Coming of Age

Clad in Armour of Radiant White

Clad in Armour of Radiant White
Published: May 27, 2015
Author's Twitter: @RosalineARiley
This is a coming-of-age novel set in the 1950s and 60s in Lancashire. Its point-of-view protagonist is Ellen, a working class girl who becomes friends with middle class Erica when she goes to the convent school in the neighbouring town. Focussing on both Ellen’s home life and her school life (which she tries to keep separate), the novel explores the gains and the losses that education and religion provide over the course of her school years.   Thematically, it’s a novel about friendship, love, loss, and death. Social class is also dealt with lightly. There are dark passages in the novel, but also much humour. Each chapter is a month of the year – beginning with September to reflect the structure of the school year. This framework also allows for treatment of the seasons and the liturgical year. The months are sequential but the years are not. Between September 1959 and September 1966 the years go back and forth (with some flashbacks to earlier years).

 

Eternal Destiny

Eternal Destiny
Ariel and Nick face their deepest fears and their greatest challenge as they search for the Master Demon who holds the key to the future of mankind. Slay him and the world goes free; fail, and it falls irrevocably into violence and chaos. Guided by a wisdom master of a mystical tradition that uses mind power as the basis of powerful magic, the assault party travels from the ancient granite walls of the Hermitage, up the Steps of Death, and through a labyrinth of shifting gorges to the Palace of Skulls. Even if Nick wins his struggle with the scars of his past and defeats the green-eyed head of the Cogin clan, they still must cross the scree slope, where the bones of Ariel’s father lie, to get to the ice caves beneath the summit where the Master Demon awaits. The journey is extraordinary, the enemies are deadly and the ending is mind-blowing.

Reviewed by Richard Bunning

A Funeral for an Owl

A Funeral for an Owl
Author:
Illustrator: Andrew Candy
Published: November 3, 2013
Author's Twitter: @janedavisauthor
What kind of a boy would it take to convince two high school teachers to risk their careers? Times have changed since Jim Stevens chose to teach. Protocol designed to protect children now makes all pupil/teacher relationships taboo – even those that might benefit a student. What kind of boy would cause Jim to risk his career? A boy who can clothe a word in sarcasm; disguise disdain with respect. So what is it that Jim finds he has in common with 14-year-old Shamayal Thomas as they study the large framed photograph of an owl that hands above the fireplace? It is Aimee White’s owl, to be specific. At least, that’s how Jim thinks of it. A powerful exploration of the ache of loss, set in a landscape where broken people can find each other.

 

The Land Beyond Goodbye

The Land Beyond Goodbye
Inheritance, betrayal, love, sex, aboriginal magic and a sleazy lawyer. What more could you want? 1987. The morning after the Great Storm. A letter drops through the door of Jess Whitelaw’s London flat and sets her on a journey through the Australian Outback and her own damaged psyche. In the heat and dust of the Northern Territory, Jess’s protective armour is chipped away as painful truths are revealed. Tension builds like thunderheads heralding the start of the Wet. Will Jess be able to come to terms with the guilt she feels? Will she ever learn that the past is not so terrifying when looked at the right way?

The Ghosts of Eden

The Ghosts of Eden
Published: June 10, 2011
Author's Twitter: @AndrewJHSharp
Zachye Katura, tending cattle in the grasslands of Kaaro Karungi, and Michael Lacey, the child of missionaries, are happy in their childhood idyll. But the world around them is changing, propelling them towards tragedy.