November Recommended Reads

Australian Recent Release: The Freedom of Birds by Stephanie Parkyn.

From the bestselling author of Josephine’s Garden comes a story of adventure, friendship, belonging and the importance of storytelling.

In search of a place to belong after the fall of Napoleon’s Empire, two French storytellers and a runaway girl journey through France’s theatres, battlefields and fairytale countryside.

Remi Victoire is the most beloved child among all the theatre orphans, his biggest dream – a life on a Paris stage. But when this future is snatched from him, Remi and his  loyal friend Pascal turn away from Paris forever.

Together with Saskia, a runaway orphan girl herself, Remi and Pascal form a theatre troupe, travelling through lands that are home to the Brothers Grimm, and finally finding a safe refuge in Venice.

As Napoleon’s Empire collapses, however, the group realise that Paris itself is in danger of invasion and they fear for the loved ones they have left behind.

Tasmanian Recent Release: Cold Coast by Robyn Mundy.

“Inspired by the story of Svalbard’s first female trapper, Cold Coast is a gripping portrayal of survival within the stark beauty and perilous wilderness of the high Arctic.” Ultimo Press

In 1932, young widow Wanny Woldstad travels to Svalbard and dares to enter the Norwegian trappers’ closely guarded male realm. She must prove to her trapping partner Anders Sæterdal, who makes no secret of his derision that a woman is fit for the task. Over one Svalbard winter, Wanny and Sæterdal confront polar bears, negotiate glaciers, endure blizzards and the dangers of sea ice, and hike miles to trap Arctic fox, all in the icy darkness of the four-month polar night. But for Wanny, the darkness conceals her own deceptions that, if exposed, speak to the untenable sacrifice of a woman in the 1930s yearning to accomplish a dream.

Running parallel to the grim, confronting nature of trapping work is the story of a young blue Arctic fox, also a hunter, who must scrape out a living and manoeuvre through the trappers’ world if it is to withstand its first Arctic winter.

‘An exquisitely written, immersive novel about wildness, survival and the incomparable exhilaration of choosing a bigger life. I was captivated from start to finish.’ – Emily Maguire, author of An Isolated Incident and Love Objects

‘Rarely has a book been so evocative of time and place. At once transporting and unsentimental, Cold Coast is as bracing as the arctic winds that sweep through its world. Its truths about love, endurance and courage are visceral and above all exhilarating, even as death hovers unsettlingly near.’ – Lucy Treloar, author of Salt Creek

Kids Recent Release: A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr.

‘Heart-twisting and hopeful, bursting with big feelings and gentle magic. This is a special book from a powerful, compassionate new voice in children’s literature, destined to be read and loved for generations and held close in many hearts (including mine).’ – Jessica Townsend, New York Times bestselling author of the Nevermoor series

Meixing Lim and her family have inherited a new house in a new place from First Uncle, who died a sudden, tragic death while picking oranges in his garden. To Meixing, everything seems boundless and unfamiliar and not in an exciting way, including the house she has named Big Scary. She is embarrassed by the second-hand shoes their neighbours have given her, has difficulty understanding the language at her new school, and with fitting in and making friends. Meixing finds her peace in a glasshouse in the garden that inexplicably contains the sun and the moon and all the mysteries of her memory and imagination.

But her fragile world is shaken when tragedy hits and Ma Ma refuses to confront the world outside, and Meixing becomes trapped inside the shrinking walls of Big Scary. Her parents told her this would be a better life for them all, but it feels like the most terrible, the most heart-breaking experience of Meixing’s entire existence. Surviving will take all her resilience, bravery and inner belief.

Tasmanian Classic: Thyla by Kate Gordon.

My name is Tessa. I am strong. I am brave. I do not cry. These are the only things I know for certain. I was found in the outback, ragged as a wild thing. I have no memory; not even of how I got the long slashes across my back. They make me frightened of what I might remember. The policewoman, Connolly, found me; and placed me; in a boarding school and told me about her daughter, Cat, who went missing in the outback. I think there is a connection between Cat, me, and the strange things going on at this school. If I can learn Cat’s story, I might discover my own and stop it happening again.

Thyla is a thrilling paranormal story filled with shapeshifting folklore, a centuries-old war, convicts and tigers and devils. At it’s core, it is a book about discovering who you really are when you can’t trust your memories. If you like books that are unique and eerie and a little bit magical, then this one is for you.