I've just finished reading Belinda Alexandra's Silver Wattle. It didn't take me long as I was rivited! I love her emotive style of writing. She leads me right into the story through her wonderful settings and characters. I loved her two previous novels - White Gardenia and Wild Lavender and have had Silver Wattle sitting on my bookshelf for months.
From Goodreads: Silver Wattle confirms Belinda Alexandra as one of our foremost storytellers. Weaving fact into inspiring fiction with great flair and imagination‚ this is a novel as full of hope‚ glamour and heartbreak as the film industry itself.Belinda brings her love of other cultures to her books, and Silver Wattle begins in glorious Prague. It’s the story of two Czech sisters, Adela and Klara, whose nefarious stepfather murders their mother – and plans to murder them too so that he and his fancy woman can have their inheritance.
The girls flee to Sydney, Australia to live in safety with their uncle and his wife, an Indian who had been saved from committing sete. Indian culture and early Australian bigotry is explored through Ranjana. Things go smoothly enough for awhile. Klara is a talented but highly strung pianist, while Adela turns out to be a gifted photographer who eventually makes a career in film. There is an interesting sub theme about the early days of the film industry in Australia and how American distributers sabotaged the development of Australian cinema which was flourishin. Adela marries one of these distributers (a) because he clandestinely supports her career and (b) because Beastly Beatrice cons Adela’s beloved Dr Philip into marriage and Adela is on the rebound. Unrequited love is a powerful theme throughout the novel.
Adela's character is the most interesting I think. Belinda Alexandra draws on her own love of wildlife to paint a picture of a character deeply moved by native animals (she raises a pet possum that she plucked from a dead mother's pouch) and wildlife is the major recurring theme in her photography. I found it interesting that In real life, the author is a volunteer rescuer and carer for the New South Wales Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES.)
Alexandra keeps the tension going throughout the novel and I couldn't put it down. There were so many mysteries to be solved...
This is a novel with complex plots and themes, but still remains easy to read. I highly recommend it to all.
L'Aussie's Verdict: 8/10