The Sparrows of Edward Street


Elizabeth Stead - 2011
    It’s November 1948, and the widowed Hanora Sparrow and her teenage daughters, Aria and Rosy, have fallen on tough times; when they move into a housing commission camp on the outskirts of Sydney, their spirits are low and their prospects few. While Hanora copes via various pharmaceutical offerings and Rosy with nothing other than indignity, the spirited Aria rises immediately to the challenge of keeping the family together in such trying circumstances. With her endless curiosity and lively sense of humor, Aria draws the Sparrow women into close friendships with other camp residents and supports her family through her work as a photographic model in the city. Despite the setbacks, Aria strives toward their eventual salvation.

The Last Will and Testament of Henry Hoffman


John Tesarsch - 2015
    Afterwards, hisdaughter Eleanor discovers a will, in which he has left his entireestate to a woman she has never heard of before. Hiding it fromher siblings, she sets out to solve this mystery, and to unearth theconfronting truth about her reclusive father’s past.But Henry isn’t the only Hoffman with secrets. In the months thatfollow, his children learn things about each other they could neverpreviously have imagined.The Last Will and Testament of Henry Hoffman is a gripping andmany-layered story of love and loss, conflict and survival. Itexplores subjects that affect us all: guilt and redemption, theinescapability of the past, and how trauma resonates acrossgenerations.

The Thorn Birds


Ann Ward
    [Penguin Readers Level 6]

You Belong Here


Laurie Steed - 2018
    Soon they're the parents of three young children.Initially, the kids keep them together until love turns to lies and the family implodes. As they become adults, each child faces love and loss in the shadow of their family legacy.You Belong Here is a book about trust and connection. About what keeps us going in spite of ourselves. About a place where we belong.

Landscape of Farewell


Alex Miller - 2007
    After the death of his much-loved wife and his recognition that he will never write the great study of history that was to be his life's crowning work, Max believes his life is all but over. Everything changes, though, when his valedictory lecture is challenged by Professor Vita McLelland, a feisty young Australian Aboriginal academic visiting Germany. Their meeting and growing friendship sets Max on a journey that would have seemed unthinkable just a few short weeks earlier.When, at Vita's invitation, Max travels to Australia, he forms a deep friendship with her uncle, Aboriginal elder Dougald Gnapun. It is a friendship that not only gives new meaning and purpose to Max, but which teaches him the profound importance of truth-telling in reconciliation with his own and his country's past.

Noble Norfleet


Reynolds Price - 2002
     A few days before Noble Norfleet's eighteenth birthday, his family suffers a violent catastrophe. The sole survivor, Noble throws himself into a reckless affair with his Spanish teacher, whose husband is fighting in Vietnam. When Noble graduates, he enlists as well and, while serving as an army medic, experiences a mysterious vision that seems tied to uncanny events in his recent past. Not until thirty years later -- after a life short on friends and troubled by a compulsion to worship women's bodies -- is Noble challenged to rethink the decades-old mystery of his family tragedy. Faced with an ominous choice, Noble finally comes to accept an enormous duty he's long tried to ignore. Soon, perhaps for the first time, his future seems hopeful.

The Last Thread


Michael Sala - 2012
    From his early years in the Netherlands to growing up in Australia during the 1980s, Michael recalls the secret surrounding his estranged Greek father and how scandalous events from the past fractured his family. This is a moving chronicle of a boy’s turbulent relationship with his bullying stepfather, aloof older brother and adored mother, whose cheerful apathy has devastating consequences. As his life unfolds, Michael – now a father – must decide if he can free himself from the dark pull of the past.Reminiscent of the great autobiographical novels of JM Coetzee and Michael Ondaatje, The Last Thread is a beautifully crafted work from an exceptional new writer.

