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The boss of British historical fiction PHILIPPA GREGORY, is back at it. Her first instalment in an atmospheric new series, Tidelands, exchanges the prosperity of the royal courts for the obscure, tidal marshes of 15th century Southern England. EMMA HARVEY writes.
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Archive Discoveries

  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >
  • Heart surgeon PROFESSOR STEPHEN WESTABY has worked for 35 years to save ailing hearts and, in many cases, give his patients a second chance at life. In his new memoir, Fragile Lives, Westaby recounts remarkable and poignant cases, such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks before reaching six months of age. We asked him to tell us a bit about his life as a surgeon. Read on >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. Read on >
  • LUCY DURNEEN lectures in creative writing in Plymouth, England, and is the assistant editor of the literary journal Short Fiction. We asked her about the apparent resurgence of interest in short stories, her beginnings as a writer, and the blending of realism and fantasy in the stories in her new collection, Wild Gestures. Read on >
  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. Read on >
  • The nose is a wonderful thing. A new study has found that the human nose can distinguish between at least one trillion different smells. I love nothing more than sticking my nose inside a blooming rose as I walk Baxter along the street. But I also have a passionate hatred of the choking diesel fumes disgorged from nearby cruise ships. So even though I may be able to detect over a trillion odours, there are many of them I don’t want to smell! Kate Grenville’s new book, The Case against Fragrance, has had me pondering the aromas, the scents and odours that enter my nose – whether I want them to or not. In 2015 Kate started to get frequent headaches and other signs of ill health and, strangely, they seemed to get worse when she was on tour to promote her latest book.After some effort to isolate the cause, she discovered that it was perfumes or other fragrances that were the culprits. She felt debilitated. She loved to meet her readers but was bombarded with fragrances in crowded rooms. She was compelled to find out what it was about perfumes that could be causing her these health problems. She opened a can of worms. Read on >
  • Kit, only 19 years old, works for Shen Corporation
as a phenomenaut – a person who projects their consciousness into the bodies of animals bred for research purposes. This is the strange and intriguing premise of The Many Selves of Katherine North. ANGUS DALTON puts some questions to EMMA GEEN, author of this new novel. Read on >
  • When she was 16, MADELAINE DICKIE went to Denpasar, the capital 
of Bali, on a language exchange program.
 Since then she has been fascinated with Indonesia; she has lived and studied in our northern neighbour for three years and
 she speaks Indonesian fluently. Her first novel, Troppo, tells the story of Penny, an Australian expat who flees from her career- minded boyfriend in Perth to a seemingly carefree 
life of surfing in Indonesia. Madelaine tells us how she came to write the novel. Read on >
  • Recent research has revealed the astonishing capabilities of dogs. We know that they can help vision- impaired people, but they can also sniff out cancer and even help to locate missing people. CAT WARREN in What the Dog Knows recounts how she adopted an unruly German shepherd puppy, Solo, who is eventually trained to locate human corpses. Read on >
  • Most of us think of Australia as a sunny land filled with straightforward, open and candid people. But in ANNA ROMER’s version of the country, it’s a place filled with secrets and people who will do anything to keep them concealed. She talks with ALEX HENDERSON about her new book, Beyond the Orchard, Victoria’s haunted Otway Coast and the power of fear. Read on >
  • For some women, bad men cast an irresistibly magnetic spell. Melbourne-based author LAURA ELIZABETH WOOLLETT examines this often fatal attraction in  The Love of a Bad Man, a collection of 12 stories based on the lives of real women who sought the love of criminals. In this extract from ‘Eva’, the author imagines the post-coital thoughts of Eva Braun, who met Adolf Hitler when she was 17. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This gripping story ranges from the late 19th century in Finland to 1930s Oregon, taking in WWI; industrial unrest; farming and logging; salmon fishing; bootlegging during Prohibition; births, deaths and marriages; and, always, the importance of family in Aino’s life. Those fictional Finns who tamed the wilderness, coping with family tragedy as well as extreme weather, did it all with ‘sisu’ that Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness. Finns themselves believe it expresses their national character. Read on >

  • The Secrets We Kept is enjoyable and the characters are interesting. The film rights for this novel have been sold, and I imagine it will make a splendid and entertaining movie. Read on >

  • This author’s first bestselling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, was variously described as self-indulgent or marvellous. In a nod to some critics who found that contentious memoir portrayed an indulged, privileged white woman, Gilbert has this novel’s narrator to be just that, and what’s more, eventually realises it. Read on >

  • Quichotte is a fabulist tale that is satirical, speculative and sometimes bewildering. You’re either going to love Rushdie’s verbosity or you’ll take violently against it. Quichotte is for people who like their sentences long, their characters complex and gravitate to high-concept narrative themes. It’s highly unlikely you’ll read anything quite like it. Read on >

  • Lucy Treloar has conjured a world that is not so different from our own but the political, social, environmental and legal consequences that climate change has brought are slowly revealed. The best and worst of human nature is on display: from suspicious bystanders to trigger-happy vigilantes to those who offer help, even if it is in small ways. Kitty is a tough character and her journey is memorable. Part The Road, part western, part mystery, this is a brilliant novel. Read on >

  • The littlies will love the rhythm and rhyme in this enchanting tale. And the beautiful woodland paintings on each page bring such magic to the story. And there’s a lovely little twist at the end. A perfect bedtime story. Read on >

  • Today, at 10 Pomegranate Street, there are delicious smells coming from each apartment. You see, everyone at Number 10 is preparing a special dish to share with their neighbours. Mister Ping is stir-frying broccoli with sesame and soy while across the hall Maria is mashing avocados for her guacamole. Upstairs Senora Flores is cooking up a black bean soup while on the third floor Miss Ishida is making Oyako Don which is chicken & egg rice. And way up on the fifth floor there are wonderful smells of Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies and Strawberry Crumble. Read on >

  • This is such a clever little story that is so easy to relate to especially as the author’s illustrations are so evocative. And the colours he uses help to tell us exactly how Ravi is feeling. There’s a tiger in all of us isn’t there, especially when we are children. Read on >

  • From the Great White Shark wickedly smiling at you on the first page to the big, friendly Green Sea Turtle on the last, it’s a delight from beginning to end. Don’t miss it. The kids will love it and drive you crazy with all the new facts they’ve learnt. Read on >

  • Many stories are a journey in self-discovery and Abi Elphinstone’s first novel in the ‘Unmapped Chronicles’ is no exception. Elphinstone has presented an enjoyable, exciting and at times humorous story. I look forward to the next instalment. Read on >

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