the reader comes to grips with the less heard of realities of international adoption as well as the complex forces that bring and keep some couples together.” writes Helen. Elizabeth of Devoted Eclectic says; “Overington’s style interests me, as does her boldness in writing the “truth” as she sees it. She is unafraid to polarise, to offend, to invite judgement of behaviour she sees as wrong. She has found a way of doing this, of critiquing aspects of society and human behaviour, while telling a page-turning story.”
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 8 to 18, 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 the children’s school library.