Once again, Fleur McDonald has delivered a well-crafted novel wrapped around the very real issue of animal activism in rural areas, looking at the destructive aspect of activism when it is taken too far.
This latest compelling novel, Starting from Now is once again about endings and new beginnings, about grief and finding solace in the most unexpected of places. Set in the sleepy country town of Barker, the home of Detective Dave Burrows, Constable Jack Higgins, and other firm friends, we meet another one of the towns families, the Ellison family, long-time residents and graziers in the district.
Zara Ellison left Barker to pursue a career as a rural journalist, becoming an award winner for her Rural reporting, building a very full life in Adelaide to that of country living. When she gets a phone call from her mother asking her to come home, it is a call she has been dreading, as it means her brother Will’s cancer has progressed far quicker than anticipated.
She packs up her life in Adelaide, heading once again for home and dreading every kilometre of the journey drawing her ever closer to the tragic loss of her father several years before, and now the terribly final realisation about her brother and his cancer.
Still having to earn a living she decides that one of the first things she needs to do is introduce herself to the Stock agent and the Police in Barker to ensure she is able to be in touch with the latest rural events over the coming months.
A high-profile trial in Melbourne in relation to the death of a Voices For Animals protestor covered by Zara Ellison, was to have far reaching tendrils she discovered, once a series of rather unusual events began to occur out on her family property and friends farms with the drones flying over paddocks and a devastating farm accident occurring.
Over the next few weeks she begins to settle into rural life, coming to know Dave and Jack better, and although she realises that she is not a farm girl at heart, there is something rather special about life in a rural town that is comforting, relaxing and refreshing, after her somewhat hectic life in the city.
When she goes to cover another story on Animal Activist protests, she inadvertently stumbles across Jack acting completely out of character, looking like a serious tough guy who would not like to be messed with. Exactly what is going on her and what should she do about it?
Amidst the pain of losing her brother, the heady rush of covering a story that holds far more than ever imagined and a fresh new start beginning to emerge from the sorrow of the past, Zara finds life in the country far more exciting that she ever imagined.
Another wonderful, warm, engaging and very authentic novel straight from the pages of country life, dealing with the very real issues faced by many living in regional Australia.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|