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Ten Great Books set in AUSTRALIA

10th December 2021

Australia is the lates place for us to visit in our ‘Great Books…’ series. Ten great books set in Australia. Australia is abundant with unique experiences and awe-inspiring landscapes. There’s a well-known vibrancy in its natural beauty, but don’t forget to seek out its history and culture as well. There’s plenty here to inspire your future travel plans so, go on, take a look around and let yourself dream of all the possibilities.

‘Fair suck of the sauce bottle’ ‘Treat someone fairly’ – Australian saying

Ten Great Books set in AUSTRALIACassandra by Kathryn Gossow

Is the future set like concrete, or a piece of clay we can mould and change?

On a remote farm in Queensland, Cassie Shultz feels useless. Her perfect brother Alex has an uncanny ability to predict the weather, and the fortunes of the entire family hinge upon his forecasts. However, her own gift for prophecy remains frustratingly obscure. Attempts to help her family usually result in failure.

After meeting with her new genius neighbour Athena, Cassie thinks she has unlocked the secret of her powers. But as her visions grow more vivid, she learns that the cost of honing her gift may be her sanity.

With her family breaking apart, the future hurtles towards Cassie faster than she can comprehend it.

Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller

A gripping, multi award-winning, debut YA novel from First Nations Australian author Lisa Fuller, drawing on the culture and spiritual beliefs of her close-knit community.

Stacey and Laney are twins and mirror images of each other but as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey wants to go places, do things and be someone different, while Laney just wants to skip school and sneak out of the house to meet her boyfriend Troy. When Laney doesn’t come home one night, the town assumes she’s just doing her normal run-off, but Stacey’s gut tells her otherwise.

Stacey knows her twin isn’t dead – she just doesn’t know where she is; she can see her in her dreams but doesn’t know if she is real or imagined. Holding onto the words her Nan taught her is one thing, but listening to those around you is another – who will Stacey trust? As the town starts to believe that Laney is missing for good, can she find her twin in time?

Shadows of Olive Trees by Susanne Gervay

Before the #MeToo movement, there was the 1970s and three girls – Tessa. Athena, Jenny looking for love, best friends, and what they want to be. Breaking traditional roles, there are challenges from parents, the church, school. But there’s college and new freedoms, except they can be dangerous.

A story of women’s empowerment set against the background of the emerging women’s movement, this is a story that has relevance today.

‘Reminding me of Looking for Alibrandi. Gervay gets better with every book.’ Spectrum Sydney Morning Herald.

‘As far as I know, Gervay is the first writer to reinterpret the lived experience of young women in the seventies for an audience of readers today – which in the light of recent media debates focusing the perceived differences between older and young feminists is a relevant and timely. …. The novel makes a distinctive contribution to the body of creative work.

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green

In a seaside suburb on Australia’s golden coast, four women head to the water to swim every day . . .

Housewife Theresa wants to get fit; she also wants a few precious minutes to herself. So at sunrise each day she strikes out past the waves.

From the same beach, the widowed Marie swims. With her husband gone, it is the one constant in her new life.

Elaine takes to the sea having recently moved from England, while Leanne is twenty-five years old and only has herself to rely on.

In the waters of Shelly Bay, these four women find each other. They will survive bluebottle stings and heartbreak, they will laugh so hard they swallow water, and they will plunge their tears into the ocean’s salt.

Most of all, they will cherish their newfound friendship, each and every day.

Ten Great Books set in AUSTRALIAThe Stoning by Peter Papathanasiou

A small town in outback Australia wakes to an appalling crime.

A local schoolteacher is found taped to a tree and stoned to death. Suspicion instantly falls on the refugees at the new detention centre on Cobb’s northern outskirts. Tensions are high, between whites and the local indigenous community, between immigrants and the townies.

