An avid Tim Winton fan, I began my holiday reading with his passionate memoir, Island Home. His evocative prose, describing the beauty and power of Australian place, was a luxurious holiday treat. What stayed with me the most was Winton’s sadness over the exploitation of our land, his despair over its degradation. As a fellow lover of Australian landscape and wildlife, I admired his call to arms, encouraging us all to care for our country, as our country defines us. An unexpected gem was discovering Winton’s journey to publication, and the pitfalls his unique writing style created. Island Home is a must, and I will certainly be reading it again.
The next book on my list also, in a strange way, involved nature. Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things was both thrilling and terrifying. Whereas I had difficulty picturing the women in The Handmaid’s Tale, I had no such trouble with Wood’s unflinching prose. Every breath, every drop of sweat is horribly plausible. Set in outback Australia, somewhere, a bunch of women with a thread of similarity are held captive for no clear reason. The interaction between them is fascinating, the plot compelling and the ending perfect. I would definitely recommend it.
Kate Morton is up high on my list of favourites, and I’m always thrilled when a new book of hers comes out. Each time, I tell myself I will savour it, but then I can’t stop reading, and I’m sad when I’m done.
The Lake House is no exception. Morton knows just how to set the mood, location, and characters surrounding grand English homes, and she takes you right to the heart of Cornwall with this one. There are lots of plot threads and several time jumps, but that didn’t spoil what was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Sam Wheeler is the author of several children’s books, including Smooch and Rose, Spud and Charlie and Mister Cassowary. She lives in Brisbane with her husband, daughters and pets.