A shake up from my current thriller trend and I’m transported to Australia to a time when Sydney was no more than a small colony. Elizabeth has arrived with her husband; John, who is determined to reach the level of glory he thinks he deserves there.
Having grown up on a farm and had a less than perfect childhood, Elizabeth is a tough cookie who isn’t afraid of hard work and won’t crack easily, but even she struggles with the strange arrangement they find themselves in.
Unlikely friendships, gruelling work, the art of soothing an arrogant husband… Elizabeth documents it all in her diary and in such an atmospheric way that you feel immersed in this old world of warmth, isolation and hardship.
The saying “behind every great man, there’s a great woman” ran through my thoughts whilst reading Elizabeth’s words albeit it’s arguable if John could be described as a ‘great man’, but nevertheless the saying rang true for the successes John achieved, which had been orchestrated by Elizabeth… John, of course, is oblivious to all this.
I found the story offered me a wonderful insight into what Australia must have been like back then, one particular observation stuck out to me – how difficult it was for Elizabeth to get good tea!
An authentic story that tied fiction and fact tightly together creating a compelling and moving read.
A Room Made of Leaves is out now in hardback and eBook versions from Canongate Books.
Until next time, Chloé x