Firstly I wish to thank Sian Devine for inviting me on the blog tour for THE WOOLGROWER’S COMPANION by Joy Rhoades, published by Penguin Vintage Books
‘A heart-breaking tale beautifully told. This compelling story of war and love, of family and prejudice is magical and its characters and place are so deeply evocative’ Kathryn Stockett, bestselling author of The Help
Australia 1945. Until now Kate Dowd has led a sheltered life on her family’s sprawling sheep station but, with her father’s health in decline, the management of the farm is increasingly falling to her.
Kate is rising to the challenge when the arrival of two Italian POW labourers disrupts everything – especially when Kate finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Luca Canali.
Then she receives devastating news. The farm is near bankrupt and the bank is set to repossess. Given just eight weeks to pay the debt, Kate is now in a race to save everything she holds dear.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
It wasn’t as much of reading this book as it was experiencing the life changing transformation that took place of Kate Dowd. Kate really had been the little woman who was taken care of in every way possible to the point of, to put it blankly, being pretty useless at most things. Kate lives with her father on the family sheep ranch in Australia, it is 1945 and they have just taken in two Italian POW men to help out on the farm during one of the worst droughts they have ever lived through. Kate’s husband is away in the army and her widowed father’s health isn’t at it’s best. When the bank come knocking on the door Kate has to either roll over and give in roll her sleeves up and find out what she is really made of.
What a tremendous story this is. It was like Pygmalion in reverse because the lady of the house really had to learn how to be one of the boys if she was to save the day. I loved this new Kate that was terrified inside but just kept coming back. It had the elements that make me be involved with the punch in the air victories but with paragraphs on the same page that you could have knocked me down with a feather because of the injustice of it all because she was a woman.
Although a love story, this is a book more about a woman finding a passion inside her not only for a man but for life, for the farm, the animals and injustices of racism. Joy Rhoades brings to life the blood sweat and tears of her characters and harsh realities of an era full of prejudices in a land that refused to tamed by any man or woman. I am delighted that a second book is promised too. There is so much more that I want to know about Kate’s life and where it will lead her to.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I grew up in a small town in the bush in Queensland, Australia. I spent my time with my head in a book, or outdoors – climbing trees, playing in dry creek beds, or fishing for yabbies in the railway dam under the big sky. Some of my favourite memories were visiting my grandmother’s sheep farm in rural New South Wales where my father had grown up. She was a fifth generation grazier, a lover of history, and a great and gentle teller of stories. My childhood gave me two passions: a love of the Australian landscape and a fascination with words and stories.
I left the bush at 13 when I went to boarding school in Brisbane. I stayed on there to study law and literature at the University of Queensland. After, my work as a lawyer took me first to Sydney and then all over the world, to London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and New York. But I always carried in my head a strong sense of my childhood: the people, the history, the light and the landscape. Those images have never left me and they would eventually become The Woolgrower’s Companion. It’s a story I’ve felt I had to tell.
I currently live in London with my husband and our two young children. But I miss the Australian sky.