Tag Archives: Tasmania

Review: The French Promise

The French Promise by Fiona McIntosh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Source: My local library

Fiona McIntosh dedicated this novel to Bryce Courtenay, “who convinced me [Fiona] I was a storyteller and insister I write down those tales.” Thank you, Bryce Courtenay and to Fiona, for such an amazing story of courage and hope.

The story flows very smoothly and it took me on an emotional ride as I was swept along first by grief and heartbreak, a bleak horizon, to hope, happiness, a warm kitchen in a cold windy English weather, and back again. These emotions were woven through the story with such expertise that sometimes it took me by surprise that I’ve moved on from one emotion to another.

We were taken from the hopeless and desolate concentration camp during WWII for a treat to bright sunny Tasmania and glamorous Paris. The differences in each place visited in the novel was visibly aromatic and I felt that I made this trip with the characters.

Note: I have only just found out, at time of writing this review, that there is a novel which precedes this one, [b:The Lavender Keeper|13506058|The Lavender Keeper|Fiona McIntosh|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1330577717s/13506058.jpg|19056756], so if you like to read in order, I’d suggest to read that one first

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Review: The Hunter

The Hunter
The Hunter by Julia Leigh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: My local library – Get your own copy from The Book Depository

M. (aka David Martin, for this trip at least) is being sent on a hunt of a nearly extinct, borderline mythical, creature, the thylacine (a Tasmanian tiger). He is, above all things, a hunter. M is solitary, efficient, and ruthless; lacking the social skills to interact with his kind with ease. This is the man of whose mind we inhabit in reading this book.

As the book is being told from the perspective of M, in fact, we are privy to his thoughts whether it runs to his awkwardness is social situation, his delight in setting up good traps, his pain, his secret wish…

She is happy to see him. At of the sound of his car she has come out of the house to wait on the lawn, with one hand deep in her pocket and the other waving – feebly, it seems – in greeting. She’s smiling that big smile. He manages to twinkle the fingers of one hand in response, thinking: What’s this? A Welcoming committee?

This was an interesting take to the story which opened the flaws of the character directly with the reader however because of this, we are missing other things that are outside of his mind and I felt this keenly. As with many other readers, M. is not a character you’d come to love so whilst I can definitely appreciate this bend of creativity, I can’t fully enjoy it. It became just so very sad…

On the other hand, the setting of the book was not picturesque. Rather, it was wild unforgiving relentless yet daunting in its beauty (or maybe, it’s the beauty of the words that I’ve been called to).

This is no god’s country, this is god-forsaken: it is perfect and precise. Perfect thousand-year-old trees, their lowest feathered branches almost tip-tipping; an open, soft and fragrant floor; the hard petals of each pine cone divisible by the golden mean. It is cold in here and dark, too, freckled with the faintest light.

A short novel with utterly flawed protagonists and powerful language.

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