Set in Australia during the Depression, at a time when cross-cultural friendship was the biggest taboo, comes the heart-breaking story of a young white girl and an Aboriginal girl who have more in common than they realise.
Drawing on her family’s life in Sydney’s famous Botany Bay area, the author has vividly captured the prejudice and ignorance that was normal in Australia in the 1930s. Against the odds Daisy and Amelia become close, but it doesn’t take long before the authorities step in and they are separated.
Years later the war has taken a toll on Daisy’s marriage to a young soldier who has returned from Europe a broken man. In spite of everything, Daisy has never forgotten her friend.
With her striking looks and long blonde hair, Daisy Entwistle brings a shudder to the residents of New Sands in Botany Bay. For Daisy is eerily similar in appearance to her grandmother Rachel Calthorpe who, forty years earlier, drowned on a ship bound for England. It isn’t her death, though, that haunts the community: it is her association with an aboriginal girl, and the vicious assault that left a young man lucky to be alive.
But looks aren’t the only thing that Daisy has in common with her grandmother. When Amelia, an aboriginal girl, joins her class, Daisy discovers a different Australia, and she is determined to discover the truth about her family’s past.
Giles’ fluid style and genuine storytelling talent lends itself beautifully to this Australian version of To Kill a Mockingbird. – Ireland on Sunday
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