Bibliophile | Suddenly One Summer in regional Western Australia

Suddenly One Summer
Fleur McDonald
Allen & Unwin

Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life … growing up on a farm in South Australia, being a Jillaroo and co-owning a 8000 acre property in regional Western Australia.

Her familiarity with farms and the bush is entrenched in her tenth novel which is set in both Western and South Australia.Brianna Donahu manages the family farm in Merriwell Bay in Western Australia with her father Russell.

As well as looking after two boisterous boys, she is with the volunteer fire brigade while her husband is a fly-in-fly-out criminal lawyer in Perth. Her husband is away when there is a catastrophic fire warning with temperatures forecast to reach 43 degrees. Their son goes missing and Brianna’s mind goes back to the disappearance of her mother when she was a child.

South Australian Detective Dave Burrows and his partner Jack are at a farm investigating the apparent disappearance of sheep and wool from Guy, a farmer who might be in the early stages of dementia. As the detectives investigate Guy’s past, it becomes apparent that he two stories are connected.  The narrative takes a while to get going but gathers momentum at breakneck speed when it does.

The effect of isolation on individuals and relationships, the difficulty of coping as people age and the impossibility of solving crimes in the vastness that is regional Australia are all issues that need to be considered as everyone waits for the rains.

Lezly Herbert

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