April Recommended Reads

 Tasmanian Recent Release – Tasmanian Gardens by Meg Bignell and Alice Bennett

From north to south, east to west and everything in between, here are 20 Tasmanian gardens that capture the landscape, the story and the spirit of this abundant island.

Tasmanian Gardens reimagines the very definition of a garden. It goes beyond perfect lawns and beautiful borders to the people, places and stories that inhabit this contrasting island state. From vast coastal headlands and kelp forests to gorgeous flower farms and gnome collections, the gardens of lutruwita/Tasmania are as diverse as they are delightful.

Photographer Alice Bennett and author Meg Bignell explore the gardens and landscapes of the island and unearth a whole library of tales told in plants, design, artistry, topography and very hard work. This book is a celebration of lutruwita/Tasmania from coast to mountain and suburb to town, where every garden is a story and every gardener is a storyteller.

Meg Bignell is the author of three novels – The Sparkle Pages (2019), Welcome to Nowhere River (2021) and The Angry Women’s Choir (2022), all published by Penguin Random House. She lives on a dairy farm on the east coast of Tasmania with her husband, three children, one dog and 800 cows. She etched her beloved garden out of a hillside paddock. It has a complicated, loosely planned plot in need of a good edit.

Alice Bennett is an award-winning commercial photographer. Her publications include Country Houses of Tasmania and Living in History (Allen & Unwin). She lives in southern Tasmania on a sheep and oyster farm with her husband and two sons, her dog and a dozen lovely chooks. Her inherited seaside garden is a family chronicle and a work in a progress.

 “The fertile regions of Bream Creek, Dunalley and the Tasman Peninsula are perfectly suited for growing Tasmania’s best and freshest produce.  This lovingly produced book provides recipes for cooking with this abundance and variety of products, practical tips for the gardener and backyard grower as well as sensational photography and information about this beautiful region.  It is a ‘must’ for every cook and kitchen.” – Sally Wise on Bream Creek Farmers Market by Alice Bennett

 

Australian Recent Release: Thunderhead by Miranda Darling

A black comedy, set in suburbia, about one woman’s struggle to be free.

When Winona Dalloway begins her day — in the peaceful early hours before her children, that ‘tiny tornado of little hands and feet’, wake up — she doesn’t know that by the end of it, everything in her world will have changed.

On the outside, Winona is a seemingly unremarkable young mother: unobtrusive, quietly going about her tasks. But within is a vivid, chaotic self, teeming with voices — a mind both wild and precise.

And meanwhile, a storm is brewing …

“A feminist triumph and homage to Virginia Woolf, Miranda Darling’s Thunderhead is a potent exploration of suburban entrapment for women.” – Cassandra Atherton, Australian Book Review

“Short, sharp and immersive … Thunderhead is a powerful story that explores motherhood, mental health, our sense of self and our right to autonomy in the context of relentless, everyday domestic life. This is complex, layered and beautiful writing that invites readers to consider their own wild and chaotic inner worlds, and the ways in which negative relationships shape us.” – Danielle Bagnato, The Big Issue

 

Kids Recent Release – Fledgewitch by Lian Tanner

There are no witches, no dragons and no secrets in Quill, so how can Brim be trapped in the School for Prevention of Witches with Rose, a royal dragon with an injured foot, and a large mystery to untangle? A delightfully pleasing whimsical fantasy adventure with more knots and snarls than a skein of wool, suitable for readers who love the books of Cressida Cowell or Katrina Nannestad.

Here are the three Laws of Quill, carved in stone outside every town hall, and learnt by every schoolchild:

There shall be No Witches.

There shall be No Dragons.

There shall be NO SECRETS.

Ten-year-old Brim has been sent to the Quillian School for Prevention of Witches, but she’s sure it’s a mistake. It’s true that she has tiny feathers sprouting from her elbows, and that she’s the only person who remembers the odd-looking calf that has been following her. But she is most definitely Not a Witch.

Meanwhile, Queen Rose of Hallow has received reports of a secret weapon in the mountains of Quill, and goes to investigate. Alone. Luckily, she’s not just a twelve-year-old girl with red hair and a wilful nature. She is also a dragon.

Before long, Rose and Brim find themselves trapped in Quill, in the worst possible danger. Just a witch, a dragon and a LOT of secrets.

A bewitching tale of bravery, betrayal and one very forgettable horned glob, from the award-winning author ofRita’s Revenge and Spellhound.

 

“Perfect twisty plot and pace, constant laughs, a fresh new world, and characters to cheer: this book made me beam. I loved it!” – Jaclyn Moriarty, award-winning author of the Kingdoms and Empires books

“This highly engaging fantasy adventure is set in a unique magical world filled with delightful, quirky characters. There are many twists and turns, particularly as it comes to its startling conclusion, but there is also plenty of humour.” – Books + Publishing

 

Tasmanian Classic – Winter on the Farm by Matthew Evans

Wake up to the smell of a delicious winter breakfast from ‘Gourmet Farmer’ Matthew Evans.

Join chef, food critic and author of the hugely successful food bible, The Real Food Companion, Matthew Evans, as he embraces the long winter nights by sleeping in and tucking in to a hearty breakfast.

Recipes include: The perfect date and banana porridge; Mushrooms on toast; Breakfast semolina; Corned beef hash; Honeyed breakfast polenta; Yoghurt pancakes with drunken brown sugar and salted pears; Cardamom-scented rice pudding with poached pear; Wilted cabbage, garlic and bacon with hot English mustard; Roasted onions and goat’s cheese baked custard; Warm spiced apple juice; and Spiced hot chocolate.

Matthew grows much of his own produce on his farm in Tasmania, also the setting for his popular TV series ‘The Gourmet Farmer’, where he cooks these cosy feasts on his wood fired stove as the temperature drops outside. Winter on the Farm is the ultimate guide to cooking nourishing and hearty food, and will inspire you to create these rich, wonderful flavours as soon as you feel a winter chill in the air.

“This is my favourite time of year, mostly because I can indulge in my favourite kind of food – country cooking. Winter on the Farm starts promisingly enough, with the perfect date and banana porridge, and Matthew Evans is a man after my own heart, who eats his with cream. While I may not have a wood-fired cooker to cook a cardamom-scented rice pudding overnight in, it was worth getting up early to prepare it for a late breakfast, just to have the smell wafting through the house.” – Justine Douglas, Readings Port Melbou