Dear readers, I hope you and your families are well. I really appreciate all the comments you leave on my posts and the emails you send me – it’s lovely to know that our words are connecting us.
This week, I bring you a review from one of Australia’s great fiction and non-fiction writers – Kate Grenville. Kate has a writing career spanning decades and has recently published her 16th book.
Her latest novel is A room made of leaves, a historical novel set in Australia in the late 18th century. Kate positions herself, Kate Grenville, as the editor of Elizabeth Macarthur’s secret diary, which is a fictionalised account of Elizabeth’s story of moving to Australia and surviving life there despite her husband’s bullish behaviour and actions.
Kate wrote a letter to readers on the Text Publishing blog, explaining that she had her idea when she read five words in a letter from Elizabeth – I blush at my error. The words were so unlike the restrained, bland and polite letters which Elizabeth usually wrote home. Kate knew she had a story here.
And she does. It’s a wonderful, immersing read.
While A room made of leaves is all about Elizabeth McArthur with a scattering of minor female characters, it made me think about all the stories of other women who made a new life in Australia in the 1780s.
Happy reading and listening!