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In the Company of Strangers - Liz Byrski

In the Company of Strangers

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Published: 1st July 2014
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Published: 1st September 2012
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Ruby and Cat's friendship was forged on an English dockside over sixty years ago when, both fearful, they boarded a ship bound for Australia. It was a friendship that was supposed to last a lifetime but when news of Cat's death reaches Ruby back in London, it comes after a painful estrangement.

Declan has also drifted away from Cat, but he is forced back to his aunt's lavender farm, Benson's Reach, when he learns that he and Ruby are co-beneficiaries.

As these two very different people come together in Margaret River they must learn to trust each other and to deal with the staff and guests. Can the legacy of Benson's Reach triumph over the hurt of the past? Or is Cat's duty-laden legacy simply too much for Ruby and Declan to keep alive?

About the Author

Liz Byrski is the author of seven novels and a number of non-fiction books, the latest of which is Getting On: Some Thoughts on Women and Ageing.

She has worked as a freelance journalist, a broadcaster with ABC Radio and an advisor to a minister in the West Australian Government.

Liz has a PhD in writing from Curtin University where she teaches professional and creative writing.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
In the Company of Strangers
 
4.3

(based on 3 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

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    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

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  • Older readers (3)

Reviewed by 3 customers

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4.0

a very enjoyable read

By 

from Thirroul NSW

About Me Bookworm

Pros

  • Engaging Characters
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gift
    • Older Readers
    • Travel Reading

    Comments about In the Company of Strangers:

    In the Company of Strangers is the seventh novel by British-born Australian author, Liz Byrski. When Ruby Medway, almost seventy, hears of her childhood friend, Catherine's death, she has mixed feelings. Although they were sent to Western Australia in 1947 as child migrants, an experience that made them inseparable, later events saw them estranged. And now Catherine's will dictates that Ruby return to Benson's Reach as the major share-holder in a Margaret River lavender farm with holiday accommodation, something about which she has serious misgivings.

    Declan Benson has been left a share in Benson's Reach by his Aunt Catherine, but he's not convinced he's up to the task of bring this wonderful place back to what it was before she fell ill. He left it too late to return, and now everything is a mess. Decisions need to be made and that is just not his forte.

    Alice has served the time for her crime, but she will never be able to forgive herself for its devastating consequences. But now she is out of jail, she is determined to live her life. But it's much harder than she expected. Ultimately, she gives in to temptation and contacts an old friend for help.

    Although her husband Gordon has been retired now for a year, Lesley Craddock finds that coping with his constant presence is not getting any easier. Maybe a bit of time to herself at Benson's Reach will help her sort out just what she now wants from life.

    Todd is almost sixteen, and considers himself so lucky to have met Catherine Benson. He may have been trying to break into her car, but she took him under her wing, giving him a job and the sort of support his alcoholic mother never bothered to. But now Catherine is gone, and Todd is anxious about his fate at Benson's Reach.

    Byrski gathers this disparate bunch (and a few others: a cleaner with mental health issues, a herbalist seriously considering quitting)) together and puts them under all sorts of pressure, and lets the reader watch their reactions. Some behave with integrity and kindness, others disappoint, but all are wholly human and flawed.

    Byrski explores a few topical themes: the strains that retirement of the breadwinner adds to a marriage; empty nest syndrome and fear of irrelevance; the horrors of forced child migration of the mid-twentieth century; and the vital importance of support for mental health patients and for those released from prison.

    As usual, her main protagonists (well, except for the delightful Todd) are of a mature age, ensuring the novel will appeal to the older generation: hen lit rather than chick lit. This novel falls slightly short of her previous excellent books, but is, nonetheless, a very enjoyable read.

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    4.0

    An interesting story.

    By 

    from brisbane

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Older Readers

        Comments about In the Company of Strangers:

        a lovely story. Well written. difficult to get into, but the last quarter drew it all together beautifully. It took time to mull over the story afterward.. and that time was well spent.
        Life often takes us on unexpected journeys, but, until they are explained, or we understand, it is lost on the naive traveler.I really enjoyed this book, as I have enjoyed all Liz Bryski's books.

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        5.0

        i would buy this product again and again

        By 

        from melbourne

        About Me Everyday Reader

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Deserves Multiple Readings

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Older Readers

          Comments about In the Company of Strangers:

          I loved this book.i have never heard about liz byrski,she is a great author

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          ISBN: 9781743519851
          ISBN-10: 1743519850
          Audience: General
          Format: Paperback
          Language: English
          Number Of Pages: 432
          Published: 1st July 2014
          Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
          Country of Publication: AU
          Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.0  x 2.7
          Weight (kg): 0.31