For Theta* Book Club
This heart-wrenching story is about love and choices and consequences.
“Right and wrong can be like bloody snakes; so tangled up that you can’t tell which is which until you’ve shot ‘em both, and then it’s too late.” p.194
A young man who survives WWI finds solace in managing the most remote and isolated lighthouse off the southwest corner of Australia. He does not intend to fall in love and share his isolation but a girl he meets convinces him he can have love and a beautiful future. However. When fate brings them a baby in an atypical fashion, the decisions they make in order to be a family wreak havoc as much as any crazy storm tempest on a remote outpost.
Extremely well-written and thought-provoking. Themes of marriage and commitment, mother-child love, horrors of war, and moral conflict are all explored from many angles.
“The baby stayed at his prayers, locked in some secret conversation with God.”
Want to know more? Check out these EXCELLENT reviews: Lisa’s mom’s review at Lit & Life; Ti’s review at Book Chatter; and Caribou’s Mom recommends this for readers who like complex characters driven by internal conflict. For many more, try: Results – Fyrefly’s Book Blogger Review Search Engine.
RATING: Four slices and an extra bite or two of orange chiffon pie.
“Mamma says there’ll be oranges, does she? Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed.” -p.173
stodge p.16 “Nor were his lungs turned to glue or his brains to stodge by the gas.” - n. heavy and filling (and usually starchy) food.
toff p.19 ”…, some toff’s daughter traveling on her own.” – n. a member of the upper class.
stoush p.25 “… the men who’d come back a bit too fond of a drink or a stoush” – n. fight or argument.
jarrah p.27 ”The long, think jetty at Point Partaguese was made from the same jarrah that rattled along it in rail carriages to be hauled onto ships.” – n. A eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus marginata) native to western Australia, yielding durable timber.
astragal p.38 “the light room was interrupted only by the crisscrossing of astragals that kept the panes in place.” – n. a convex molding or wooden strip across a surface or separating panels, typically semicircular in cross-section.
nous p.39 ”All you need is patience and a bit of nous.” – n. the mind or intellect.
skua p.44 ”as smoothly as a skua gliding on currents of air.” – n. a large brownish predatory seabird related to the gulls.
plimsolls p.69 ”and goes without shoes whenever she can, but on the cliffs she endures plimsolls to protect her soles from the granite.” – n. BRIT. a light rubber-soled canvas shoe, worn esp. for sports.
scion p.113 ”The simple fact was that, sure as a graft will take and fuse on a a rosebush, the root stock of Isabel’s motherhood – her every drive and instinct, left raw and exposed by the recent stillbirth – had grafted seamlessly to the scion, the baby which needed mothering.” – n. a young shoot or twig of a plant.
effluction p.122 “as though the Lights were not impressed by something as prosaic as the mere effluction of time.” NOT FOUND as spelled, but did find EFFLUXION – passing of time, legal term.
cadged p.155 ”said his prayers, and cadged reading and writing lessons from the Paster’s wife on Saturdays.” – n. BRIT, ask for or obtain something to which one is not strictly entitled.
dugite p.155 ”his cherished wife was bitten just above the ankle of her pale kid boot by a dugite” – n. a common name for the highly venomous snake, Pseudonaja affinis, an Australian species.
goanna p.249 ”The ones you need to worry about least are the fast-mover, who survive by disappearing: the racehorse goanna, the parrots they call “twenty-eights”, the brush-tailed possum.” - n. Australian term for monitor or iguana.
furphy p.274 “All the stories about being from Sydney – that could all be a furphy.” – n. A furphy, also commonly spelled furfie, is Australian slang for a rumour, or an erroneous or improbable story.
gobbets p.289 ”Townsfolk read the newspapers to extract what gobbets they could, but things had gone quiet of late.” – n. a piece or lump of flesh, food or other matter.
Coolgardie p.320 ”Fathers allow themselves a beer from the Coolgardie safe” – n. cupboard with wetted hessian walls for keeping food cool: used especially in Australia.
cark p.336 ”they get a bit dark with us if the prisoners cark it before trial.” – v. to die. Of course, I guessed that but I always like to look up words and it wasn’t in the Kindle dictionary. Sure enough, the term is considered Australian slang.
* KAΘ Providence Alumnae Chapter