'This is a wonderful novel, both uplifting and heartbreaking.' Good Reading Magazine (5 star review)
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INDIE BOOK AWARD FOR DEBUT FICTION 2020
You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things.
But Elise wasn't from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways.
Discover the world of a small homestead perched on the sunburnt farmland of northern Victoria. Meet Elise, whose urbane 1950s glamour is rudely transplanted to the pragmatic red soil of the Mallee when her husband returns to work the family farm. But you cannot uproot a plant and expect it to thrive. And so it is with Elise. Her meringues don't impress the shearers, the locals scoff at her Paris fashions, her husband works all day in the back paddock, and the drought kills everything but the geraniums she despises.
As their mother withdraws more and more into herself, her spirited, tearaway daughters, Marjorie and Ruby, wild as weeds, are left to raise themselves as best they can. Until tragedy strikes, and Marjorie flees to the city determined to leave her family behind. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can't forget...
PRAISE FOR WEARING PAPER DRESSES
'In the same vein as Rosalie Ham, Brinsden weaves a compelling story of country Australia with all its stigma, controversy and beauty.' Fleur McDonald
'This heartbreaking, melancholy and hopeful debut novel is full of inventive, haunting imagery and is beautifully written.' Books+Publishing
'a sharply focused portrait of a stoic Mallee farmer, his highly-strung city wife, their two very different daughters, in an austere place and time.' Sydney Morning Herald