By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Under Southern Skies
By Anne McCullagh Rennie (Michael Joseph, $29.95, softcover, 339 pages)
A coming-of-age novel that sees an impressionable teenage girl pursuing her dreams in the harsh beauty of the outback makes for relaxed reading.
Cate Perry, 18, encounters hurdles, but is resilient in the pursuit of happiness. She enjoys life, works confidently with men and animals on her father’s cattle station in the Northern Territory and is overwhelmingly excited about flying solo in the station’s two-seater Cessna 150.
However, her exciting achievement is marred by her step-mother and when tragedy strikes Cate is left all alone. Even though her childhood friend Alf supports her, she is spirited enough to strike out on her own, move to Tamworth and turn her love of singing and playing the guitar into a successful career.
Cate’s belief in herself slowly grows, along with a self-assurance as she finds constancy and finally re-connects with her love of the land and country lifestyle. It takes a while to attain as she works her way through making decisions that we may not necessarily agree with, but all’s well that ends well.
The narrative is moderately-paced, feisty and poignant.
Edition 400, 11 March 2014
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