Book Review – The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

The natural way of things

So about a month ago I won a copy of The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood from Allen and Unwin. This is the first of Charlotte’s books that I’ve read, and I was a little nervous as I opened the first page and began to read. I was nervous because I’d read so much of the publicity around it; interviews with Charlotte, reviews by other people. I knew it was going to be a hard book to read. I wondered if I was up to it.

First – an overview:

Ten women find themselves locked up in an asylum, somewhere in the outback. Victims of wealthy men, these women have all been involved in sexual acts – some consenting, some not – which have resulted in shame for themselves while the men who took part experience no such repercussions.

There are two men present at this asylum, the gaolers, though the women soon learn that the men are just as much prisoners as themselves when week after week whoever is in charge fails to return, and their supplies of food run dangerously low.

The women all manage this knowledge; that they are trapped, perhaps indefinitely, in different ways, and it was interesting to see the ways in which the women survive as best they know how.

Opening the pages I was not disappointed. It was a hard book to read, but not as hard as I imagined… I was up to reading it. I read it in two days. It wasn’t eye opening, exactly. It was all the things you read about in the newspaper, the things that women know as just another aspect of life – even those of us lucky enough not to experience such things on a regular basis. Someone we know has experienced it. Not the being locked away in some Outback Prison of course, but the rest of it – the misogyny, the knowledge that as women we are not granted the same freedoms most men enjoy – still, in the 21st Century.

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Season’s Greetings!

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, etc etc to all my readers! Hope you all have the opportunity to gather with loved ones and celebrate.

This year has been amazing and I am thankful for so many things: First and foremost, of course, is my family – my partner, who supports  and encourages me  in all things, and my beautiful children, whose smiles brighten my day. I’m thankful also for my writer’s group without whom I would NEVER have been motivated to get this far!! I’m grateful for all the editors who’ve read my work, those who’ve accepted my pieces for publication, but also those who did not, yet gave me words of encouragement to keep writing, and try again.

I’m grateful to Allen & Unwin, from who I have won numerous prizes this year, (they have filled my bookshelves! Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson, Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith, Sharp Shooter and Sharp Turn both by Marianne Delacourt, The Boy Under the Table by Nicole Trope, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton) and had some great opportunities – joining in the blogging read-along of The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier, and another great opportunity I’m really excited about – The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. The book was delivered by my very friendly Australia Post lady today, and I was so excited about it I’ve put my current book aside (Cloudstreet by Tim Winton) and started on it already. (The Storyteller is due for release next year – look out for it – I only started it an hour ago and I’m already a quarter of the way through. It is brilliant! Jodi Picoult certainly does not disappoint with this one – the way she manages to delve so deep into the complexities of human emotion, and the human condition (I think that really is the best term for it), is absolutely amazing!!)

Oops – I seem to have digressed somewhat! I am thankful for you too – my readers and followers. It’s a bit strange sometimes – sometimes this feels a bit like a journal, a place to offload the random thoughts I occasionally have. So thank you for reading, liking, and commenting!

Again… I hope you all have a beautiful day where-ever you are and whatever you’re doing.

Blessed Be!

Book Giveaway!! – Kate Morton “The Secret Keeper”

 

In a bucolic English summer at the end of the 1960s, a young girl witnesses a shocking crime. Fifty years later, she sets out to find out the truth, uncovering layers of mystery and deception. Moving from London during the Blitz to the present day, this is classic Kate Morton: a compulsively-readable, entrancing mystery with a long held secret to be uncovered at its heart.

1961: On a sweltering summer’s day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright future she can’t wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything.
2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds – Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy – who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatefully entwined.

Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s and the present, The Secret Keeper is a spellbinding story of mysteries and secrets, theatre and thievery, murder and enduring love.

Doesn’t it sound fascinating!!

The Secret Keeper is published by Allen & Unwin and is due for release in Australia and New Zealand in November, but is already available in the UK and US.

And click the link below to see Kate Morton’s take on finishing The Secret Keeper!

http://www.katemorton.com/blog/2012/7/26/the-secret-keeper-is-coming.html

 

For a chance to win one of 4 copies of this brilliant book, be sure to comment on my blog over the coming weeks.  During the next month I’ll be sharing my experiences as I take part in my 5th Nanowrimo, (my 7th if you count Camp Nano!!), novelling alongside my son who is taking part in the Nanowrimo Young Writer’s Program. I’ll be giving away 1 book each week to a random commenter from that week. So come say hello, and tell me all about your own writing and/or reading experiences.

 

The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D – read-a-long

This month I am taking part in my first online read-a-long hosted by Bree at All The Books I Can Read.

The book is The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier (provided by Allen & Unwin), and while I’ve only just started the book – I’m only a dozen pages in – I’m hooked already!

I’m so looking forward to discussing it with the others, starting next Wednesday 15th August. The discussion will continue for three weeks as we make our way through the book. Be aware though, the comments will contain SPOILERS so if you want to read the book but don’t want to know what happens, don’t read too far ahead! 🙂