Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Year of Judy Nunn and Belinda Alexandra

2009 was the year that I was introduced to (in my opinion) two great Australian authors. At first, I was very sceptical when a friend offered to lend me one of several Judy Nunn books she owned. As an avid Home and Away fan, I'd watched Judy Nunn play Ailsa on the show for many years and my first thought was, "Soapie stars can't write." I think I got that thought from having watching soap stars go into the pop music world (or vice versa). But I borrowed the book, Territory, and was soon eating my words. It was FANTASTIC! Since reading Territory, I've also read The Glitter Game, Floodtide, Heritage and I'm in the middle of reading Kal. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her books! The fantastic research behind them brings Australian history to life, particularly focusing on the post-World War 2 period and the birth of multiculturalism.

Later on last year, the same friend lent me three books by another Australian author in Belinda Alexandra. I had never heard of her before and by looking at the covers of her books, my first thought was that they looked like pansy romance novels. Again, I was wrong. She is very much like Judy Nunn in that she writes historical drama and the books are very well researched and rich in detail. I've read White Gardenia, Wild Lavender and Silver Wattle and her fourth book is due out this year. Her stories are set in China, Russia, Australia, the then Czechoslovakia and France.

So if you're in a book club and looking for books to read, then I highly recommend these two authors. I think any authors who draw me so far into their story that I bristle with anger, shout with alarm or cry in sadness is a good author. I hope to evoke emotions in my novel the same way as these two women do.

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