Publisher: 24th November 2020 by Hachette Australia
Pages: 390 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: historical fiction
My Rating: 5 cups
How far would you travel to find home? A captivating and sweeping historical love story, set against the raw beauty and epic expanse of a cattle station in rural Queensland from the much-loved Jenny Ashcroft.
Wanted: companion to escort a young, orphaned child home to Australia.
All expenses as well as passage covered.
Interested parties to apply without delay to 32 Williams Street, Belgravia.
Rose Hamilton is in desperate need of a fresh start. There are so many reasons she should ignore the advertisement: the war, those treacherous seas, her family, her fiance... but she cannot help herself. Within weeks, she is boarding an enormous convoy, already too attached to five-year-old Walter Lucknow.
But rural Queensland, and the cattle station home of Walter's parents, is not as either of them were told to expect. Rose cannot leave this little boy she's grown to love until he is happy, and she knows the key to this is Walter's wounded fighter pilot uncle Max. But how will she ever part with Walter? And what if he isn't the only reason she wants to stay?
Perfect for fans of Kirsty Manning, Dinah Jefferies, Victoria Hislop and Natasha Lester.
Jenny came on my radar with her first novel, ‘Beneath a Burning Sky’ and by her third novel, ‘Meet Me in Bombay’ I was completely under her literary spell. If you are a historical fiction fan and have not come across any of Jenny’s books, then I am here to tell you, you are missing out! I have been to Bombay, Egypt and Singapore. So imagine my delight to discover that her latest offering would be in my very own backyard, Australia.
For an author to consistently provide five star reading over four books is something special - there most certainly is magic within each line with words floating off each page. Every read has been an evocative and sensory experience, filled with characters that speak to you on many levels and stories that draw you in and leave you sitting in reverie long after the last page has been turned. Once more I am in awe of how Jenny masterfully weaves a sense of time and place and heart and soul into her characters concerning the circumstances they find themselves in.
‘I miss who you used to be. God. She pressed her forehead to the window pane, closing her eyes, a tear rolling down her own cheek. She’d missed her too. And she hated, hated, remembering. So impossible, though, to ever, truly, forget.’
On this occasion it is Rose and her strength to brave the unknown, with a little five year old boy's (Walter) hand held ever so tightly in her own, as they traipse across the globe. There is one passage, towards the end (no spoilers) when Rosie and Walter had me reaching for a tissue to wipe away tears and my husband concernedly frowning and asking if I was okay. That is the power of words and stories that Jenny is capable of.
‘But she didn’t want to leave him either. Not tomorrow. Not ever. She didn’t want to leave any of them. She didn’t want to leave Australia. Somewhere along the line, this land, with its lush beauty, its peace and gigantic sky, had come to feel like her home, too. ‘Then just stay,’ said Esme. ‘Stay ... ’
‘I can’t,’ Rose said.
Jenny’s research and attention to detail is spot on. From life in war torn London, to the frightening journey across the oceans during a war, to station life in outback Queensland - I can feel everything from the ocean swell to the blazing heat of the summer sun in Australia. Each of the characters bring so much to this tale - from fatherly Lionel, to wild yet sad Esme, to the stoicism and solidity of Max ... and don’t even get me started on poor, sweet Walter. Yet it is Rosie - strong, resilient Rosie - who is at the very heart of this tale. You will laugh and you will cry.
‘Esme pulled a face at them both. Bugger me.’
Jenny is an incredible writer of historical fiction and, as I noted way back with her first book, whether or not historical fiction is your thing it doesn’t matter for this is so much more than that. Escape to an often harsh and unforgiving time, to a family that needed to rebuild itself and to a belief in being true to yourself in order to find your one true path. ‘Under the Golden Sun’ will take you on such an unforgettable journey, you simply would not want to miss it.
‘Rosie, we all have a past, it exists within us, and whilst forgetting may be impossible, learning to live with what is gone is so often essential to enjoying whatever is yet to come.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.