The Dry by Jane Harper #Atozchallenge #2020aussieauthors

The Dry by Jane Harper


Who really killed the Hadler family?
It hasn’t rained in Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the farming commmunity become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are discovered shot to death on their property. Everyone assumes Luke Hadler committed suicideafter slaughtering his wife and six year old son.

Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to his hometown for the funerals and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and his childhood friend Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth….. – blurb

My Thoughts

I’ve said before that crime is not one of my favourite genres, but I really did enjoy this book. I took the advice of the comment on the back cover from the Daily Telegraph and read it in one sitting. It’s a very, quick and easy read but such a good plot with a few twists and turns, well rounded characters, and a really great sense of place.  I enjoyed reading about the secrets that were being held in this small town and the events that occurred because of them.

This book has been sitting on my bookshelf since I bought it when it was a new release.I was drawn to it because the author is a journalist from Melbourne, that I knew of from her previous work.  The Dry is her debut novel. There was a lot of media coverage at the time, and I’m usually not keen to read those books that are well hyped up. Eventually, I decided to give it a go, and I’m really pleased that I did.


“This is a story about heroism, the sins of the past, and the struggle to atone. But let’s not forget the redbacks, the huntsmen, the rabbit scourge and all that makes this a quintessential Australian story beautifully told.” – The Age

“Try to set aside one sitting to indulge in journalist Jane Harper’s page turning debut novel. The pace never falters.” – Daily Telegraph

Star Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Jane Harper

Jane Harper is the international bestselling author of The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man.
Jane is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, and has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year.
Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with The Dry in production as a major motion picture starring Eric Bana.
Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

Published in 2016, by Pan McMillan
Paperback, 342 pages

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All books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library, unless otherwise stated.

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#2020 Aussie Author Challenge

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Review: The Widow of Ballarat by Darry Fraser


This is the story of Nell, who becomes a widow in the early pages.  The setting is Ballarat, at the time of the 19th century goldrush and the Eureka Rebellion. In a time where women were not treated as equals, Nell’s courage and strength take us on a journey back in time to a harsh male dominated environment.

This is the story of Nell’s struggle for survival, and the obstacles she comes up against in her fight to move forward from the abusive life she lived with her husband.  All Nell wanted was the opportunity to earn her own living and live a happy and peaceful life with her new chosen partner.

As the author shows, it is a harsh life on the gold fields, and harsher for women struggling to earn a living and ensure their own safety. The challenges are great and at times seem insurmountable.

From the back cover: ‘Passion, adventure and a woman’s quest for independence, set against a dramatic 19th century backdrop….’

My Thoughts

The author weaves events from history into the novel, which is what I love about reading historical fiction. I felt as though I was there on the goldfields, living the life of a down trodden female. I could really feel the dreadfulness of a life lived that way. Most books written about this era of Victorian history, show the male viewpoint. How lovely it was, to read of the events of the day, and every day life from the perspective of a female.


The Widow of Ballarat had me hooked almost immediately. By chapter 2, I knew this book would be unputdownable. As a genealogist and family historian with ancestors who lived and worked on the goldfields at Ballarat and surrounding areas, I was immediately taken back to that time and place.

If you have an interest in Victorian history, you will love this great story of the time interwoven with a lovely romantic story line.

I would recommend first reading the Free prequel – Hill Of Gold

This is the first book written by Darry Fraser that I have read, but I will be seeking out her other books in future.

About The Author

Darry Fraser is an author of Australian historical and contemporary fiction who lives and works on Kangaroo Island.
Other books: Daughter of the Murray and Where the Murray River Runs.

My Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Published by Mira, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises, in 2018. Historical novel. Paperback 354 pages

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