Mothers and Daughters by Kylie Ladd

madHAVING devoured Last Summer (also by Kylie Ladd), I was very excited to hear she had turned her pen towards a female-centric storyline in Mothers and Daughters.

Mothers and Daughters takes four mothers onto a journey to a remote Aboriginal community north of Broome, they take their four daughters (former schoolmates) to get reacquainted and show them some of Australia.

But as is the case with most family holidays, it doesn’t all go according to plan.

Ladd writes with gentle Australian flavour that I admire and her characters – from the altruistic Amira to the casually racist Fiona – are believable, even if their friendship doesn’t always seem organic.

While Mothers and Daughters had me daydreaming of a Aussie holiday, the pace of the storyline did not increase until towards the very end and I began to wonder on occasion where this story was headed.

Still, it was a satisfying read and a fair warning to young girls about the perils of trying to grow up too fast.

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The Yearning by Kate Belle

untitledWHERE to begin with this book… The Yearning is Kate Belle’s first novel and I have, without hesitation, placed her firmly with the likes of Nikki Gemmell and Susan Johnson. She’s that good.

The Yearning tells the simple story of a schoolgirl enraptured by her new teacher, Solomon, as she discovers her own sexuality.

Enlisted to help the school ‘scrag’ spy on the teacher, who happens to be her neighbour, she finds herself drawn towards the charismatic man.

He helps her explore sexuality in a mature, idealistic sense and, unbeknownst to her, she offers him an escape as only young people are free to do.

What results, however, is a life-long yearning when they’re discovered by the girl’s parents and the couple are wrenched apart. Their relationship never reaches the natural conclusion of age differences and disillusions, so she is left with “what ifs” that pepper her marriage and motherhood.

Until she meets him again.

The Yearning is exquisite reading – a revelation for any woman recollecting her own sexual awakening. But more than that, Belle reveals the damage a lover can cause, the danger of fantasies ruling your reality.

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Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

lost*siiigh*

THIS book is an emotional triumph of a debut novel for Brooke Davis. An interesting breed of novel in the vein of Romy Ash’s Floundering, Lost & Found takes you on a simple journey with earnest characters trying to understand life through death.

It begins with seven-year-old Millie Bird, left at a shopping mall by her mother after her father’s death. The resourceful child makes friends with two unlikely seniors, both struggling with their own grief, and begins a journey to find her runaway mother.

In places I could not tell where this story was headed at all, which I found delightful, but sometimes my weariness for the character’s immense loss was overwhelming.

Their journey injects some Australian flavour into the mix which was comforting but subtle.

Davis wrote this book (plus other musings on death, grief and loss) following the unexpected death of her mother. And I read this after my mother died, so it spoke to me in a way it might not have done at another time. Davis deftly ties up the confusion and the pain, the injustice and the need to keep breathing, in a simple narrative.

Lost & Found was one of those rare books you read and feel it was written just for you, including the way one character touch-types words out… I totally do that! :)

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