Review Blog

Jan 30 2019

Finding Kerra by Rosanne Hawke

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Beyond Borders series. Rhiza Press, 2018. ISBN: 9781925563474.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Staton life, Outback, Pakistan, Women. Beyond Borders is a Young Adult series about Jamie Richards' life in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Australia. The four novels are: Dear Pakistan (2016), The War Within (2016), Liana's Dance (2017) and Finding Kerra (2018).
The quartet, following Jaime's journey from Pakistan to Australia, fitting into a country so alien to her, then returning to Pakistan only to find she no longer feels safe in the land of her childhood. Jaime is kidnapped and held by terrorists in book two. In the third of the series, Jaime tells the story of her friend, Liana, as she tries to help children kidnapped from her school. The fourth book in the series has Jaime back in Australia, and tells of her time spent on a station in the outback.
Jaime meets Blake at school and opens up to him about her past. He invites her to spend some time on his family's staton for the holidays, a quiet place where she can be at peace. But as soon as she arrives, she feels tension in the air between her host and his son, between Blake and his sister, Kerra, while the young girl from the next station seems hostile to her. Jaime cooks and watches over Kerra, and as the weeks unfold she learns more about Kerra and the secrets she holds.
Hawke uses her background in Pakistan with absolute surety. The story has flashes of the three preceding novels showing the lasting effects of the trauma suffered by Jaime, but at the same time, Jaime recalls the wonderful stories from the land of her childhood and is able to tell them to Kerra, a soothing time for this troubled child. Kerra seems to take stories to heart, and often asks Jaime to tell her again of Liana.
It is through these stories that Kerra develops the courage to finally tell her brother that she wants him to be just that, a loving brother, bringing their distant relationship to a head, making this a fitting concluding story to this wonderful quartet.
Hawke's stay at a northern cattle station brings a background of truth to the tale of this dislocated girl, looking after another just as disoriented as herself. I love the way Hawke brings in touches of the Aboriginal, Afghan and Cornish heritage of this state, using them to tie together a modern story.
Fran Knight

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