I’m the author of six novels - The Painting, The Philosopher's Daughters, A Perfect Marriage, Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky and A Distant Land. I was born in Melbourne brought up in Sydney, and spent over two decades studying and working in the UK before returning to Australia in 2002. Married with two grownup daughters, I’m currently a professor at the Australian National University and an ANU Public Policy Fellow.
The Philosopher's Daughters
From nineteenth century London to remote outback Australia, two sisters – pulled apart by love – are brought together by tragedy.
When Harriet Cameron follows her beloved sister, Sarah, to the harsh Australian outback – as dangerous as it is beautiful, as mysterious as it is wild – she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life.
Harriet’s recovery from this alienation begins with her growing friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her increasing love for the landscape.
But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand who is seeking revenge...
When Anika Molnar flees her home country of Hungary not long before the break-up of the Soviet Union, she carries only a small suitcase - and a beautiful and much-loved painting, of an auburn-haired woman in a cobalt blue dress, from her family's hidden collection. Arriving in Australia, Anika moves in with her aunt in Sydney, and the painting hangs in pride of place in her bedroom.
But one day it is stolen in what seems to be a carefully planned theft, and Anika's carefree life takes a more ominous turn. Sinister secrets from her family's past and Hungary's fraught history cast suspicion over the painting's provenance, and she embarks on a gripping quest to uncover the truth.
Hungary's war-torn past contrasts sharply with Australia's bright new world of opportunity in this moving and compelling mystery from acclaimed novelist Alison Booth.
A Perfect Marriage
ISBN-1-910453-49-8 / 978-1-910453-49-0 (UK edition)
Sally Lachlan has a secret that has haunted her for a decade. But perhaps it is time to let it go. A chance meeting with geneticist Anthony Blake reawakens her desire for happiness and at the same time her daughter Charlie shows signs of wanting to know more about her father. Both the past and the future are places Sally prefers not to think about. But if she wants to move towards a brighter future, she will first have to come to terms with her long-ago marriage. Only by delving deep into the past will she be able to be honest with Charlie. And herself.
This is a love story - of the love between a man and a woman, and between a mother and a daughter. The themes are contemporary - female friendship, single parenthood, the nature of memory, and above all middle-class domestic violence.
The story is also a tale of redemption, of new hopes and fresh beginnings.
A Distant Land
In 1957, Zidra met Jim for the first time. Fourteen years later, their friendship - forged in childhood in the beautiful coastal town of Jingera - is still strong. But is friendship all they dream of? Jim is now a respected war correspondent reporting on the Vietnam War as it spills over into Cambodia. Zidra is an ambitious reporter at the Sydney Morning Chronicle, and a major story has just landed in her lap. Life is looking good, if only she could share it with the man who knows her best. Then at work one day Zidra intercepts a wire service bulletin. And her world begins to collapse around her…
“I found myself engrossed in the drama of Zidra's investigation into corruption in internal security and of the aftermath of Jim's South-East Asian ordeal, all the way to the final page.”
Charlotte Harper, The Canberra Times
The Indigo Sky
In the spring of 1961, the sleepy little town of Jingera is at its most perfect with its clear blue skies, pounding surf and breath-taking lagoon. Yet all is not so perfect behind closed doors. George Cadwallader – butcher by day and star-gazer by night – is loved by everyone except his wife. He only wants the best for his family – yet it’s all falling apart. Philip Chapman is a sensitive young boy, a musical prodigy – and a target for bullies. But with his wealthy parents indifferent to his cries for help, his entire future is at risk. Then there’s Ilona Vincent and her daughter Zidra, former refugees, now fully-fledged ‘Jingeroids’. When a voice from the past reaches out to them, they’re soon in a race against time to reunite a family that has been cruelly torn apart.
“A warm, entertaining and thought-provoking novel”
In 1957 after the death of her husband, pianist Ilona Talivaldis and her nine-year-old daughter Zidra travel to the beautiful coastal village of Jingera. Ilona, a concentration camp survivor from Latvia, is searching for peace and an opportunity to start anew. In her vine-covered cottage by the lagoon, she plans to set herself up as a piano teacher. As the weeks pass by, mother and daughter get to know the townsfolk - including kind-hearted butcher George Cadwallader who is forever gazing at the stars; his son Jim, a boy wise beyond his years; Peter Vincent, a former wartime pilot and POW; and the publican’s wife Cherry Bates, who is about to make a horrifying discovery... For Jingera is not quite the utopia Ilona imagines it to be - and at risk is the one thing Ilona holds dear...
‘A mythical town and its people are brought beautifully to life ... a really lovely book’ SUNDAY TELEGRAPH