My mother and I have not called the same city home for close to 10 years and yet we have found a cross-country tether to always hold us together.
That tether is books or more specifically the sharing, recommending and sometimes even disagreeing on the words and stories found between the pages of various novels we discover each year.
My earliest childhood memories are of lying on a small mattress on the floor next to my mother’s chair, in a tangled web made up of blankets and the limbs of my sisters and brothers, and listening to my mother’s voice read aloud to us for hours. It’s where my love of words and stories was first forged, a love affair that has continued on to this day.
So now, whenever I jump on a plane to visit my mother I am always laden down with copies of brilliant books I have already devoured and now am eager to pass onto her. Or, in the case of a special occasion like Mother’s Day, I will tuck the books into a large brown box along with some other goodies and send it off to her as a little care package.
In the case of this year’s Mother’s Day, the book I will be sending her way is a page-turning, female-driven tale set in 1940s Australia – a brilliant new novel called The Land Girls by bestselling Australian author Victoria Purman.
What I love about The Land Girls is that it is both a welcoming comfort read, as Purman’s almost lyrical description of this particular point in Australia’s history is a richly crafted treat veering cleverly through the brutal hardships faced at the time while also filtering in little moments of beautiful, historical nostalgia. It’s a well-told story filled with multi-dimensional female characters.
The early pages of The Land Girls introduce us to Flora, who is a “spinster” (as she is described in the novel, in accordance with the era in which the world is set which is 1942) toiling away at her dull office job in Melbourne. World War II is looming in the background of the novel and even though Flora is doing her part to help the war effort by knitting socks for the troops, it takes just one moment in time for anger to overtake her and change the course of her life forever.