Love Between The Pages with Helene Young
When I set out to the write Return to Roseglen the main character was Felicity Dunmore, a woman about to turn fifty, in the middle of menopause, and juggling a whole lot of pressures and disasters. I knew a bit about all that so I thought I understood where the story was headed. Instead, before I’d even written the first chapter, the story had been hijacked by Ivy, Felicity’s ninety-three year old mother.
I know there was a good reason for that. In the space of two years my mum died, an elderly friend died, and my mother-in-law passed away. I felt as though I’d lost an entire generation of matriarchs and with them their stories and history. It seemed imperative that I give their generation a voice and I know it was my way of dealing with my grief.
So, from a story about menopause and mid-life crisis, Return To Roseglen evolved into one about generational love, about the bonds between mothers and daughters, between sisters, between nieces and aunts, between a granddaughter and her grandmother. It became a story about learning to forgive and learning to love again, about healing old hurts and making new beginnings, about letting go and taking second chances.
But there’s also romance in the story. Ivy and her Charlie were married for fifty years and despite hardship and tragedy that love did not wavered. When I see an old couple hand-in-hand I can’t help but smile. For Ivy the strength of that love helped make the thought of dying easier because she knew she’d be with Charlie again. And because of that love Ivy is hell bent on playing matchmaker so everyone can experience a love like hers. I do love a meddlesome grandmother!
For Felicity and Georgina, love has been more complicated. Can they navigate their way to finding love again? Is that first heady rush, that bone melting warmth, still possible when the people involved are in their middle-age? The men in their lives are very different, but both are what my mum would have called ‘steadfast’ – such a lovely old-fashioned word that originally meant ‘standing firm’. Both men have loved long, but convincing their women that that love is real and attainable will take time, and courage. Georgina in particular is an opinionated kind of woman. And she needs to believe she deserves love.
Felicity also isn’t convinced a second chance at love would be a wise choice. How much better to live alone, at no one’s beck and call, rather than risk losing a life-long friendship if the hot sex turns out to be lukewarm, or worse?
Life doesn’t always deliver happy endings, but I loved delving into the women’s emotions, investigating what made them happy, sad, angry, joyous, and then bringing those moments to the story. For me the big one, the queen of all emotions, is love, in all its forms. It’s fitting that Return to Roseglen is on tour this month with The Summer of Secrets by Barbara Hannay, and The Juliet Code by Christine Wells. What’s not to love about Love Between the Pages?
Return to Roseglen
At times like these families should be coming together, not tearing each other apart.
On her remote North Queensland cattle station, Ivy Dunmore is facing the end of her days. Increasingly frail, all she holds dear is threatened not just by crippling drought, but by jealousy and greed – and that’s from within her own family.
Can Felicity, who’s battling her own crisis as her fiftieth birthday approaches, protect her mother and reunite her family under the homestead’s faded iron roof? Or will sibling rivalries erupt and long-held secrets from the past break a family in crisis?
From award-winning Australian author Helene Young comes a story about family fractures and feuds in later life – and about loved ones being there for each other when it matters the most.
The Summer of Secrets
Sydney journalist Chloe Brown is painfully aware that her biological clock isn’t just ticking, it’s booming. When her long term boyfriend finally admits he never wants children, Chloe is devastated. Impulsively, she moves as far from disappointment as she can – to a job on a small country newspaper in Queensland’s far north.
The little town seems idyllic, a cosy nest, and Chloe plans to regroup and, possibly, to embark on single motherhood via IVF. But she soon realises that no place is free from trouble or heartache. The grouchy news editor, Finn Latimer, is a former foreign correspondent who has retreated after a family tragedy. Emily, the paper’s elegant, sixty-something owner, is battling with her husband’s desertion. Meanwhile, the whole town is worried when their popular young baker disappears.
As lives across generations become more deeply entwined, the lessons are clear. Secrets and silence harbour pain, while honesty and openness bring healing and hope. And love. All that’s needed now is courage…
The Juliet Code
It’s 1947 and the war is over, but Juliet Barnard is still tormented by secrets. She was a British agent and wireless operator in occupied Paris until her mission went critically wrong. Juliet was caught by the Germans, imprisoned and tortured in a mansion in Paris’s Avenue Foch.
Now that she’s home, Juliet can’t – or won’t – relive the horrors that occurred in that place. Nor will she speak about Sturmbannführer Strasser, the manipulative Nazi who held her captive. . .
Haunted by the guilt of betrayal, the last thing Juliet wants is to return to Paris. But when Mac, an SAS officer turned Nazi-hunter, demands her help searching for his sister, Denise, she can’t refuse. Denise and Juliet trained together before being dropped behind enemy lines. Unlike Juliet, Denise never made it home. Certain Strasser is the key to discovering what happened to his sister, Mac is determined to find answers – but will the truth destroy Juliet?