The Woolgrower’s Companion – Joy Rhoades
I have always liked to share reviews from new writers and I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Woolgrower’s Companion the debut not from Joy Rhoades.
This moving story is set in 1945 New South Wales, Australia. Kate Dowd lives with her father on their Sheep farm, life is pretty tough, there is a drought and Kate’s husband, Jack is overseas with the army. Her father’s health has been in decline for some-time. But there is worse. The farm is struggling and the bank are hovering like vultures. It is sink or swim against a raging tide for Kate.
This is where Kate now has to find the resolve to save the family farm. Kate’s father fought in WWI and the memory of the awful time has been kept alive as he named the farm ‘Amiens’. There is the arrival of two Italian POW’s who are sent to help on the farm as nearly all the young men are overseas fighting the war. Vittorio and Luca, but their arrival on the farm has an unsettling effect on the other people who work there. Kate has to keep focussed on trying to save the farm now that her father’s health is getting worse. But for Kate she finds herself drawn like a magnet to Luca. Now Kate receives the wort news as the bank has given her just eight weeks to turn things around or they will repossess and they will lose everything.
With the backdrop of the historical mistreatment of the aboriginal people of Australia, Kate turns to her Aboriginal helper, Daisy for moral support and help. I loved the premise of this historical story, with a host of sub-plots in the background, this I found was an epic and compelling read. Does Kate become unfaithful to Jack while he is away in the army or does she resist Luca?
There are many themes that Joy Rhoades brings to the reader of this moment in history for Australia, which makes The Woolgrower’s Companion so readable. The harsh landscape in the midst of one of the worst droughts in memory makes life incredibly hard for Kate who is trying to keep the banks away. It is not just their way of life it is the family home. So beautifully written and evocative. At the back of the book there are some recipes of the time and these would have been what Kate would have baked in the family kitchen and all of them sound just amazing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to for the review copy of The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades
The Woolgrower’s Companion by Joy Rhoades was published by Vintage and was published on 28th June 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.