If you love Lesley Pearse, you're sure to fall for Tamara McKinley!
Claire's greatest dream is to leave behind the quiet life at the cattle station where she grew up for the bright lights of swinging 1960s Sydney. But just when it seems it might finally become a reality, she's summoned to a family reunion organised by her formidable Great Aunt Aurelia. Annoyed that she must again put her life on hold, Claire begrudgingly agrees, but what she discovers there could challenge everything she thought she knew about the station, her family, and even herself.
Claire Pearson is a successful veterinarian in Sydney, Australia, who is called to her family's outback homestead to resolve old family conflicts in this multigenerational drama by McKinley (Jacaranda Vines). Claire has been estranged from her relatives for five years. As her visit unfolds, it becomes clear that she fled to Sydney after a fight with her parents over a mysterious gravestone on the family property. McKinley weaves Claire's story with that of her mother, Ellie, who was abandoned by her mother as a little girl and witnessed her father's death in an outback storm as a young teen; Claire's fiery sister, Leanne, who has always been envious of Claire's looks and easy successes; and Aurelia, the wise old aunt who watches over the family and knows all of its tangled secrets, which she slowly relinquishes as Claire asks more questions about her true parentage. In spite of the melodramatic revelations, the most interesting character here is the Australian landscape itself, the dry, dusty stretches of land dotted with cattle stations every 200 miles, where locals birth horses with their bare hands and everyone knows everyone else. McKinley's human characters are far less captivating, their stories patched together confusingly as the book switches between Ellie's past and Claire's present without adequate transitions or cues. These convolutions, along with thinly drawn characters and predictable revelations, make this an unremarkable effort.