The Woody Creek Series by Joy Dettman
Over the last few weeks I have been lucky enough to escape to the fictional town of Woody Creek, a small timber town set in rural Australia; and what a wonderful time I have had!
Joy Dettman is an Australian author and the very talented writer of the Woody Creek series, which I discovered one day while browsing my local bookstore. Working in a library, I was aware of the books and had wanted to read them for a long time but had never managed to get around to it. On this day, however the bookstore had a display of all the books in the series and they looked so pretty I could not leave them sitting there. I picked up the first two and four weeks later have now finished the whole seven books in the series.
When I started the first book, ‘Pearl in a Cage’ I did not expect I would want to read the next one straight away and was surprised when I literally read the last page of ‘Pearl in a Cage’ then continued on with ‘Thorn on the Rose’. I was not yet ready to leave the beloved characters of Jenny and Gertrude behind; I wanted and needed to know how their lives would unfold.
Joy Dettman’s publisher Pan Macmillan Australia describes her Woody Creek series as ‘dark and addictive’, and I would have to agree with that description. Spanning decades from 1923 to 1990s the Woody Creek books are a virtual timeline of Australian History and to use a phrase I hate, ‘unputdownable’.
Centred around the characters of Gertrude Foote and Jenny Morrison ‘Pearl in a Cage’ introduces two of the characters that will be at the centre of this masterfully woven story that begins with “The town midwife, Gertrude Foote, is roused from her bed when the woman is brought to her door. Try as she might, Gertrude is unable to save her – but the baby lives.” Now if that does not hook a reader in I do not know what will! And it gets better……When no relatives come forth to claim the infant, Gertrude’s daughter Amber – who has recently lost a son in childbirth – and her husband Norman take the child in. In the ensuing weeks, Norman becomes convinced that God has sent the baby to their door, and in an act of reckless compassion, he names the baby Jennifer and registers her in place of his son. Loved by some but scorned by more – including her stepmother and stepsister who resent the interloper – Jenny survives her childhood and grows into an exquisite and talented young woman. But who were her parents? Why does she so strongly resemble an old photograph of Gertrude’s philandering husband? And will she one day fulfil her potential?
What a great blurb! Reading it makes me wish there was more to read.
So who do I think will enjoy these books? The answer is simple; anyone who loves reading books set in Australia, is interested in Australian history (both the good and the bad), enjoys reading about characters over time as they experience life.
The Woody Creek books are not your typical light and fluffy family story, they represent life as it was and is with all the ugliness and hardship that is associated with family and life.
If you think you might like to read the Woody Creek books, I would highly recommend listening to the audio version which is available to download from our Borrow Box eplatform (download the app) and as audio books. I listened to two books in the audio version and they really were amazing!
Book 7 – Trails In The Dust