On Jacqui's Bookshelf ...

Just started listing to (on Audio CD) ... Pearl in a Cage by Joy Dettman
Synopsis: On a balmy midsummer's evening in 1923, a young woman – foreign, dishevelled and heavily pregnant – is found unconscious just off the railway tracks in the tiny logging community of Woody Creek.  The town midwife, Gertrude Foote, is roused from her bed when the woman is brought to her door. Try as she might, Gertrude is unable to save her, but the baby lives.

When no relatives come forth to claim the infant, Gertrude's daughter Amber – who has recently lost a son in childbirth – and her husband Norman take the child in. In the ensuing weeks, Norman becomes convinced that God has sent the baby to their door, and in an act of reckless compassion and lonely desperation, he names the baby Jennifer and registers her in place of his son.

Loved by some but scorned by more, including her stepmother and sister, Jenny survives her childhood and grows into an exquisite and talented young woman. But who were her parents?  Spanning two momentous decades and capturing rural Australia's complex and mysterious heart, Pearl in a Cage is the unputdownable new novel by one of our most talented storytellers.

Just finished listing to (on Audio CD) ... Bad Behaviour by Liz Byrski
Synopsis:  One mistake can change a life forever ... Zoe is living a conventional suburban life in Fremantle. She works, she gardens and she loves her supportive husband Archie and their three children. But the arrival of a new woman into her son Daniel's life unsettles Zoe. Suddenly she is feeling angry and hurt, and is lashing out at those closest to her.

In Sussex, England, Julia is feeling nostalgic as she nurses her best friend through the last painful stages of cancer. Her enthusiastic but dithering husband Tom is trying to convince Julia to slow down. Although she knows Tom means well, Julia cannot help but feel frustrated that he is pushing her into old age before she is ready. But she knows she is lucky to have him. She so nearly didn't.

These two women's lives have been shaped by the decisions they made back in 1968 – when they were young, idealistic and naive. In a world that was a whirl of politics and protest, consciousness raising and sexual liberation, Zoe and Julia were looking for love, truth and their own happy endings. They soon discover that life is rarely that simple, as their bad behaviour leads them down paths that they can never turn back from.

Jacqui's Review: Things can seem so different in retrospect.  This story takes us through the lives of two women, looking back over their lives and wondering how things could have been.  It also touches on some significant historical and recent incedents like the vietnam war, 9/11 & the Bali Bombings and how these events impact on the lives of the two women.  An interesting perspective on how people reach their 'mid' life and reassess their priorities.  2.5 out of 5.

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