A renewal of an acquaintance

We visited Canberra last weekend as a surprise for our younger daughter’s birthday.  While we were there we had a family day out at one of the historical properties in the Australian Capital Territory. There are not many historical properties as the ACT has a very short history in the scheme of things as Canberra was built as a planned city for the capital of the country.

The place we visited was Lanyon Homestead.

The homestead is now on the edge of the outer suburbs of Canberra.  You are literally one minute in the suburbs then round the corner in the countryside.  When we used to live in Canberra it was a fairly long trip from our suburb out to Lanyon and we were in one of the outer suburbs.  That was many years ago and Canberra has grown considerably since then.

It was lovely to revisit Lanyon as we used to take our children there.  Now there is a cafe in one of the outbuildings

and the homestead is manned by staff who will give guided tours if asked.  We had gone to have a birthday lunch at the cafe as well as doing a tour of the estate.

One aspect that we remembered that is no longer there was the Sidney Nolan Gallery.  The gallery had been there for 27 years but in 2007 it was decided that the gallery was no longer suitable for such a valuable collection. This is rather sad as the collection was housed in a rural setting at the request of the artist.  Now the collection is housed in the Canberra Museum and Gallery.

You can read about what prompted this move at Yolande Norris.

My April reads

I have been busily reading this month so here are the books I have read.

Coffin Road was another Hebridean thriller by Peter May.  I will need to look out for more of his books.  I picked this one up at the secondhand book sale.  Very atmospheric writing.

Promise by Sarah Armstrong, for some reason made me think of The Slap by Christos Tsiolkis.  The link was probably the moral issues and legal issues that were presented here.  The story is set in Sydney and the hinterland of Nimbin. A very thought provoking tale with the moral dilemma that was the focus of the story.  How far should a person go to protect the safety of a child?  I kept wondering what I would do in the situation.

You can listen to an interview with Sarah Armstrong here.

The Blue Mile by Kim Kelly was set in Sydney around the time of the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Lots of historical research has gone into this book and it reminded me of the Rowland Sinclair series of books by Sulari Gentill

“Against the glittering backdrop of Sydney Harbour, The Blue Mile tells of the cruelties of poverty, the wild gamble a city took to build a wonder of the world, and the risks the truly brave will take for a chance at life.”

The book was a romance but the historical aspects made it an enjoyable read.

Exposure by Helen Dunmore didn’t disappoint.  I loved The Siege and this was equally as good.  This is a spy novel but not one with a complex plot.  You can read an excellent review here.

“It is set at the heart of the Cold War in November, 1960. Simon and Lily Carrington live in North London. Simon works at the Admiralty, keeps his head down and has a relatively ordinary life. However, this is turned upside down when he is accused of espionage.”

Selection Day by Aravind Adiga was all about the fanatic love of cricket in India and the pressure that is put on two brothers to succeed in the cricket arena.  It was also an enjoyable read as it provided aspects of life in Mumbai along with the cricket focus. There is an excellent review here.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of these books and would recommend each one.  It was a mixture of genres this month, not my usual crime fiction.

According to Goodreads I am two reads behind in my Reading Challenge so I need to catch up.  At the moment I am reading Jack Maggs by Peter Carey.






Australian history with a bit of crime and romance

I am really enjoying the Sulari Gentill books of the Rowland Sinclair series.


I have just finished Gentlemen Formerly Dressed and enjoyed it just as much as the previous book I reviewed.  The story moves along at a rollicking pace and I stop now and again to check on some particular aspect of Australian history mentioned in the plot.  I love how Sulari Gentill brings history to life.  I have never been a great lover of history but I am loving this series.  The book is set in London but follows on from the troubles they had while in Nazi Germany.

From the cover:

After narrowly escaping the terror of Nazi Germany, Rowland Sinclair and his companions land in London, believing they are safe.

But they are wrong.

A bizarre murder plunges the hapless Australians into a queer world of British aristocracy, Fascist Blackshirts, illicit love, scandal, and spies.

A world where gentlemen are not always what they are dressed up to be.

 There are some wonderful reviews to be found here.

This is another for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.