10 Fearless Novels That Will Make You Want to Change Your Life Now
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Take a trip around the world with these extraordinary novels. Brought to you by Penguin Books Australia.
The Pearler’s Wife by Roxane Dhand
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It is 1912, and Maisie Porter stands on the deck of the SS Oceanic as England fades from view. Her destination is Buccaneer Bay in Australia’s far north-west. Her purpose: marriage to her cousin Maitland, a wealthy pearling magnate – and a man she has never met. Also on board is William Cooper, the Royal Navy’s top man. He and eleven other ‘white’ divers have been hired to replace the predominantly Asian pearling crews. But Maisie’s new husband is harbouring secrets – deadly secrets. And when Cooper and the divers sail out to harvest the pearl shell, they are in great danger – and not just from the unpredictable and perilous ocean…
Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes
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The new novel from the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun tells the story of four American women who become unexpected friends when they move to a beautiful villa in Tuscany. Kit Raine, an American writer living in the small Italian town of San Rocco, is working on a biography of her close friend, the novelist Margaret Merrill. But her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women - Julia, Camille and Susan. Susan, the most fearless of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of a staid retirement in the States by taking on the lease of a big, beautiful house in Tuscany… With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten – with drastic and unforeseeable results.
The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye
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A dark, seductive and threatening debut novel, set on a remote honey farm teeming with secrets. After a long drought, Cynthia’s isolated honey farm has suffered in the heat. But she has a plan: offer the farm as an artists’ colony with free board and ‘life experience’ in exchange for a summer of hard labour. For Silvia, a recent graduate and would-be poet, the chance to test her independence proves irresistible – as does Ibrahim, a passionate painter she meets there. But the honey farm isn’t all it seems. One by one the other residents leave, until only Silvia and Ibrahim remain – perilously in love under Cynthia’s watchful eye. What are the shadowy secrets that Cynthia is hiding? And if Silvia and Ibrahim have overstayed their welcome, what happens when they want to leave?
The Tea Gardens by Fiona McIntosh
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Spirited doctor Isla Fenwick is determined to work at the coalface of medicine in India before committing to life as a dutiful wife. With hopes of making a difference in the world, she sails to Calcutta to set up a midwifery clinic. There she will be forced to question her beliefs, her professionalism and her romantic loyalties. On a desperate rescue mission to save the one person who needs her the most, she travels into the foothills of the Himalayas to a tea plantation outside Darjeeling. At the roof of the world, where heaven and earth collide, Isla will be asked to pay the ultimate price for her passions. From England’s seaside town of Brighton to India’s slums of Calcutta and the breathtaking Himalayan mountains, this is a wildly exciting novel of heroism, heartache and healing, by the bestselling author of The Chocolate Tin.
Congo Dawn by Katherine Scholes
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Melbourne secretary Anna Emerson's life is turned upside down when a stranger hands her a plane ticket to the Congo. The newly independent country is in turmoil, Simba rebels are on the move – but the invitation holds a precious clue to the whereabouts of her estranged father. Anna heads deeper into danger as she travels from a grand colonial mansion to an abandoned hotel on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, to a leprosy mission in the jungle and beyond. Her path collides with Dan, a mercenary commando fighting the Communist uprising. Inspired by real events, Congo Dawn combines epic drama with an intimate journey into the heart of a fractured family, as two characters, in search of people they lost, at last find a way to come home.
The French Perfumer by Amanda Hampson
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Iris Turner, an unworldly young Englishwoman, arrives in the French Riviera to take up a secretarial role for the mysterious Hammond Brooke. Living in a small, exclusive hotel among eccentric and unpredictable aristocrats and struggling to gain her employer’s trust, she soon realises that nothing is as it seems. Initiated into the mysterious world of perfume, she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue and deception. Gradually discovering the truth, she gains a new understanding of the meaning of love, loyalty and betrayal. By the bestselling author of The Olive Sisters, this is a captivating and evocative novel full of surprising twists and turns.
The Zanzibar Wife by Deborah Rodriguez
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Into the magical nation of Oman come three remarkable women, each facing a crossroad in her life. Rachel, a troubled American war photographer who is struggling to shed the trauma of her career for a simpler, gentler life. Ariana Khan, a bubbly British woman struggling to keep up with the glitz of Dubai and ready to give up on love. She has rashly volunteered as Rachel's ‘fixer’, a job she's never heard of in a country she knows nothing about. And Miza, a young woman living far from her beloved homeland of Zanzibar. As the second wife of Tariq, an Omani man, she remains a secret from his terrifying ‘other’ wife, Maryam. Until one day, when Tariq fails to come home… As the three women journey together across this weird and wonderful land, they are forced to confront their darkest fears and their deepest wishes. Because here in Oman, things aren’t always what they appear to be…
Lion by Saroo Brierley
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A true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds, now a major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara. When Saroo Brierley used Google Earth to find his long-lost home town half a world away, he made global headlines. Saroo had become lost on a train in India at the age of five. Not knowing the name of his family or where he was from, he survived for weeks on the streets of Kolkata, before being taken into an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia. The unwavering love and support of his adoptive family, in particular his mother, meant Saroo blossomed into a fine young man. But despite being happy in his new family, Saroo always wondered about his origins. The advent of Google Earth led him to pore over satellite images of the country for landmarks he recognised. And one day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for. Then he set off on a journey to find his birth mother, with the unwavering and selfless love and support of his adoptive mother. Lion: A Long Way Home is a moving and inspirational true story that celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit – hope.
A Scandal in Bohemia by Gideon Haigh
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As enigmatic in life as in death, Mollie Dean was a woman determined to transcend. Creatively ambitious and sexually precocious, at twenty-five she was a poet, aspiring novelist and muse on the peripheries of Melbourne’s bohemian salons – until one night in 1930 she was brutally slain by an unknown killer in a laneway while walking home. In A Scandal in Bohemia, Gideon Haigh explodes the true crime genre with a murder story about life as well as death. Armed with only a single photograph and echoes of Mollie’s voice, he has reassembled the precarious life of a talented woman without a room of her own – a true outsider, excluded by the very world that celebrated her in its art. In this work of restorative justice, Mollie Dean emerges as a tenacious, charismatic, independent woman for whom society had no place, and whom everybody tried to forget – but nobody could.
Colombiano by Rusty Young
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All Pedro Gutiérrez cares about is fishing, playing pool and his girlfriend Camila’s promise to sleep with him on his sixteenth birthday. But his life is ripped apart when Guerrilla soldiers callously execute his father in front of him, and he and his mother are banished from their farm. Swearing vengeance against the five men responsible, Pedro, with his best friend Palillo, joins an illegal Paramilitary group, where he is trained to fight, kill and crush any sign of weakness. But as he descends into a world of unspeakable violence, Pedro must decide how far he is willing to go. Can he stop himself before he becomes just as ruthless as those he is hunting? Or will his dark obsession cost him all he loves? For four years Rusty Young, author of the international bestseller Marching Powder, worked secretly for the US government in Colombia. During this time he was shocked by the stories of child soldiers he encountered. He vowed that one day he would turn their tales into a book and let their voices be heard.