Tuesday, April 17, 2012
You know when you experience a whole gamut of emotions for a fictional character - fondness, sympathy, frustration, anger, and then a desire to kick him in the nuts before finally wanting to hug him - that the author has done a wonderful job weaving his personality into a story. That's how I felt about Matt Butler in Fleur McDonald's latest release, Purple Roads.
Of course, I have no idea if that is how Fleur meant me to feel, but I think whenever an author makes a reader feel something, anything, it's a wonderful thing. A gift.
I have introduced you to Fleur on this blog before with her previous novels, Red Dust and Blue Skies, and she brought a lot of hits with her mention of semen-catching in this interview. (Go on, you know you want to read that). Fleur lives, breathes and captures with words our great land in all its beauty and harshness. She very kindly sent me a copy of Purple Roads to have a read... just between you and me, I think Fleur is trying to slap a bit of the city-slicker-chick out of me and 'countrify' me. And I like it. I can get my fix of country hospitality, farming life, and the feel of open roads and gum trees as far as the eye can see, without ever getting my high heels dirty or smelling one single sheep.
In Purple Roads we meet Matt and Anna Butler and their young daughter Ella, a family who have achieved their dream of owning their own land. Times are tough and the seasons are unkind, but together they do what they can to hold onto their dream. When a horrible accident and a callous theft see the couple facing financial ruin, leading to the loss of the farm, Matt embarks on a dangerous mission to find those responsible for his plight, alienating his wife and daughter in the process.
There are some interesting characters, a few twists and side stories, including a glimpse at the horrors facing a soldier at war, some education for me (who knew fertiliser was so important? I just get $7 bags of blood & bone for my roses from Bunnings... and pregnancy testing ewes? how the hell do you get them to pee on the stick?), and the setting of South Australia's mid-north, in particular mentions of Clare and Spalding, I admit I am biased about. I LOVE Clare. I LOVE the whole Clare Valley and have stayed there many times. Sevenhill, Crabtree and Skillogalee, how I love thee. They make exquisite wine there. Enough said.
Anyway, Purple Roads is not about wine, but a lovely read about hope, faith, and the belief that some things are worth fighting for. Love, marriage, family and dreams. And wine. Sorry, not wine, that's just me.
For those of you in South Australia, Fleur is doing a whirlwind tour of several country locations from 23rd April.
Check out Fleur's website fleurmcdonald.com