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This story has slept for quite a long time!
Like Sleeping Beauty, my novel Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby has been dozing for many years, safely tucked in a drawer.
She was woken a few times for select readers and editors, and then slipped back again each time to the land of nod.
Stephen Matthews of Ginninderra Press has now offered her the kiss of life, and Mrs Rickaby slumbers no more.
Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby is an engaging first person narrative of haunting lyricism and gentle humour, exploring the timeless themes of love, loss and widowhood, friendship and belonging.
“…suited to those looking for something gentle and reflective, but spiced-up with just a little page-turning twist as well.”
“. . . a light and entertaining drama with much to say about friendship and the journey of getting older.”
This compact and delightful first novel would make an excellent holiday read for anyone seeking tranquillity, quirky characters, and true entertainment value in their dramas. Author Julie Thorndyke puts her previous experience with poetry to use in this debut novel, which is filled with skilled wordplay and gorgeous imagery right from the start. The dedication to character in the development of Eileen makes her feel like a real character you could go and visit in her home, with every detail laid out and fully thought through. This attention to detail extends out into a quintessentially Australian supporting cast and village location, bringing all kinds of authenticity and amusement to the plot as it unfolds. Overall, Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby is a fully emotive yet light and enjoyable novel, with beautiful construction and a poignant feeling to its conclusion.
Genre: Fiction/Cosy Mystery
Read: September 2019
A Delightful and engaging read
Mrs Eileen Rickaby is living happily in a retirement village outside of Sydney. She is a long-time widow, has two adult children, and a cat called Missy. She keeps herself busy with her part-time work as a botanical artist and is an active member of the Orchid Society. When her friend and neighbour, Irene, announces that she is marrying her twice-widowed boyfriend, Eileen is surprised. Her concerns deepen when it is revealed that the beau is twice widowed, and under suspicious circumstances. When news of the man’s former bad business dealings, shady investments and dubious track record comes to Eileen’s attention, she and other members of the community, set out to find the truth of the matter.
The characters are relatable, believable and their social interactions and manner are appropriate for their age. It is wonderful to see older female characters, portrayed in such a realistic manner (in fact, it is rare to see older female characters at all).
Written in first person, the story flows evenly and easily, making it a delightful read for those who like to nestle in with a cup of tea and a biscuit.
“Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby” is the first novel by author Julie Thorndyke, and hopefully not the last. It would be lovely to see future novels featuring Eileen and her colleagues (and cat). The book makes for an excellent holiday read.