Mother’s Day is fast approaching and what better way to spoil your Mum or that special mentor, grandmother, neighbour or friend than with a good book. I’ve been reading up a storm lately and am excited to share some of my recent favourites. Others still remain on my wish list ( hint, hint to my boys). These should all be a sure fire hit with the special person in your life when May 12 rolls around.The best part is that I’ve chosen my selection from a batch of talented Australian women. Australian authors are making their mark the world over and it’s great to celebrate them and their hard work at this special time of the year.
1. The True Story of Maddie Bright – Mary – Rose MacColl. This gem of a story is from talented Brisbane writer, Mary- Rose MacColl and I promise, you won’t be able to put it down.
It follows the life of 17 year old Maddie Bright, former servant who suddenly becomes a writer for……. Edward , Prince of Wales on his tour Down Under in 1920. Readers are given a behind -the scenes- look at the devoted staff who look after the Prince – the naughty ‘ Dickie ‘ Mountbatten , loyal friend Rupert Waters and vivacious American press secretary Helen Burns.Then there is the totally charming and boyish Prince Edward himself. The story details their travels in the close quarters of the Royal train. Maddie Bright is buoyed as she is finally doing something of importance but when the unthinkable happens life is swift and changing.
Meanwhile, Helen and Rupert have their own wartime story which is relayed through excerpts from the bestselling book Autumn Leaves.
Flash forward and Maddie Bright is living in a ramshackle house in Paddington, Brisbane. She has her drunken neighbour Ed as a friend, the TV to shout at and the door knocker religions to harangue. When young journalist Victoria Byrd, who is covering the tragic death of Princess Diana, gets a whiff of the reclusive Maddie’s identity Maddie’s version of the story may change.
Spanning 1920, 1981 and 1997 this tale which crosses continents builds a compelling story of love and fame, motherhood and friendship. Set at key moments in the lives of two of the most loved and hated figures of the twentieth century, in Maddie Bright, readers will find a friend and be fascinated by her compelling story.
2. The Place on Dalhousie– Melinda Marchetta. One of Australia’s best loved authors is back doing what she does best, creating endearing characters and family stories set in the Melbourne of her childhood. You will be engrossed in the story of nineteen year old Rosie, her stepmother Martha and the steadfast yet troubled Jimmy, who many will remember from Marchetta’s Saving Francesca. Rosie Gennaro and Jimmy Hailler first meet during the Queensland floods. When they meet again Rosie has a son, the adorable Toto. Rosie is reluctantly sharing the house built by her father, Seb with her stepmother, Martha. Both women refuse to move out of the house that they both lay claim to. Filled with friends, family, honesty and love this moving story will remind you of the interconnectedness in all our lives and you’ll fall in love with, side with and cry with this family who are all doing their best to make their way and face their responsibilities in this crazy world.
3. The Spotted Dog- Kerry Greenwood. For the Mum who loves contemporary crime look no further than the marvellous work of Kerry Greenwood. Kerry is also the author of the well- loved Phryne Fisher Mysteries. This novel is the seventh instalment in the Corinna Chapman series and has been long awaited by fans like myself. Corinna is a talented baker whose store Earthly Delights is at the centre of a delightful Melbourne inner city community. Corinna lives in the building called Insula, which is inhabited by a quirky cast of characters. Her handsome lover, Daniel is a private detective and between them they manage to be submerged in a plethora of mysteries. There is the disappearance of the spotted dog, the break ins at Insula, not to mention the mysterious virus that has infiltrated the local café’s computer. Are they isolated incidents or could they be interrelated? Greenwood will keep you guessing until the end. You’ll fall in love with Greenwood’s characters and delight in her mouthwatering descriptions of her baked goods and hearty dinners. Delightful recipes are included and I defy you not to crave an afternoon G&T after joining Corinna on the Insula rooftop.
4. First on my wish list is Queenslander Josephine Moon’s latest novel The Gift of Life. Set in the Tin Man Café , a chic Café and roasting house in Melbourne, it is the story of owner Gabby McPhee and her life after her recent heart transplant. Gabby’s life is looking up until the arrival of a mysterious stranger. This stranger is Krystal Arthur who believes that Gabby has her deceased husband’s heart in her chest. The two women must come together to try to unlock the secret’s in Krystal’s lost husband Evan’s heart in order to free their own. This novel has been highly recommended by many of my bookworm friends.
5. The Things We Cannot Say has been a labour of love for my Instagram friend, Kelly Rimmer and I was so happy to see it has been garnering a wealth of five star reviews. It’s based on Kelly’s research on her own family, so is filled with compassion and love. It’s 1942 and Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny….. and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century. Slipping between Nazi- occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories with emotion, perseverance, loyalty, love and honour. The Things We Cannot Say reminds readers of the devastation that can be wrought when the truth is silenced. Tissues will be needed.
6. For those lovers of a good thriller I can’t go past West Australia’s Irish born author Dervla Mc Tiernan. In her latest work The Scholar we see the return of Detective Cormac Reilly, who is called by his partner Dr Emma Sweeney when she stumbles across a hit and run victim outside Galway University late one evening. This leads to Reilly being first on the scene to a murder that would never have otherwise been assigned to him. Dervla is a master of suspense and this is one book I’ve been anticipating since I met Dervla at last year’s Brisbane Writers Festival.
So this Mother’s Day take a leaf out of my book and enjoy some peace and quiet in your favourite cosy spot curled up with a lovely new book. Books can be an inexpensive gift that never goes out of style. So tell me what books are on your Mother’s Day wish list ? Do you have a good book you’ve read lately to recommend to our readers? Wherever you are and whatever you do this Mother’s Day take time out and enjoy being whisked away for a while with a book.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).