Synopsis: ‘A gripping family drama that plays out against a turbulent and controversial political era, this book tells the tale of Susan Kinnane. She is the precocious daughter of conservative parents who spurns the attention of fellow university student Mike Riley in favor of a passionate romance with activist Terry Stoddard. When the South African Rugby team goes on the road, Terry, Susan, and Mike join the anti-apartheid demonstrations outside the Springbok’s hotel near the iconic Tower Mill. Late in the night, the riot police charge, and the terrified students are hunted into the darkened park below. What happens next changes each of their lives forever. Eight months later, Susan gives birth to a son, Tom, whose destiny is shaped by a man who is not his father, and by the events of that shocking night. As a lawyer working in London decades later, Tom must return to make peace with the past. This novel combines the youthful passion and enthusiastic activism of the 1970s with the racism of the apartheid era in a vibrant and tumultuous story that will enthrall readers to the final page.’
One of the interesting aspects of this novel was that the end of Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s rein in Queensland was the beginning of my adult life. I was even living in Brisbane at the time. This of course makes the novel even more interesting as I feel I was a part of it.
There are many themes to follow in this book such as corruption, political intrigue, feminism and family to name a few. The political climate of the time is the backdrop for this book. An important backdrop as it shapes the characters within, but the main thread running through the novel is the relationship between a mother and her son. The book is told from Susan (mother), and alternatively Tom’s (son) point of view. It also switches back and forwards in time, from the 1970’s to the present. This does not distract from the telling of the story in any way, and keeps the reader intrigued.
A well written, easy to follow novel with a fascinating look at Queensland politics in the most interesting era.
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