EXCERPT: ‘By the way, what’s Safi short for?’
‘Saffron,’ he responded. ‘Boy! That takes me back. She hated it – changed it when she was ten, if you can believe it!’ He chuckled suddenly. ‘She was the most pig-headed brat you ever saw. Call her Saffron and she’d just ignore you – even Mum.’
‘So . . . who is she, Charlie?’
There was a brief silence. ‘My – our – sister. I forgot you wouldn’t know. How did you come to hear about her, anyway?’
‘I found her photo. What’s the big mystery, Charlie? How come none of you boys, let alone Mum and Dad, ever mentioned her to me? Did she die?’
ABOUT ‘THE HEARTWOOD HOTEL’: The Heartwood is the core of this district. It always has been so, but it’s still just a building. It’s your family – you and Adam and old Tiger – who animate it, keep the heart beating, so to speak.’
In the abandoned railhead town of Tewinga, now almost a ghost town, Lyn and Adam Portman struggle to keep the Heartwood Hotel afloat. Lyn loves her husband and longs to be a mother. But she’s kept busy caring for her elderly father, her community, and Max, the young worker who reminds her of the brother she’s lost and dearly misses.
When he fails to return from a day trip, Lyn’s concern deepens as the length of his absence grows, the more so with rumours of criminal activity at a nearby station. Meanwhile, a chance meeting uncovers a family bombshell that leaves Lyn reeling. The community must pull together as never before, proving that sometimes the smallest towns have the biggest hearts – and hide the darkest secrets.
MY THOUGHTS: Set in the remote hinterland of Queensland Australia, somewhere between Hamilton and Charters Towers, Tewinga, home to a pub, with petrol, a one man Police Station, a general store and a camp ground, is the setting for this multi-layered outback mystery.
Who is Safi?
Where has Max disappeared to?
What is the secret behind all the wealth at one of the stations?
Tewinga may almost be a ghost town, but there’s always plenty going on. Monthly CWA dances, gossip in the bar. The way everyone pulls together when there’s a crisis. McGinnis has truly captured the spirit of the outback. I felt right at home here. The characters are so real that I’m sure I’ve met some of them on my travels.
An author I will be reading more of.
I: #kerrymcginnis #penguinbooksaus
#australianfiction #crime #familydrama #mystery
THE AUTHOR: Kerry McGinnis was born in Adelaide and, at the age of twelve, took up a life of droving with her father and three siblings. The family travelled extensively across the Northern Territory and Queensland before settling on a station in the Gulf Country. Kerry has worked as a shepherd, droving hand, gardener, stock-camp and station cook, eventually running a property at Bowthorn, near Mount Isa. She is the author of two volumes of memoir and now lives in Bundaberg.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to fellow Waitomo District Library Book Club members, Betty and Elsie, for recommending The Heartwood Hotel by Kerry McGinnis. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.com