The Playground


Shannon Heuston - 2017
    Then sixth grade happened. Suddenly finding herself a favorite target of bullies, Rachel endures an endless year of escalating abuse. Adults turn a blind eye, or worse, blame her. At the end of that year, she vows to forget what happened at George Washington Elementary and move on with her life. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as she finds herself caught in a life long trap, continuously seeking validation from abusive men who remind her of her long gone bullies. The Playground illustrates the lasting trauma caused by childhood bullying, demonstrating how it continues to adversely affect the life of its victims many years after the bullies have vanished. Note: This book contains some sexually explicit scenes. It is intended for mature audiences only.

The Sky and the Forest


C.S. Forester - 1948
    He controlled life and death in his village. Then he turned outward and conquered his neighbors. He felt very fierce. But this was not to last. Europe was on the march in Africa, and destiny in the form of King Leopold's agents trod on Loa. They sacked his kingdom with an avarice unimaginable to the natives. Soon nothing was the same...nor would it ever be again. "A dazzling exhibition of the author's storytelling virtuosity." (The New York Times)

Walking Into the Night


Olaf Olafsson - 2001
    His days are filled with the rituals of Hearst’s life and the demands of running a grand house. But in his most private thoughts and memories, he relives another life: his abandonment of his wife and children in Iceland for an actress in New York, a reckless affair and a tragic death, financial downfall, and the profound retreat from life that led him to Hearst’s San Simeon. No one else knows the secret of the man he once was—husband, father, businessman, lover—and, ultimately, even he will choose to forget that this person ever existed. Walking into the Night is a stunning portrait of a man wrestling with guilt and secret passions. Olaf Olafsson surpasses anything he has accomplished thus far in this wise and beautiful novel.

Union Belle


Deborah Challinor - 2005
    Times were tough and when the Government implemented harsh and heavy-handed emergency regulations, families were divided along political lines, and bitter accusations of sabotage and treachery began to tear small mining communities apart. Against this emotive backdrop, in the tiny mining village of Pukemiro, a story of love and treachery is also being played out in the personal lives of some of those intimately connected with the strike. Ellen McCabe, wife of the local union secretary and hero, Thomas McCabe, and a life-long Union woman, finds herself caught up the passion of the fight and a new found passion of her own - when a charismatic war veteran, Jack Vaughan comes to Pukemiro and befriends her husband. In a powerful tale of love and conflict Ellen is forced to examine her loyalties and make heart shattering choices, as the country and community around her is pulled apart. A full-blooded romance set in times of conflict, Union will do for the Waikato what Denniston Rose did for the West Coast - and much more.

The Lost Life


Steven Carroll - 2009
    Two young lovers, Catherine and Daniel, have trespassed into the rose garden of Burnt Norton, an abandoned house in the English countryside.Hearing the sound of footsteps, they hide, and then witness the poet T.S. ('Tom') Eliot and his close friend Emily enter the garden and bury a mysterious tin in the earth. Tom and Emily knew each other in America in their youth; now in their forties, they have come together again. In the enclosed world of an English village one autumn, their story becomes entwined with that of Catherine and Daniel, who are certain in their newfound love and full of possibility.

Me and Rory Macbeath


Richard Beasley - 2013
    The year Elvis died. And the year twelve-year-old Jake Taylor meets Rory Macbeath. Until then, Jake's world was small, revolving around his street, his school, and the courthouse where his mum, Harry, was a barrister. His best friend lives only a few houses away. For them daylight is for spinning a cricket ball, riding bikes around the neighbourhood and swimming at the pool until their skin is wrinkled and the zinc on their noses has washed away. But then Rory Macbeath moves into the red-brick house at the end of Rose Avenue and everything changes. At first Jake has his doubts about Rory. But after long days and nights of swimming, fishing and daring each other into trouble, Jake discovers Rory has talents and courage beyond anyone he's ever known. Then, early one evening, Rory disappears. And everyone on Rose Avenue is about to discover why. For Jake and Rory, nothing will ever be the same.

All The Green Year


Don Charlwood - 1965
    

The Submerged Cathedral


Charlotte Wood - 2004
    Most of all, however, it is about an enduring and sacred love—a love stronger than death—and the journeys undertaken in its name.