Still mourning the recent death of his father, Detective Sergeant George Manolis returns to his childhood hometown to investigate. Within minutes of his arrival, it’s clear that Cobb is not the same place he left. Once it thrived, but now it’s a poor and derelict dusthole, with the local police chief it deserves. And as Manolis negotiates his new colleagues’ antagonism, and the simmering anger of a community destroyed by alcohol and drugs, the ghosts of his past begin to flicker to life.

Vivid, pacy and almost dangerously atmospheric, The Stoning is the first in a new series of outback noir featuring DS Manolis, himself an outsider, and a good man in a world gone to hell.

The Swooping Magpie by Liza Perrat

The thunderclap of sexual revolution collides with the black cloud of illegitimacy.

Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Townsend is pretty and popular at school. At home, it’s a different story. Dad belts her and Mum’s either busy or battling a migraine. So when sexy school-teacher Jon Halliwell finds her irresistible, Lindsay believes life is about to change.

She’s not wrong.

Lindsay and Jon pursue their affair in secret, because if the school finds out, Jon will lose his job. If Lindsay’s dad finds out, there will be hell to pay. But when a dramatic accident turns her life upside down, Lindsay is separated from the man she loves.

Events spiral beyond her control, emotions conflicting with doubt, loneliness and fear, and Lindsay becomes enmeshed in a shocking true-life Australian scandal. The schoolyard beauty will discover the dangerous games of the adult world. Games that destroy lives.

Lindsay is forced into the toughest choice of her young life. The resulting trauma will forever burden her heart.

Reflecting the social changes of 1970s Australia, The Swooping Magpie is a chilling psychological tale of love, loss and grief, and, through collective memory, finding we are not alone.

Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny

A warm, captivating and irresistible story of love, family, secrets and finding your place in the world. For readers of Lucinda Riley and Kate Morton.

The Sunday train which snaked into Noah Vale that verdant, midwinter afternoon brought with it fire, sending an inferno of small-town gossip roaring up the valley . . .

Esther Hamilton had a reputation in the small Queensland town of Noah Vale. That was until she ran away, twenty years ago, under a cloud of shame. It is now 1955 and following her death, her daughters, the Hamilton sisters, have come to make the town their home.

Sonnet, at twenty years old, has never set foot in Noah Vale, but has been the talk of the town for decades. Fable is a budding artist and lovelier even than her heartbreaking mother. And Plum is just a little girl who has been taken away from the only home she has ever known.

As the years pass the girls settle into their new life. But suspicion and judgement follow them wherever they go. In a small town where everyone knows each other, it can be hard to escape the past . . .

Ten Great Books set in AUSTRALIAThe Dry by Jane Harper

Set 500 miles from Melbourne

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime

Iron Junction by Charlotte Nash

Desperate to get away from her family’s expectations of success in love and in work, Dr Beth Harding leaves Sydney behind and takes a locum job at Iron Junction – a mining town in the distant Pilbara. With the mine growing at a rapid pace, the town full of contractors and tensions running high, Beth is convinced she’s made a huge mistake until she meets Will, a man who shares her dreams and could make the difference between going home and staying on.

For Will Walker, being born into cattle farming was never the life he wanted. He’s traded a broad-brim for a hard hat and headed down the mines. Iron Junction seems like just another gig in the long road that’s taking him even further from home. But in the lonely fly-in, fly-out life, he never counted on meeting Beth …

But when Beth and Will discover that the choices they make will have far-reaching consequences neither could ever have imagined, they have a decision to make. Will they be brave enough to risk loving each other despite everything that stands in their way?

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

No. 1 Cloudstreet: a broken-down house on the wrong side of the tracks, a place teeming with memories, with shudders and shadows and spirits. From separate catastrophes, two families – the Pickles and Lambs – flee to the city and find themselves thrown together, forced to start their lives afresh. As they roister and rankle, the place that began as a roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.

We hope you enjoy our selection of ten great books set in Australia. If we have missed on elf your favourites, please add it in the Comments below. And don’t forget we have well over 350 books set in Australia in our database!

Tony for the TripFiction team

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