Publication date 3/3/2021
‘Holding on means there’s still hope.’
The small (fictional) town of Boolanga provides the setting for Ms Lowe’s thoughtful and thought-provoking novel exploring prejudice and privilege. Helen, in her last fifties, has experienced tragedy, homelessness and employment-related ageism. Jade, a teenaged mother, is dealing with a frequently absent boyfriend who sees parenting their baby son Milo as Jade’s responsibility as well as with judgemental locals. Tara is struggling. She is juggling the demands of two small children and the family business and is concerned that her husband Jon is no longer interested in their marriage.
Boolanga has a community garden, but some of the locals want to keep that garden exclusive. Recent migrants are excluded. Others are convinced that ‘the Africans’ are responsible for the town’s recent crime wave. Through the stories of these three quite different women, Ms Lowe shines a light on the different ways people are displaced and regarded as ‘others’. While Helen, Tara, and Jade each must adapt to changed circumstances, they each learn to accept help without being defensive and to accept difference without automatically rejecting it.
Once again, Ms Lowe creates three-dimensional characters who tackle some difficult contemporary issues. And, in doing so, she invites the reader to think about their own attitudes and responses.
I loved this novel.
Note: My thanks to Better Reading Preview for an ARC.