Merry Christmas!

Just before Christmas, we got together with chocolate, biscuits and fudge to enjoy each others company and discuss Julie Kibler’s ‘Calling me Home’, a novel about the dangers an interracial marriage faced in the 1930s.

Isabelle is the daughter of the town of Shalerville’s wealthy doctor. Living a life of privilege, Isabelle is bored by the fancy parties she is expected to attend, and dislikes her uncomfortable party dresses. She would prefer to wear trousers and wonder the grounds of their estate. Is it perhaps her rebellious spirit which causes her to become infatuated with Robert, the son of the family housemaid?

Overall, this book was well received. It is such a foreign concept to us today, to think that your relationships can be dictated by the colour of your skin, but in other ways we realised that thing haven’t really changed as much as we would like.

The book did encourage a fantastic discussion about racism in today’s society, but we did consent that many of us do worry about what other’s think of us.

One of our members didn’t enjoy it as much, but overall we agreed that it was an enjoyable novel with some important social themes and gave it a rating of 4/5.

In the new year, we are reading and discussing Emily Bitto’s ‘The Strays’



On her first day at a new school, Lily meets Eva, one of the daughters of the infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. He and his wife are attempting to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work with them at their family home. As Lily’s friendship with Eva grows, she becomes infatuated with this makeshift family and longs to truly be a part of it.

Looking back on those years later in life, Lily realises that this utopian circle involved the same themes as Evan Trentham’s art: Faustian bargains and terrible recompense; spectacular fortunes and falls from grace. Yet it was not Evan, nor the other artists he gathered around him, but his own daughters, who paid the debt that was owing.

The Strays is an engrossing story of ambition, sacrifice and compromised loyalties from an exciting new talent.