A tale of longing, loss and growing love under the bright Australian sun.
It’s 1921 and the Great War has left in its wake untold tragedy, not only in lives lost, but in the guilt of survivors, the deep-set scars of old wounds and the sting of redoubled bigotries.
In the tiny hamlet of Sunshine, on the far-flung desert’s edge, three very different ex-servicemen – Jack Bell, an Aboriginal horseman; Snow McGlynn, a laconic, curmudgeonly farmer; and Art Lovelee, an eccentric engineer – find themselves sharing a finger of farmland along the Darling River, and not much else. That is, until Art’s wife Grace, a battle-hardened nurse, gets to work on them all with her no-nonsense wisdom.
Told with Kim Kelly’s inimitable wit and warmth, Sunshine is a very Australian tale of home, hope and healing, of the power of growing life and love, and discovering that we are each other’s greatest gifts.
I want to start by saying what a lovely little story this was but I don’t think that is quite right to describe this book. Based in the early 1920s after the Great War has ended, set in Australia we are slowly introduced to 3 ex soliders who all have one thing in common – their lives have been altered by what they saw and did in the war.
As the government offer land and grants to returning soldiers, 2 of our characters end up in Sunshine where the begin their new life of growing fruit. our 3rd story teller, Jack Bell, is an aboriginal who isn’t treated or respected in quite the same way despite also having fought for the country. He is returning to Sunshine to live, where he grew up, where he hopes to be left alone long enough to survive.
As Art and Grace and Snow settle into their new way of life, Jack watches from the sidelines until he inadvertently becomes involved with these newcomers and eventually becomes entwined with them.
It’s obvious to me that Kim did her research before writing this book as there were lots of references to historical moments and groups that did exist in real life. it was interesting for me to see how aborigines were treated and how even their kids were taken from them. Also to discover that they had to have permission to leave the land they work and were offered the same as other returning soldiers. I really felt quite sorry for Jack Bell, to return home to find his wife has made a new life without their daughter who was snatched from her in an awful way.
All 3 of the soldiers seem to have post traumatic stress disorder and are struggling to re adjust. As Snow re lives the nightmare of losing his best friend, and Art fights to recover from the depression that seems to eat away at him, the 3 men seem to become the strength for each other and become to help each other recover.
Grace seems to be the glue that keeps them together as she supports husband Art and becomes so in your face friendly to Snow that he can’t help but return it and she sees Jack as something other than the colour of his skin. As all 3 men come to a crossroads on their paths and make life changing decisions its nice to see how Sunshine seems to turn things around for them and they all find the power they need to re live life.
I loved how easy it was to read this book. Its quite a short book so can be read quickly and is written in such a way that you so easily become engrossed in the lives and adventures of the characters. Sunshine sounds like a stunning place that I so wish wasn’t fictional so I could go visit in real life. I really did enjoy this story and would recommend to anyone that wants a happy ending book to get stuck into.
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