In 1944 Emily Dean is dispatched from Melbourne to stay with her father’s relatives in rural Victoria. At the family property of Mount Prospect, Grandmother is determined to keep up standards despite the war, while Emily’s young aunt – the beautiful, fearless Lydia – refuses to befriend her. Feeling lonely and isolated, Emily can’t wait to go home.
But things start to improve when she encounters Claudio, the Italian prisoner of war employed as a farm labourer. And become more interesting still when her uncle William returns home wounded. He’s rude, traumatised and mostly drunk, yet a passion for literature soon draws them together.
A delightfully wry novel about desire, deceit and self-discovery.
‘A rich evocation of an era and a beautiful insight into the process of emerging from childhood into womanhood. Such a great read!’ —Margaret Pomeranz
‘A resonant and engaging story – illuminating and subtly compelling.’ —Rosalie Ham
‘This uplifting story of transformation should resonate with readers who like coming-of-age stories.’ —Books+Publishing
‘Funny and poignant and wise, it’s a tale of self-discovery and emotional intricacy, full of brilliantly written, complex women.’ —The Sydney Morning Herald