Monday, September 11, 2017

Jarulan by the River - sprawling and surprising story of love, grief and loss from a striking and original voice in historical fiction

Jarulan by the River

Lily Woodhouse

NZ RRP $35.00  |   HarperCollins Publishers

Matthew Fenchurch, patriarch and landowner of the northern NSW property Jarulan, lives in a grand, decaying folly. His wife is dead, one son has fallen on a battlefield in France and another has made his home in remote New Zealand. With his daughters married and elsewhere, his only company are the farmhands and an old family servant.

When Matthew builds a memorial above the river for the boys of the district who have died fighting for King and Country, his daughters and their families return for the unveiling. They bring with them someone who will change life at Jarulan forever — though not as anyone expected.

Erotic, haunting, brimming with love, beauty, ill deeds, revenge and unions illicit and condoned, Jarulan by the River is a tale of tragedy, passion and redemption from a striking new voice.

 The seeds of this epic tale came from a story told to author Lily Woodhouse concerning a young husband and father who was out of work.

 "He was offered a job by a widow, some years older than he was,’ says Woodhouse. ‘She had a business running scows around the coast and needed a strong, sea-savvy man to do the work. When she offered him the position it came with the proviso that he become her lover. He accepted. He had no choice, the story-teller told me. It was the Depression. I asked about his wife and was told she had no choice either. The story lodged in my mind as fertile ground for a novel.’

Jarulan By The River is the story of a family shaped by the decisions and relationships of preceding generations. As our moral framework changed throughout the twentieth century there were some who benefitted and others who were damaged. Limitations inflicted by race, class and misplaced loyalty were very often overcome by love.’

Lily Woodhouse is an award-winning writer (under another name) who has turned her hand to the sweeping family saga. She divides her time between Australia and New Zealand.

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