In societies, we find there are people who are predators. They prey on others who are vulnerable. Usually the predator identifies a person, surrounds them with love and then gradually isolates their victim, to completely dominate them. Then the real abuse begins, physical, mental and emotional. In this romantic novel, Josephine has cleverly brought our attention the plight of (mostly women), who fall into the trap of these evil people, and the consequences they suffer during the process of the law.
The main character, Lara, has a bi-polar disorder. She is the vulnerable target for Dave, who is an intelligent trainee doctor. His power over Lara becomes all consuming, and she is lucky to escape with her life. However, there are children involved, and again the author raises a huge issue about family law in Australia. As Lara’s lawyer says, “The family law system is, ironically, set up to support parenting arrangements rather than safety from violence. A woman in Australia is more likely to be killed in her own home and at the hands of her partner than anywhere else.”
Despite the realities that the author confronts us with, a charming love story develops as Lara makes her escape to Italy. She meets an elderly man, whose young carer has taken his money and fled, leaving him stranded in Rome. Lara accompanies him back to his small farm in Tuscany, and accepts the role as his career, while she allows herself healing time and space to begin to rebuild her life.
Samuel has a broken wrist, and Lara has to help out in many ways. As a city girl, she needs to learn how to milk the two frisky goats on the farm, and she begins to enjoy sorting out the kitchen, and cooking.
Gradually Samuel, the elderly farmer, warms to Lara, as does the shepherd, Matteo. He is passionate about goats, and the process of cheese making. He wishes to develop this skill and teaches Lara cheese making and goat handling. Their relationship develops slowly, as Lara is attracted to him, but nervous of the many issues in the past affecting their chance of happiness.
There are many threads to this story to keep it interesting and readable. The wonderful landscape and customs on a small farm in Tuscany also hold the reader’s attention. The love of family, and chance of a new life for Lara, end the story on a positive note, but well done to the author for including the above issues, which are real.
|Publisher||Allen and Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|