This month, we met to discuss Rosalie Ham’s ‘The Dressmaker’. As most of us had already seen the film, we had a great time discussing the differences between the film and the book, as well as the difference in themes and humour.

The few who had not seen the film felt the book was ‘weird’ and were not overly interested in seeing the film – the rest of us assured them that they were missing out.

The Dressmaker tells the story of a small Australian town which is stuck in its ways and unable to escape the judgement and hypocrisy which has settled upon the miserable townspeople. When our protagonist, Tilly, returns after being cast out from the town as a child, her fresh eyes can see the decay and toxicity within the community. The book is darkly humorous, with a unique ‘gothic outback’ twist.

We discussed why it is that small towns where everybody knows everybody else often have a judgemental side, and are not welcoming to outsiders. Some of our group are from small country towns, and regaled us with tales of unwitting strangers who were treated with suspicion and hostility.

Our ratings of the tale varied – from 2 stars to 5, so it evened out at 3.3 stars. Overall we enjoyed it and found it humorous, but some found it a little outside their comfort zone.

Funnily enough, it reminded me in ways of Stella Gibbons Cold Comfort Farm, which we discussed in August last year, and was also overwhelmingly disliked by the group (Read all about it here


Next month we are revisiting a favourite author – Stephen King!


In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again.

Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.