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wongcirclr

One of the great things about novels, particularly historical fiction, is that they bring things to life that you may know little, if anything about. I was aware that Australia was a penal colony for the British Empire and knew of the country's difficult and painful past with their Aboriginal population, but Kate Grenville's The Secret River personalizes it all in a sweeping tale loosely based on one of her ancestors. If that wasn't enough history, Grenville also throws in a good dose of the struggles of London's working class at the turn of the 19th century. This epic novel of convict-turned-colonist, William Thornhill, felt much bigger than its ~350 pages and is one of those that you really don't feel the impact of until you are nearly done. While I found it to be a bit slow going at times, it was difficult to not be fascinated, if not occasionally frustrated, by the complex relationship between the Thornhills and the Aborigines. It certainly stirred up the moral dilemmas for this white male living in a country with a similar colonial and conquering past. Not an easy book to read, but if you are looking to learn more about the Land Down Under this one is an eye-opener.

wongcirclr

A nice fast read that was funny, sad, and honest. It shows the dedication of a sister to her mentally challenged sister.