To love a sunburnt country continues the Matilda saga with another strong-minded and amazing female character, Nancy Clancy, the 16 year-old granddaughter of ‘Clancy of the Overflow’. The story is set in 1942 when the world is at war. Nancy has been sent to Malaya to bring her sister-in-law Moira and baby nephew Gavin back home. Though they narrowly survive the bombs that fall on Singapore, they are unlucky to be stranded on an island where they are eventually captured by the Japanese soldiers. The events that follow describe the horror of internment in a Japanese camp.
Based on true events, this powerful and confronting novel had a profound impact on me after I completed reading it. Part of me was happy to see characters from Gibber’s Creek older and wiser, struggling to survive through the war years; but the other part of me was horrified at the cruelties and violence that only war can create. Jackie French has woven an amazing story of one woman’s courage, resilience and her sheer will to survive in this novel. In her usual way, Jackie expertly weaves in the stories of the other characters and all that they had to endure through those years of war and delivers this amazing novel.
From my perspective, Jackie French not only told a story of how the war affected Australian society, but has captured the true essence of Australian history in this book and masterfully delivered a story about the ultimate survival and the deepest kinds of love.
I would recommend this book for older teens and adults who enjoy historical fiction.
Title: To love a sun burnt country
Author: Jackie French
Recommended by Surani R, Waitakere Central Library, Henderson.
Surani R enjoys reading biographies, travelogues, some non-fiction, and loves fiction that makes you laugh out loud. She also finds comfort in children’s fiction with thought-provoking stories.