REVIEW: Sasha Wasley’s ‘Dear Banjo’
They were best friends who were never meant to fall in love – but for one of them, it was already way too late.
Willow ‘Banjo’ Paterson and Tom Forrest were raised on neighboring cattle stations in the heart of the Kimberley. As young adults, sharing the same life dreams, something came between them that Willow cannot forget, and now ten years have passed. When her father falls ill, Willow is called home to take over the running of the family property, Patterson Downs. Her vision for a sustainable, organic cattle station is proving hard to achieve. She needs Tom’s help, but is it all too late, and too difficult, to make amends?
A pile of Tom’s heartfelt letters has remained unopened and unspoken between them. Willow must find the courage to finally bring them out. Their tattered pages reveal a love story like no other – and one you’ll never forget.
AusRom Today review:
I dare say there isn’t a country friendship/relationship that hasn’t experienced at least a little of what Dear Banjo‘s main characters do. The pull to either clear town and head to the biggest city at the first opportunity or to stay (albeit sometimes reluctantly) and look after the family property is a genuine and complicated dilemma faced by many country folk and this is tackled with exceptional understanding and care by Sasha Wasley.
What is lost in terms of friendships/relationships versus what can be gained individually following either decision (to move or to stay) is fraught with guilt, anger, and dejection. It is however the coming back together as changed people that presents the most difficulty and reward. Such is the story of Willow (Banjo) and Tom.
Dear Banjo is simply stunning. Written with tangible emotion, realistic and well-developed challenges and character development, and an utterly captivating account of Australian country life. I’m calling it early—this is one of the best novels of 2017.
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