Journey from Venice by Ruth Cracknell #AtoZChallenge #aussieauthor20

The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Journey From Venice by Ruth Cracknell


Grand Dame of Australian theatrical community, Ruth Cracknell, much loved by the people of Australia,  tells of her journey from Venice when her husband takes ill.

Venice beckons, promising Paradise regained fro Ruth Cracknell and her husband Eric, as they set forth on a carefully planned holiday.

What they are seeking is time. Time to think, time to gaze, time for each other. But from the moment the holiday becomes an uncharted journey, their time is measured.
– from the blurb

Journey from Venice

My Thoughts

As a fan of Ruth Cracknell, in the  much loved TV series, Mother and Son,  I was pleased when I came across this book. I found Journey From Venice to be a raw and deeply personal account of the illness her husband suffered in Venice. At times it read like a travel log or a diary, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book or the sadness of her experiences.

The parts of the book that were about Venice were more enjoyable to me than when the story focuses on their life in Australia. I found this memoir to be deeply sad, as I read about the roller coaster ride experiences of the end of life of Ruth’s much loved husband.

 Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

About the Author

Ruth Cracknell lived in Maitland, NSW, in early childhood, before her family moved to Sydney. She was educated at North Sydney Girls’ High School and began a professional career in radio at the age of twenty. she travelled to England, where she worked for the BBC in radio, returning to Sydney in 1954.

In theatre, she was known for her interpretations of both classical and contemporary drama as well as for her particular flair for comedy. She also worked extensively in film, television, radio and animation, and won numberous industry awards. She is perhaps, best know for her role as Maggie Bears in the ABC series Mother and Son.

A member of the Order of Australia, Ruth was awarded honorary doctorates from Sydney University and the Queensland University of Technology. She died in 2002, aged 76.

Published on 22 February 2001 by Viking Australia. 288 pages

You can find my other blogs here:
Next Phase In Fitness & Life
and Tracking Down The Family

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Butterfly On A Pin by Alannah Hill

Butterfly on a Pin


A memoir of love, despair and re-invention

Alannah Hill, one of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, created an international fashion brand that defied trends with ornamental, sophisticated elegance, beads, bows and vintage florals.  But growing up in a milk bar in Tasmania, Alannah’s childhood was one of hardship, fear and abuse.  At an early age, she ran away from home, with eight suitcases of costumes and a fierce determination to succeed, haunted by her mother’s refrain “You’ll never amount to anything, you can’t sew, nobody likes you, and you’re going to end up in a shallow grave, dear!” – from the dustjacket

This memoir follows her journey, from run away to success to breakdown, and her reinvention of herself, as she once again heads towards success in the fickle fashion industry.

My Thoughts

My main reason for reading this book is that I remember seeing Alannah Hill, many times,  in the street, in Melbourne in the early days of her career. At the time she was very popular and had a chain of Alannah Hill shops. She always stood out in a crowd as she dressed in vintage florals, lots of lace and bows at a time that fashion was quite plain and boring.

I expected the book to be lightweight, fluff about fashion, and I really didn’t expect her to be an accomplished writer. Much to my surprise, from the first page I could tell that Alannah Hill could write.And she had something to say. I experienced many emotions as I read this book. I laughed and cried and felt very angry at her mother, while at the same time, feeling sad for her mother.  I found the book to be very moving and poignant.

Butterfly On A Pin is a very honest, compelling memoir. Alannah does not mince words and though her story is very, very sad at times, she manages to put a humorous slant on her experiences. Her story could be very depressing, but definitely is not.  Due to her writing skill, Hill manages to draw the reader into her world, as she shines a light on the fashion industry and her experiences. I found myself feeling very much in awe of her talent and for her forgiving nature.

Unflinching, funny, shocking, inspiring, and tender.  This is a story like no other
These words were written on the dustjacket.  I can only agree whole heartedly

My Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Author

Alannah Hill is a designer, author and stylist.  For seventeen years, she was the founder and creative director of the brand Alannah Hill, one of Australia’s most iconic fashion houses.  In 2013, Alannah left her extremely well known brand, and in 2015, launched her new fashion brand, Louise Love.  Alannah lives in Melbourne, with her teenage son, and her beagle Jack.

Published in 2018 by Hardie Grant Books. Softcover 325 pages

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