When Helen disappears after a domestic violence episode and Jim, her abusive alcoholic husband, is later killed, their 13-year-old son, Bill, is left to run wild. Quick and resourceful, with help from his frail Uncle Paddy and the indomitable Aunty Jessie, he looks after his younger sister, Lizzie, to avoid her being taken into care.Helen's whereabouts are eventually discovered and a former 'digger', Jack, Helen's friend from her teenage years, takes Bill to find her. He also takes Bill under his wing and introduces him to the blood, sweat and dirt of country living, a sharp contrast to his former life on the Georges River. Bill and the farmer's precocious and sexually inquisitive daughter, Marlene, begin a hazardous adolescent intimacy. Meanwhile Jack renews his relationship with Helen, surprising and gratifying both of them with its intensity.Set in 1950s Australia, this coming-of-age tale explores a young man's growing up and an older one's recovery from the terrible damage inflicted by WWII. Bill's entire world is coloured by the war that was almost over before he was born: Jack is slowly rebuilding his life and their two stories merge, but the spectre of Helen's violent past returns. Will she and her children survive the terror that is waiting for her?This first novel by this new author, although set in the 1950s, is contemporary in its description of domestic violence, a scourge in today's society, and the effects it has on families.
Absolutely first class, totally riveting from start to finish. I couldn't put it down.The characters really came to life, the story flowed. A very clear depiction of that era. Its rare to find such a colourful Australian novel.
Definitely look forward to the next book.
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