After Cleo: Came Jonah by Helen Brown

First Published 2012 by Allen & Unwin

after cleo came jonah

Before I start: yes I am aware that the author is a New Zealander, but I am overlooking it because this book was set in Australia, and we Australians love to claim the best kiwi stuff anyway!

Ever since I chanced upon A Cat Affair by Derek Tangye 21 years ago, I have been a sucker for a book starring a cat. I loved it so much I spent the next 19 years collecting the entire collection (the Minack Chronicles). I have also passed a season reading Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series, until I got sick of the annoying main character with his mellifluous voice.

Then two years ago I pounced Helen Brown’s book, Cleo: The Cat Who Mended a Family. I came to love Cleo; her presence not only soothed Brown’s family after her son Sam was run over, but also soothed me, and partly because we have our own cat story.

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The Spider Goddess by Tara Moss

First Published 2011 by Pan Macmillan Australia

the spider goddess

After the brain-rearranging Brenda Walker book I was crying out for something that wasn’t literary. And for personal reasons I have chosen a Tara Moss book, because Moss is the author I love to hate, much the way Miles Franklin loved to hate Mary Gilmore. Now while I am in no way comparing my writing with Franklin’s, I can definitely compare my professional envy.

I was 27 and had only recently gotten my first rejection for my first book, when this model turned author (gak! gak! gak!) first became famous. At that time she was still working on Fetish, which I did read some years later, once I’d put aside most of the envy. The rest of it disappeared on reading the book, which while competent, was not something that was so good I wanted to read another. (I did not have the desire to read another Phryne Fisher book either). There was also a realisation that Moss, having had a few marketing advantages, would have had to work harder to earn her place as an author.

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