This is a novel about going back. When her marriage suddenly breaks down, Annabelle travels to her childhood home in Northern Queensland, leaving the life of an academic in the city behind. What she discovers is not just her own past but Australia's painful history. I was moved by the spirit of lyricism and generosity in this story. It's a harsh landscape with brutal secrets but forgiveness is possible. And the gentle love story between middle-aged characters will cheer the heart of anyone who thinks their chance for love is over.
She had not shared her thoughts about these things with anyone for years. Never with Steven. He was not interested. With Bo she felt she had been given permission to re-admit her memories of those days, riding out with her father in the vast silent scrubs of the Suttor; the incense of burning sandalwood in the air at their lunchcamp fire, the smell of their horses and her father's pipe, the pleasure in his eyes to have her by his side. Steven had never been interested to know anything of her old country. Like most of their Melbourne friends and colleagues, Steven had considered Queensland culturally a lost cause and had paid it no serious attention. The landscapes of the Suttor had occupied a secret region of her heart never shared with her husband.