Author Colleen McCullough. Author Colleen McCullough. Photo: Quentin Jones

By Colleen McCullough. HarperCollins. 528pp A$35.99.

It's more than three decades since Colleen McCullough wrote The Thorn Birds and - not wanting to be typecast - vowed never to pen another family saga. But two dozen books later, here she is doing just that, claiming she was bored after failing eyesight put paid to her other love, painting.
So, has she still got the knack? Will her teeming fans again salivate over the lives of two sets of twin sisters, as they did over a priest and a country girl (played by Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward in the US-made mini-series that was "just vomit", according to the author.

Colleen McCullough's <em>
Bittersweet</m>.Set in 1920s and '30s Australia, the twins Edda and Grace, Tufts and Kitty, born 10 years apart with the same father but different mother, are beautiful, ambitious women determined to make their mark at a time when females were treated as skivvies, and men claimed them as their personal property. Edda yearns to be a doctor. Grace sighs for marriage, plain and simple. Tufts vows never to marry. Kitty begs for love free of male domination