Had it not been for the reality TV series RPA (Royal Prince Alfred) I would have had no idea who Gail O'Brien was, yet upon seeing this book I knew that I wanted to read it. In many respects Gail O'Brien is a normal Australian woman - a physiotherapist, wife, mother - but her life over the past decade or so has been quite extraordinary and it is wonderful that her story has been told.
Gail's late husband Professor Chris O'Brien was a head and neck surgeon at RPA in Sydney. When the reality show about the hospital came onto our screens back in the 1990s Chris immediately became a viewer favourite not only because of his obvious skill as a doctor but also for the warmth and empathy he displayed to his patients.
After reading but not managing to get any reviews written for the 2015 challenge I am hoping to get back on track for 2016. I will aim to read 35 books and review 10. One thing I do know is that I will not struggle to find great books to read by female Australian authors - it will just be choosing which ones to read.
Anybody can sign up for the challenge and you can just sign up as a reader not a reviewer. For more details check out the Australian Women Writer's website: www.australianwomenwriters.com
I did start this years challenge with the full intention of posting reviews as I have done for the past few years. I must confess, however, that getting my second book (Room 46) finished and out on the market took all my spare time and I did not manage to write any reviews. I did still read for the challenge though and once again I was spoiled for choice with the number of titles written by Australian female writers. It really is a matter of putting them on your radar and once you do they are easy to find. Here are some the books I read for the challenge this year.
You can view my complete list at Goodreads.
I am excited to once again be signing up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2015. I have loved being part of this challenge since 2012. In the past three years I have discovered dozens of Australian Women Writers I had never heard of and know that this year I will come across more. So if you are looking for some new home grown talent, check out the challenge and reviews at www.australianwomenwriters.com You do not have to review books if you don't want to and there is no minimum number of books you need to read.
You can check out my reviews here on this page. There are also links to my reviews from last year here and from previous years on the sidebar.
This is the third year I have taken part in the AWW challenge and I am still amazed at the number of books by Australian women that I continue to discover and, more importantly, read. I love the fact that the percentage of my reading that is by Australian female authors has increased dramatically and will continue to stay that way.
Although I did not read and review as many books as I have in previous years I am still very happy with my total of 37 read and 20 reviewed. I did have a bit of a Kimberley Freeman binge this year, having just come across her books. It was wonderful to be able to keep going back for more, as you can do when you have a backlist to discover. Alas I am down to my last one now, so I will have to wait each year now for the new title to emerge. Needless to say I am now a big Kimberley Freeman fan.
At 30 Lauren has lived a very sheltered life, having always put her own needs before those of her sick brother and needy mother. But following her brother's death she is finally standing on her own two feet and has moved away from home and taken a job in a cafe in the Blue Mountains, which is part of a renovation of the historic Evergreen Falls Hotel. Exploring the area one day she meets Tomas the Danish architect who entrusts her with a key. Although not officially allowed inside Lauren can't help but have a look and uncovers some old love letters which tell a captivating story.
Evergreen Falls is another of Kimberley Freeman's dual storyline novels, with the other part of the story set in 1926. Young Sydney woman Violet has gone to work at the hotel and is one of the few staff members left there over the winter months. A massive snow storm that traps staff and guests alike proves to be a life changing event for all who experience it. Once Lauren starts reading the old letters she is firmly ensnared in the mystery and goes to great lengths to uncover the whole story.
Kate is looking forward to some peace and quiet on her holiday to Bruny Island in Tasmania, but that idea is soon shattered when she discovers two bodies. Kate is tempted to keep walking and let someone else make the grisly find, but her conscience wins out and she calls the police. From that moment on she finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery that keeps on unraveling.
This is a decent murder mystery plot with many twists and turns that keep the story moving. Starting out fairly simply it develops many extra layers as it unravels, some of which I must admit I found a little bit confusing at times. But not so much that I lost track of the story. Kate is a likeable heroine and is a well developed character.
Having read and enjoyed Hindsight I was eager to read its sequel Craven. We are reunited with Cass who is blessed/cursed with the psychic gift of retrocognition and has taken the big step of moving to Adelaide and taking a job at a university. Given that she re-lives the death of person if she happens to be where it happened, her daily existence can be challenging. Hoping for anonymity Cass is hugely disappointed when she is recognised in her first lesson and then becomes a target of gossip.
The fledgling romance with (detective) Ed which began in Hindsight had faded as the story began, although he too is working in Adelaide. It is Ed who Cass calls, however, when she becomes the victim of a vicious hate campaign. Drawn back together under these less than ideal circumstances Cass inevitable gets caught up in Ed's latest case investigating a serial killer.
While this is co-written by a male author I thought it was fair to include it in the AWW challenge as well.
Cancer is a disease that does not discriminate. Why some people get hit with it three times (the last bout terminal) like Connie Johnson and others don't is a mystery that medical science is yet to solve. I have no doubt that Connie would have preferred to remain anonymous as she battles the disease that will ultimately take her from her husband and children. However Connie is not the type to give in easily and using her actor brother Sam's profile she created an amazing event that not only raised an amazing amount of money for breast cancer research but also gave meaning and focus to Sam's life at a time when he really needed it.
I am excited to once again be participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2019. Although I am not currently reviewing books for the challenge, I am still reading. You can find my reviews from previous years below.
You can read my previous reviews by clicking on the links below.