I love book clubs and it’s wonderful to have one out here in tiny Pingaring – my hometown three hours south-east of Perth. It’s amazing how far ladies will travel to talk about books – and chat, drink wine and eat yummy food!! Our group of around ten come from all directions, some travel sixty kilometres to get here. But what a great way to read books outside of your comfort zone. I usually read romance, women’s fiction and YA. But the best thing about being part of our book club has meant pushing me outside of those genres, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
The Girl on The Train was one I never would have picked up to read, yet as it was our book club read I gave it a go. I found it easy going and it had me swiftly turning the pages to find out what was going to happen. I liked the twists and some I didn’t see coming – always a bonus because I can usually guess. It gave us lots to talk about, mainly how the women were all affected by a similar thread. Even though it was slightly disturbing, you still read the story for what it is and where it takes you emotionally. Do give it a try if you’re after something interesting.
Our next book is The String Diaries, which I’ve only just finished. I thought it was cleverly written, jumping from each generation until they all slotted in like a big puzzle. I found myself enjoying this read too, wanting to see what would happen to Hannah and her family from the ‘curse’ (for want of a better word) that haunted their family. I can’t imagine how you could live your life with the constant fear ‘he’ would turn up but taking the face of someone you love and without you realising it. I don’t want to give too much away but it has a supernatural thread, which is woven in beautifully and is very believable. Do try and persist with it as it all starts to make sense as you connect the dots.
For something a little different, I’m going to introduce you to a favourite series of mine that I stumbled across. It’s probably classed as YA and written by Brigid Kemmerer. They are called the Elementals and the first book is called Storm. It’s about Becca Chandler who saves Chris Merrick from being beaten up in the school car park and how it changes her life. The Merrick boys are Elementals. And through each book that follows, Spark and Spirit etc. we get to meet each of the four brothers. I found this series a great read, turning pages late into the night. The thing I like about YA is it’s fast-paced and has lots of dialogue and they are fun to read.
Fiona Palmer lives in the tiny rural town of Pingaring in Western Australia, three and a half hours south-east of Perth. She discovered Danielle Steel at the age of eleven, and has now written her own brand of rural romance. She has attended romance writers’ groups and received an Australian Society of Authors mentorship for her first novel, The Family Farm. She has extensive farming experience, does the local mail run, and was a speedway-racing driver for seven years. She spends her days writing, helping out in the community and looking after her two children.
by Fiona Palmer
Schoolteacher Natalie has always been a city girl. She has a handsome boyfriend and a family who give her only the best. But she craves her own space, and her own classroom, before settling down into the life she is expected to lead.
When Nat takes up a posting at a tiny school in remote Western Australia, it proves quite the culture shock, but she is soon welcomed by the swarm of inquisitive locals, particularly young student Billy and his intriguing single father, Drew.
As Nat’s school comes under threat of closure, and Billy’s estranged mother turns up out of the blue, Nat finds herself fighting for the township and battling with her heart. Torn between her life in Perth and the new community that needs her, Nat must risk losing it all to find out what she’s really made of – and where she truly belongs.
PRAISE FOR FIONA PALMER
‘Fiona Palmer just keeps getting better.’ Rachael Johns
‘Palmer’s passion for the land bleeds into the story, and her scenes are vivid and genuine, just as her characters are.’ Book’d Out
‘Fiona Palmer has well and truly earned her place as a leading writer of one of Australia’s much-loved genres.’ Countryman
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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