Review Blog

Jan 10 2013

The girl from Snowy River by Jackie French

cover image

Angus and Robertson, 2012. ISBN 9780732293109.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Historical novel. In French's well known and loved style of historical fiction, she makes us fully aware of her love of the Australian bush, her adherence to early Australian bush poetry and her unflagging affection for those early pioneers who populated the bush beyond the cities. In the past she has used a time slip technique to deposit her character into a situation in the past where she must learn to survive. This one has a different sort of time slip where a character from the period following World War One, meets and talks with a Vietnam War veteran, his legs gone, pondering his future on the well known rock near her home. Flinty is the main carer in her family. Both parents have died, her brother is killed in Europe, her boyfriend who went to war has returned a broken man, her returned brother also finds it difficult to cope and has gone droving, and she has a brother and sister to care for. She cannot make sense of what is happening about her, just as Nicholas who she meets on the rock, cannot make sense of where his future lies. Both support the other, helping bring changes to their lives which at first they could not see happening.
Flinty comes to rely on her evening talks to this taciturn man, ensuring her siblings are in bed before she walks up the hill to step into a different world. He knows where her future lies, and hints about what may happen, always making sure he does not tell her specifics but says she will suffer sorrow but will come through it all. Readers will eagerly turn the pages as I did, after reading these lines.
This is an engrossing read, full of information about the two periods in which she has set her characters, redolent of the attitudes of both time, exposing the wide impact war has had on both of the main characters and all those about them. This heart warming story ranges between melancholia, sorrow, elation and happiness, as their stories unfold. And if it nudges slightly over the edges of sentimentality, none of French's army of fans will mind in the least.
Fran Knight

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