I already mentioned in my review of "Fly Away Peter" by David Malouf, that one of my blogger friends, Brona from Australia published a list of Australian novellas a while ago. I asked her which one she said she'd recommend and she said "Ladies of Missalonghi" by Colleen McCullough.
So, here we are. Like most of the girls of my generation, I have read "The Thorn Birds", so the name of the author was not unknown to me.
The location is a small town called Byron in the Blue Mountains of Australia and the story takes place just before World War I. Like many small towns, it is dominated by just a few people, in this case mainly the men of one large family. The women are the losers, especially the unmarried ones.
Having been born into a small village where my parents didn't grow up and having no family there, I know exactly what Colleen McCullough is talking about. She has retold life in such an environment very accurately.
All in all, this was a good read, a tad easy at times but that's what this sort of book is about. I would recommend it to anybody, no matter what you prefer.
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Apparently, the author was accused of plagiarism as the novel resembles "The Blue Castle" by L.M. Montgomery. I haven't read that one. Should I?
See Brona's review here.
From the back cover:
"The Hurlingford family have ruled the small town of Byron, nestled in the Blue Mountains, for generations. Wealthy, powerful and cruel, they get what they want, every time.
Missy Wright's mother, a Hurlingford by birth, has been shunned by her family since marrying for love, not money. Now widowed, the women live a quiet existence in genteel poverty. Plain, thin and unforgivably single, it seems Missy's life is destined to be dreary.
But then a stranger arrives in town. A divorcee from Sydney. And she opens Missy's eyes to the possibility of a happy ending.
This is an endearing tale, full of wit, warmth and romance, from the bestselling author of The Thorn Birds."