BOOK CLUB

NEED MORE CASH TO FEED YOUR SHOE HABIT? ONE OF THIS WEEK’S FEA­TURED READS HAS YOU COV­ERED, OR HAVE SOME FUN WITH A FIC­TION WRITER’S DE­BUT

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | RELAX -

STAR-CROSSED Min­nie Darke MICHAEL JOSEPH, $33

This de­light­ful de­but will leave you with a warm glow and surely set Min­nie Darke, the pen name of Tas­ma­nian au­thor Danielle Wood, on a star-stud­ded path. Jus­tine is the copy­run­ner at the Alexan­dria Park Star, a re­spected news­pa­per, and she’s des­per­ately wait­ing for some­one to leave — or die — so she can be­come a jour­nal­ist. When the con­tri­bu­tions man­ager moves over­seas, Jus­tine is pro­moted to the role as a step­ping stone to the news­room. One of her tasks is typ­ing in the stars that ar­rive by fax, com­piled by a reclu­sive as­trologer. But when child­hood friend, se­cret crush and ticket-car­ry­ing Aquar­ius Nick Jor­dan re-en­ters her life, Jus­tine starts fid­dling with the astrol­ogy col­umn to give fate a help­ing hand. This re­sults in un­ex­pected con­se­quences for Jus­tine and Nick, but also for a host of love­able char­ac­ters — from a loves­tarved florist to a col­lec­tor of Charles and Di wed­ding mem­o­ra­bilia and a rather ugly oneeyed dog. In ev­ery way a de­light, Star-crossed was so much fun, I fell head over heels for it. SHEL­LEY HAD­FIELD

FROM CON­VERSE TO LOUBOUTINS: A REAL GIRL’S GUIDE TO MONEY Effie Za­hos BAUER ME­DIA GROUP, $25

Don’t be put off by think­ing your mates are do­ing bet­ter fi­nan­cially than you. Chances are they are just liv­ing off credit. In her se­cond book, money guru Effie Za­hos gives plenty of mon­e­tary ad­vice to help you be­come much bet­ter at man­ag­ing your cash. She tells of re­al­life events in­clud­ing her sur­prise preg­nancy and love of ex­pen­sive cloth­ing. It proves Za­hos is just like the rest of us, with splurges and un­ex­pected sit­u­a­tions that catch us out. She un­rav­els ways to get your fi­nances back on track and de­ci­phers many fi­nan­cial terms. The mother of two ex­plains how to get a house de­posit to­gether, ways to fat­ten your su­per bal­ance and how to cope dur­ing di­vorce. She also in­cludes a 26-week money makeover that will help many get ahead in 2019. Her sug­ges­tions are all doable, it just comes down to you putting your mind to it. SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

THE GIRL IN THE LET­TER Emily Gun­nis HA­CHETTE, $33

The tragic, cruel and un­for­giv­able his­tory of homes run by nuns for un­wed teenage moth­ers in the 1950s is the fo­cus of this mys­tery with a mod­ern-day twist. The set­ting is the UK, but it could so eas­ily be Aus­tralia, Ire­land or the US, where many young women were forced to give up their ba­bies and suf­fered at the hands of nuns and priests who in­flicted pun­ish­ment for “sins of the flesh”. Much of the story is told via let­ter from teen Ivy Jenk­ins, who is in­car­cer­ated at St Mar­garet’s home af­ter giv­ing birth to a daugh­ter who is adopted out against her will. Some 60 years later, jour­nal­ist Sam Harper dis­cov­ers her grand­mother read­ing one of the let­ters. It sets her on a path to un­cover some painful se­crets. While the end­ing may seem a lit­tle con­trived, Gun­nis’ de­but novel would make her late mother, best-sell­ing novelist Penny Vin­cenzi, mighty proud. CA­RINA BRUCE

LOUIS & LOUISE Julie Co­hen HA­CHETTE, $30

What would a life look like if lived twice? This is the premise for the story of Louis David Alder and Louise Dawn Alder, or “Lou” as they are known to­gether. They have the same par­ents, birth­day, best friends and hair colour and grow up in a small town in Maine. For a time, every­thing is the same, ex­cept how the world per­ceives them. But when they are 18, one night changes their lives for­ever and sends them on to dra­mat­i­cally dif­fer­ent paths and away from every­thing they know. Af­ter 13 years away, Lou gets a call to say their mother is dy­ing, and sud­denly they must go back and con­front what hap­pened, the peo­ple they left be­hind, and the peo­ple they have be­come. Told through al­ter­nat­ing chap­ters of the two char­ac­ters, Louis and Louise con­tem­plates what gen­der means in the mod­ern world, while telling an in­cred­i­ble small-town story along the way. KATY HALL

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