Epouse et mère généreuse, cavalière émérite, Coweta a été plus qu’une mère pour Rainey : une véritable âme sœur. Depuis sa mort, Rainey se sent inconsolable. N’a-t-elle pas toujours trouvé en sa mère un soutien indéfectible – une écoute bienveillante, un réconfort plein de tendresse ? A trente-cinq ans, ballottée par l’existence, marquée par deux divorces, Rainey se sent pour la première fois livrée à elle-même, face au désordre de son passé et au secret de sa naissance. Au volant du vieux pick-up dont elle a hérité, elle part sur les chemins dans l’espoir de redonner un sens à son existence. Oklahoma, Texas – peu importe où elle va. L’essentiel, pour elle, est de faire ce qu’elle aime : des concours équestres. En commençant son périple, elle ne soupçonne certes pas la rencontre qui l’attend. Pourtant, cette rencontre est de celles qui marquent une vie. Ou la brisent pour toujours...
Lorsque Tara ouvre sa porte à Grady McKinney, l'attirance entre eux est immédiate. Seulement, sa réputation le précède : celle d'un artisan de génie qui peut l'aider mieux que personne à restaurer la grande maison qu'elle vient d'acquérir ; mais aussi celle d'un nomade de l'amour. Un aventurier au charme dévastateur qui ne se fixe jamais et semble incapable de s'attacher à une femme. Aussi, à peine Tara l'a-t-elle embauché qu'elle instaure entre eux une distance glaciale et, pense-t-elle, salutaire. En vain. Malgré sa prudence, ses pensées dérivent chaque jour un peu plus vers Grady qui, de son côté, ne cherche pas à dissimuler le désir qu'elle lui inspire. Un jour, il l'embrasse passionnément. Tara s'enflamme. Prise de panique, se sentant bien trop vulnérable pour vivre une liaison sans lendemain avec cet homme qui risque de l'abandonner le cœur brisé, elle décide de renvoyer Grady...
A starving and homeless Aboriginal boy trying to find enough food to survive after his parents' death becomes an intermediary between the two misfits consumed by their own demons. And one day the two are forced out of their introspection when tragedy intervenes.
Pretty young Eden Dutton gets caught up in the feud - her father wants to make the town a centre for tourism and 'picnic races' - but her heart seems to be fighting for the opposite side. Young prospector Greg Millard isn't her father's idea of the right type of bloke, but the Hon. Ralph Tenterden certainly is.
And then a surprise discovery brings a change when it was least expected and upsets all the townspeople's plans.
These seem to be the options for women in 1936, but Eve, Marc and Thea are determined - in their very different ways - to cut a place for themselves in the world. Eve is an obstetrician; Thea, contemplating an MA, has an affair with Professor Glover; Marc, thoroughly modern, is a social worker with a special interest in delinquent children. As Eve and Marc watch the progress of Thea's affair the differences between them emerge.
Dymphna Cusack's novel is the first psychological exploration of women's sexuality and aspirations in Australia. Published in 1936 it broke new ground in dealing with issues that had previously been taboo in women's writing. And, it evokes the charm and innocence of Sydney in the years preceding World War II.
'Dymphna Cusack... has created a number of attractive, likeable characters, given them a tragic dilemma, and moved them inexorably to a fine dramatic conclusion.' New York Times
Uncertain of herself, vulnerable, Roslyn is a woman who needs people - and who needs to feel that people need her. But her husband Rod, an officer in the Australian Navy, is often away at sea, and her daughter, grown up and preoccupied with her studies and her boyfriend, comes only rarely to see her.
Imagining slights where perhaps none exist, and feeling herself cold-shouldered by the other naval wives and shunned by the tenants in her Sydney block of flats, Roslyn starts drinking to console herself on her lonely evenings at home, unaware that what is at first only a harmless temporary escape from barren reality will grow into a need, and then into an overpowering obsession ...
While recovering from a failed attempt, she discovers a surprising secret in the pages of her dead son's diary - she has a granddaughter. And she soon finds out that her grandchild is in trouble - the family that have raised her are being unfairly evicted from the land they have held for four generations. Gradually Tempe is pulled into an alien world, with a new purpose; she is forced to rethink her long-held prejudices, fight for principles she has never before thought about, and find a new reason for living.
The three brothers begin to grow further apart as the demands of the war, family conflict and their different beliefs pull them in separate directions. And Newcastle, and society, is changing fast as well - as women have to work, and American sailors have to party.
An unusual and fascinating portrait of urban Australians living with the peril of war, and the passion and heartbreak that can result.
Alexandra, an acerbic writer of popular travel books, is leaving Australia on the Boudicea. Tortured by the early death of her beloved sister in childbirth, she has long been a lone observer of the foibles of others. To her dismay, she finds that the cabin she has booked is to be shared by the young, vibrant Vicky - an all too potent reminder of her sister.
Vicky, a talented artist, is on her way to study in London. She and Alexandra are soon the centre of a pleasant shipboard group. But things change when a crowd of West Indians board in Jamaica. Vicky finds herself in an unpleasant situation after she dances with one of the new arrivals, Olumide, and prejudice rears its ugly head.
In London, Alexandra realises she is no longer content living life as a detached observer. She watches as Vicky and Olumide's friendship deepens. But the young lovers are gradually forced to face a grim reality - where can they make a home that lets them live in freedom?