Books feature intriguing Australian worlds



November 6, 2020 - 12:18 PM

“The Exiles” by Christina Baker Kline is a story of early Australia told through the lives of three women.  Pregnant by her employer’s son, Evangeline finds herself exiled to an Australian penal colony.  During the voyage, she makes a friend of Hazel, a midwife and herbalist.  In Australia, the third woman enters the picture in the form of Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of an aboriginal chief.

Another Australian setting, this time contemporary, is found in “The Girl in the Mirror” by Rose Carlyle.  Iris has always envied her identical twin sister Summer.  When their rich father dies, his will stipulates that his fortune will go to the first of his six children (by three different wives) who produces a grandchild.  Summer is already pregnant, but when she is lost at sea during a sailing trip with Iris, Iris decides to assume her identity.  She convinces Summer’s husband that she is Summer and that she lost the child.  She tries to get pregnant.  But her lack of knowledge about some aspects of Summer’s life threatens to expose her deceit.

One more Australian based novel is “The Lost Love Song” by Minnie Darke.  Concert pianist Diana, while on tour, is composing a love song to let her boyfriend Arie know that she is ready to marry him.  Then tragedy strikes, and Diana never makes it back home.  The love song, however, lives on.  It was heard by another pianist, who plays it for someone else.  Each hearer is affected and passes it on in some way until eventually the song makes its away around the world, all the way back to Australia and Arie.  

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