Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red Dust by Fleur McDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Book Blurb:
After the tragic death of her husband in a light-plane accident, Gemma Sinclair is left with the daunting task of managing the vast outback station he’s bequeathed her. But she remains haunted by Adam’s dying words, not to mention persistent whispers that Adam’s death was not an accident …
Red Dust opens with Gemma Sinclair grieving the death of her husband, Adam, in a horrific plane crash and learning she’s inherited the 10,000 hectare station his family has worked for generations.

Despite huge scepticism from surrounding landowners, Gemma decides not to sell Billbinya, disregarding Adam’s dying words that he’s in trouble and she must sell the station.

As if the job of keeping the station going isn’t enough, a wave of innuendo sweeps through the local community about Adam’s involvement in cattle and sheep rustling. There are even whispers the plane crash was no accident.

My review:
I've taken liberties with the Book Blurb above. It is not verbatim from the official media kit. I changed the word "duffing" to "rustling" purely for the non-Australian readers who wouldn't have a clue what duffing means. The blurb displayed above is also only partly what is displayed in the media kit for this book on Ms. McDonald's website. I've altered it because I felt it gave far too much of the story away.

Now before I go into my feelings on this book I want to tell you why I wanted to read it. There are a couple of reasons. First, because Fleur McDonald will be coming to my local library next week to speak regarding her books and writing. I live in a rural town and although our library does a great job, it's not very often we get authors down here to speak. It's a lot different from living in a city. So I plan to attend and wanted to be able to speak intelligently about her books.

The second reason I wanted to read this is because it is a very Australian book. Lots of Australian language, characters etc. As someone who grew up and spent most of my life in the States and moved to Australia two and a half years ago I'm still fascinated by Australian culture.

And lastly, and this is a biggie, because this book is set in the Australian State in which I live now - South Australia.

The world knows Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth. Some have even heard of Adelaide here in South Australia. But if you're writing a book set in Australia, what location would you use? The likelihood of using a rural town in South Australian location is fairly remote I think.

Well this book IS set in South Australia, a bit north of Adelaide. There are even references to a town called Naracoorte which is only an hour away from me. To have a book set in a place that is so nearby drew me in.

So now, on to my review.

I loved some of the characters. Gemma frustrated me at times, to be honest, but who doesn't? If everyone behaved the way I would there would be nothing to read about, right? I loved the general Aussie-ness of this book. There is some suspense and some romance. I'll admit I figured out who the "baddies" were before the end, but it wasn't super obvious and I like being fed enough clues to get there before we are told.

Really solid read.

About the author:
Fleur McDonald is one of Australia’s leading female rural literature authors and inspiration strikes at the strangest of times.

Usually it comes while she’s working on the 8000acre farm she owns and runs with her husband in south-east of Western Australia. Farms are labour intensive and all-consuming so Fleur snatches precious writing moments whenever she can ... in the cab of her farm ute, between runs on the chaser bin, or during a lull in cattle work.

She had a two-book deal in Germany before Red Dust was even finished. In 2009 Red Dust was the highest selling novel for a debut author. In 2010 Red Dust was short listed for the Australian Book Industry Awards as Newcomer (Debut) Author of the year and the R*BY awards. Next came Blue Skies and now her latest novel, Purple Roads.

Her stories are set in rural Australia and feature strong female characters and solid, no nonsense, country men. Fleur’s characters are inspired by the tough, complex and genuine people she’s met during a lifetime living in remote Australia.

To learn more about Fleur McDonald check out her website

Want to contact Fleur?
Fleur can be contacted via email:
Facebook: /FleurMcDonaldAuthor
Twitter: @FleurMcDonald


  1. Thank you for the wonderful review. I am now intrigued and will check this out. The author sounds like she drew from her own life to add depth to her characters.

  2. I think she did Laura, but I'll find out more tonight when I get to hear her speak. :)