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Salt Creek – Lucy Treloar


Salt Creek is a real place in South Australia and some of the characters who appear on Treloar’s novel are historical figures. The story however, is fiction.

Set between 1855-1875 the story follows the lives of early Australian settlers, the Finch family – their misfortunes and fascinating times in the remote and harsh landscape of Salt Creek.


European attempts at farming destroy the natural habitat of the first inhabitants – the Ngarrindjeri. The social conscience of these early Australian settlers is soon taken over by the stronger desire to survive in their own terms.

The narrator, Hester Finch, tells the story as a series of flashbacks after her return to England, where despite everything she had to endure at Salt D=Creek, she misses the beauty if the landscape and the people.

Worth reading.



The Jade Boy – Cate Cain

The Jade Boy reminded me of the Clockwork Angel series – but set in an earlier time, the early 1700s.

Jem works as a servant in the London house of the of Duke Bellingham. His mother sews for the Duchessjpeg. Life is difficult – hard dirty work with no time for the fun that a normal 13 year old might have.

However a series of suspicious event and the appearance of the sinister Count Carazon, soon changes the world that he has come to know.

An interesting array of characters populate this book (and series) – Ptolemy and Cleo – the ‘mute; African slave and his monkey and Ann an apprentice witch aid Jem on the mission he has to carry out.

Suitable for junior teen readers.

Birthright – Tania Roxborogh

   Birthright completes the trilogy that began with Banquo’s son. Incredibly well researched into life at the time. I really like the continuation of the story of Macbeth, 9780143567783 and really

enjoyed Banquo’s son – but have found the second and third instalments a little ‘forced’.

If you like historical fiction – you will enjoy this.

Rooftoppers – Katherine Rundell

Rooftoppers is an unusual tale !


“After the sinking of the Victorian liner, Queen Mary, a baby girl with “hair the colour of lightning” is found floating in a cello case in the middle of the Channel. Her rescuer, the eccentric scholar Charles Maxim, names her Sophie, takes her home to London and brings her up – in defiance of the National Childcare Agency – to be as eccentric as he is. She wears homemade, brightly coloured trousers, and lives on chips, fish in tins, cheese and, occasionally, whisky. ” (Guardian)

As the authorities move in to remove her from Charles care , they flee to Paris, where they take to the roof tops – a place where a whole society exists.

Beautifully written.

Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd

Fascinating fictional account of the lives of one of the earliest female abolitionists and women’s The-Invention-of-Wingsright activists – Sarah Grinke – and her sister Angelina.

What I really enjoyed about this novel, was that this was a part of American history I absolutely no knowledge of and that I have been encouraged to read further into the lives of the Grimke sisters.

Double narrators – Sarah Grimke and a family slave – Handful – provide dual perspectives to the events that unfold in the novel.

Very good reading!

Magic and Makutu (Book 6 Aotearoa Series) – David Hair

cover-MAGIC AND MAKUTU-bannerThe 6th and final book in the Aotearoa series brings to a conclusion Matiu’s journey to save the both the worlds that he lives in. Familiar characters fill the pages – as Riki, Evie and his regular supporters are joined by some unexpacted ones!  Mat’s personal journey may seal the fate of his relationship with Evie – for if he succeeds he will be joined forever to the goddess Aroha – a duanting prospect!

Action and fantasy and a touch  NZ history as Mat attempts to recreate the signing of the Treaty – Tiriti o Waitangi – stolen in book 5.

Actions, adventure, fantasy, mythology and a bit of history in the mix.


The watcher in the shadows – Carlos Ruiz Zafon


Zafon is one of my favourite authors – he is probably more well know for his adult fiction series – The shadow in the wind .  His cross-genre mix of mystery, romance, thriller  and fantasy make for riveting reading. 

The watcher in the shadows tells the story of Irene and Ishmael. Irene has moved to Blue Bay far away from the life of luxury she has been used to. Her mother now forced to earn a living, housekeeps for the reclusive toymaker Lazarus (his name will be a clue for some!!). Irene and her brother have the run of most of the house, except for one wing. Lifesize toys fill the main rooms and create an air of wonder.

Ishmael’s cousin also works at the ‘big house’ and it is through her that he meets Irene. The house is full of secrets and mysterious events seem to be taking hold of their lives…….

A great read! 

You can check out his website here…..