ANSWER THE ROUSING CALL TO ARMS ISSUED BY ACCIDENTAL FEMINISTS OR BE SWEPT AWAY BY A LOVE STORY SET IN TASMANIA’S BEAUTIFUL CRADLE MOUNTAIN
ACCIDENTAL FEMINISTS Jane Caro MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY PRESS, $33
“Feminism may be an incomplete project, but it has never been as influential or as powerful as it is today,” Jane Caro writes. This book is a celebration of the giant steps women born between the mid-1940s and late-1950s — Baby Boomers — made for womankind. These were young women who grew up believing that their greatest achievement would be meeting a “spunk”, marrying him and having a family. But instead they were revolutionary, Caro says, becoming the first generation of women to have mostly earned their own money. Unfortunately, not everyone benefited in the same way, and Accidental Feminists isa call to arms, a recognition there is still a long way to go. One of the most critical situations involves older women who — due to pay inequality or having devoted their lives to caring for their husbands and children — have suddenly found themselves widowed or divorced and are living in dire financial circumstances or are homeless. Every woman, but especially every man, needs to read this.
THIRTY THOUSAND BOTTLES OF WINE AND A PIG CALLED HELGA Todd Alexander SIMON & SCHUSTER, $33
Sick of the hustle and bustle of corporate Sydney, Todd and Jeff up stumps and luck upon an established property in the Hunter Valley. This dream-come-true plot has vines, an olive grove and plenty of space to build boutique accommodation. So begins Alexander’s retelling of their journey, warts and all. The couple’s every step, blunder and achievement is told with a comical touch, from coping with horny pigs and pampered chickens, to their first vintage and bungled recipes. There is plenty of self-deprecating humour littered throughout this tale, but at times it feels like a fleshed-out diary, a step-bystep account of rejecting city life for the ultimate tree change. Some readers will love this but more of Alexander’s witty and droll observations on life rather than a chronological breakdown of their journey would have made this tale a far more sumptuous treat.
KINDRED Kate Legge THE MIEGUNYAH PRESS, $45
Gustav Weindorfer was an Austrian amateur botanist who arrived in Melbourne in 1900 and fell in love with the Australian bush. He also fell in love with a feisty, independent woman, Kate Cowie. They married, moved to Tasmania and began exploring the Central Highlands. After a visit to Cradle Mountain, the Weindorfers became determined to reveal its beauty to others. They built a chalet, to which they invited people from around the world. During WWI, Kate died and Gustav came under suspicion of being a spy because of his ancestry, but nevertheless carried on his work of both promoting and protecting the Tassie wilderness. Author Legge has gained access to journals, personal correspondence and photographs to tell the story of this remarkable couple. Although she is never quite sure whether she is writing a love story, a history or a pictorial travelogue, she still evokes an impressive sense of time and place.
BLOOD ORANGE Harriet Tyce HACHETTE, $33
It’s hard to find a character to like in this book until their weaknesses are revealed. Behind the big-noting, drunken, high-flying bravado of the London legal profession is a truly messed-up world. The insight is shocking as we follow barrister Alison through her first murder, her career on the rise. But it’s not just the facts of the new case that are disturbing but also her own life as it rapidly unravels. Alison’s privileged private life with an adoring six-yearold daughter and a homebody husband contrasts sharply with her heavy drinking, affairs, risk taking and sex at work. Add to that a murder accused desperate to plead guilty, an instructing solicitor acting on the edge of the law, and a stalker, and Alison’s private and work lives are cleverly entwined in an edgy debut novel by author and former criminal barrister Harriet Tyce. A dark psychological thriller that will have you second guessing until the very end.