Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

DOTSKIM Wilkins is one of the few authors who I gladly step outside my comfort genre to read.

Her latest, Daughters of the Storm, is the first book in her fantasy series, Blood and Gold. It is the story of five princess sisters looking to save their father’s life and find the culprit behind his malady.

Bluebell, heir to the throne and apple of her father’s eye, is after blood. But only after she saves her dad’s life. Her sister Ash, is studying midwifery and duly ignoring her talent as an undermagician. Rose is betraying a peace treaty between two kingdoms by following her heart outside the confines of her marriage. Then there’s Willow and Ivy, twins who couldn’t be more different. Ivy, a promiscuous and selfish girl whose own pouting will vex her sisters and Willow, a devout worshipper of a new faith that will divide the kingdom of Thyrsland.

While they’re all working with a common goal in the first book, you can see how each of their stories will set off other events that ripple throughout the series.

Also of note, is the not-so-thinly-veiled feminist slant – not just because the story is female-centric but because the new trimartyr faith effectively removes equality from women.

I have always admired Wilkins’ skill in setting enchanting backdrops for her stories, it is effortless and at the same time enthralling. I often liken Wilkins to one of her mystical, magical characters - able to summon forth amazing tales in her reader’s mind with the merest flick of her pen.

Daughters of the Storm is no different, though this one brandishing a thrilling conclusion that leaves you Googling when the next one is due out… can’t help you sorry, but I suspect the Raven King will swoop into book two.




Wife On The Run by Fiona Higgins

wifeonrunHAVING really enjoyed Fiona Higgins’ first book, The Mother’s Group, I squealed when I saw she had a new book out.

Wife On The Run tells the story of a woman who decides to take on her long-desired Aussie adventure after discovering her husband’s infidelity.

I saw parallels between this and Kylie Ladd’s new book, Mothers and Daughters. Both stories take the tedium of motherhood out of suburbia and into the vast Australian landscape and both deal with the ramifications of social media on young people.

But unlike Ladd, this book isn’t based on arbitrary schoolground friendships, but family. It also dares to mix consummated desire into the confusion of marriage breakdown.

As with Higgins’ first book, there was an odd pace to it, though possibly because I was expecting the characters to lap our continent and they seemed to take too long getting to Darwin.

But the characters are where Higgins’ talent lies. I loved Paula (Pow-la – as I kept pronouncing it) and her ongoing vivisection of how her marriage and motherhood had bluntened her.

Paula’s shocking return to normality had me on the verge of tears – desperate for her to uncover further unpalatable truths and step away from domestic oblivion.

Great read!


Being Jade by Kate Belle

beingjadeBEING Jade is Kate Belle’s second book. I fell in love with her writing in her debut, The Yearning, and while Being Jade has some challenging characters, I equally loved this book.

Explaining to one’s husband why you love a book about infidelity is fraught with complications, and without Belle’s way with words, I am at a loss to define just how she delves into the parameters of love and commitment with such aplomb.

It is the story of a married couple – loyal, dependable Banjo and his “wild” wife, Jade – who is ripped apart after Banjo dies tragically after an argument. But mystery surrounds their last encounter, one that his daughters will try to untangle as their mother sinks into a coma-like depression.

Some will determine this as erotica and others will undoubtedly read it as a feminist work. But despite there being much more sex in this, it was less about mind-blowing sex and more about how much of ourselves we forfeit to meet other people’s expectations.

What I took away from Being Jade, aside from the sad truth about what happened that fateful day, was a message about relationships.

Belle laments our tendency to believe people owe us certain things simply because they are our mother, brother, sister, father. Whoever. As if we have some claim on who they are because of a blood relationship or marriage certificate.

Being Jade will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book. Bring on the next one, Kate!




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