March Recommended Reads

Australian Recent Release: All the Murmuring Bones by Angela Slatter.

Fans of Naomi Novik and Katharine Arden will love this dark, fearless new fairy tale from award-winning author Angela Slatter.

Miren O’Malley’s family prospered for many years as a result of a dark bargain struck with the mer: ensure the safety of their ships in return for a child of each generation. But in recent years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain, and the great house of O’Malley has fallen into disrepair. Miren’s grandmother, fierce and sharply intelligent Aoefe O’Malley, is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of her granddaughter’s freedom. Little does she know that Miren will not lie down and accept the fate she has lain out for her.

All The Murmuring Bones is a richly satisfying, deeply true tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, creatures of the sea and legends that survive the ravages of time. Above all it is a tale that celebrates the strength of women, their courage and perseverance despite all odds, and what happens to the men who seek to tame them.

YA recent release: The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough.

I don’t paint so much anymore,’ I say, looking to my feet.

‘Oh. Well, I got a boy who needs to do some art. You can help him out,’ Aunty Pam says, like I have no say in the matter, like she didn’t hear what I just said about not painting so much anymore. ‘Jackson, this is Tomas. He’s living with me for a little while.’

It’s been a hot summer, and life’s pretty all right for Jackson and his family on the Mish. School’s over for the year, it’s almost Christmas, and he’s hanging with his mates, hassling the tourists, and steering clear of the racist boys in town. Just like every year, Jackson’s Aunty and irritating younger cousins visit from the city – but this time they bring with them a mysterious boy with a troubled past…

As friendship develops between the two boys, Jackson must face the changing dynamics of his relationship with family, friends and community, as well as his darkest secret – a secret he thought he’d buried for good.
“The Boy from the Mish is an extraordinary debut novel, and I loved this tender, beautiful story with all my heart. Jackson and Tomas stole my heart, and I’ll be thinking about them for a long time.” Nina Kenwood.


Tasmanian Recent Release: Born Into This by Adam Thompson.

Born Into This is drenched in swagger and originality, the blows are head-on, but the comfort is swiftly delivered in the wit and delicacy of Thompson’s phrasing. He has the reader in the boat, on the shore and drowning in the sea at once.” – Tara June Winch.

Each story in Adam Thompson’s debut book Born Into This sheds light on unique cultural practices and perspectives. From the rugged islands off Tasmania’s coast, Indigenous rangers try to inspire some pride in wayward urban teens, to those doing it tough on the borders of white society who are forced into complex and compromised choices.

Adam Thompson’s stories sing with humour, poignancy, and the occasional artful twist as his characters navigate racism, death, classroom politics and, overshadowing everything, the discomforting awareness for both white and black Australia, of the unrelenting destruction and disappearance of what remains of our remarkable natural world.


Tasmanian Classic: Enterprising Women: Gender, Race and Power in the Revolutionary Atlantic by Cassandra Pybus.

“Enterprising Women offers a vital reassessment of the relationship among gender, race and power in the Atlantic World.” – Danielle Skeehan, Journal of American History

1797, Dorothy Thomas, known as the Queen of Demerara, was well on her way to becoming the richest black woman in the Caribbean colony of Demerara before she signed the manumission documents for Betty, her elderly slave. Thomas owned dozens of slaves, but what made this transaction unusual was that Betty was Thomas’s mother, and that fifteen years prior, Dorothy had procured the freedom of both herself and her children.

Dorothy Thomas’s story is just one of the extraordinary accounts of courage and grit recovered in Enterprising Women. As the microbiographies in this book tell, free women of color in Britain’s Caribbean colonies were not simply the dependent mistresses of the white male elite. In the unpredictable world of the slave colonies during the age of revolutions, some highly entrepreneurial women were able to rise to enormous success, the result of which was remarkable mobility and extensive family and commercial ties in the urban heart of the empire.