☕️☕️☕️☕️  FANTASTIC !!

Beautiful, poignant and touching! I had forgotten how much I love reading this genre; it moved me and the tears flowed!


Becky Jackson’s family has been managing the bush hospital in far-flung Morgan’s Reach for three generations. When Becky’s husband is tragically lost at war, she and her young son Danny must leave the city where she’s been living since marriage and return to her birthplace to start over.

But for all its charm, Morgan’s Reach is a divided community, where blood is thicker than water and grudges run deep. So when a mysterious stranger appears in the bush outside the town and Danny begins to act strangely, it is not only Becky’s newfound stability that’s threatened.

And what of the fact that there’s not been a drop of rain in over three years? The risk of firestorm looms large and the hospital is already pushed to breaking point. A single spark could level the area in minutes – burning away everything for which the town has worked so hard; exposing the secrets they’ve fought to keep so close.


My Review:

Set after WWII all the men who were returning were home, and for those whose families without their loved ones, life had to go on.

Such a powerful drama about the lives of families struggling to live in the harsh conditions of Australia. The tight knit families lives are tested when storms and fires rage threateningly out of control, wonderful reading!

A superb plot, a boy waiting for his father who will never return, with a mother who is unable to move on because of it. A son returning back to his home town with a wife who is blind with grief seeking solace in a bottle. Another who seeks refuge from a brutal husband finding peace in a relationship that is concealed from everyone. Then there is the dead soldier who never returned from the war who goes home secretly to die following his beloved aboriginal spirits. Excellent stuff!

What I liked best:

I love the weave of families with their nuances and local histories.

There was real excitement with the storm, and the fire. A boy being lost in the bush looking for the stranger seen wearing soldiers clothes, hoping he is the father he cannot believe is dead, that somehow a mistake has been made and he will return home.

Gwyneth, is the great grandmother; grandmother and mother of a prominent family in the town who knows everything thats going on. Sitting on a veranda watching the townsfolk she orchestrates her guidance appropriate moments. A great wise and feisty character.

When the fire is fuelled by the dry storm, tragedy is all around them, even though this is something that is already known to them in conditions they have battled before, it is no less shocking when death claims lives. My excitement mounted with the fire racing towards the towns 10 year old Danny goes missing and with his mother needed at the infirmary with the casualties she fears the worst.

Just look at this wonderful line – got me right…here (places hand against heart):

And, as she stood there, the silence enfolded her as a long-held dreams shattered like fine glass.

What is different about this book?

This could have been just a run of the mill story about Australians trying to recover after the second world war in the outback, keeping their people and towns alive and thriving in harsh conditions in Queensland. But no, the real backbone to this story is of a man travelling on foot in solitude and secret towards Morgan’s Reach. All we know about him is that he is dying from cancer and that he wants to get to the town before the end, but does not want to be seen. He certainly is a mystery. His story is heart wrenching and I got a sense of a ‘kind of driven peace’ that surrounds this man in his final journey. His talks with a small boy and the peace he gains from it made me cry.

If you want a book with love, sorrow, courage, tragedy, and overcoming adversity, along with something beautifully spiritual then this is the book for you.

This is the first of Tamara McKinley’s books I have read and will be certainly looking out for her other books.


Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review

  • Kindle Edition, 336 pages
  • Published:   December 24th 2013 by (first published 2012)
  • Publisher:  Quercus