The stunning new novel from the author of The Woolgrower's Companion, whom the Australian Women's Weekly described as ‘a wonderful new voice in literary rural fiction'.
A scandalous secret. A deadly fire. An agonizing choice.
Australia 1948. As a young woman running Amiens, a sizeable sheep station in New South Wales, Kate Dowd knows she’s expected to fail. And her grazier neighbour is doing his best to ensure she does, attacking her method of burning off to repel a bushfire.
But fire risk is just one of her problems. Kate cannot lose Amiens, or give in to her estranged husband Jack’s demands to sell: the farm is her livelihood and the only protection she can offer her half-sister Pearl, as the Aborigines Welfare Board threatens to take her away.
Ostracised by the local community for even acknowledging Pearl, Kate cannot risk another scandal. Which means turning her back on her wartime lover, Luca Canali . . .
Then Jack drops a bombshell. He wants a divorce. He’ll protect what’s left of Kate’s reputation, and keep Luca out of it – but for an extortionate price.
Soon Kate is putting out fires on all fronts to save her farm, keep her family together and protect the man she loves. Then a catastrophic real fire threatens everything . . .
About the Author
Joy Rhoades was born in Roma in western Queensland, with an early memory of flat country and a broad sky. Growing up, she loved two things best: reading and the bush, whether playing in creek beds and paddocks, or climbing a tree to sit with a book. Her family would visit her grandmother, a fifth generation grazier and a gentle teller of stories of her life on her family’s sheep farm.
At 13, Joy left Roma for Brisbane, first for school and then to study law at university. After graduating, she worked all over: first Sydney, then London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and New York. It was in New York that she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the New School University, and wrote much of The Woolgrower's Companion, a novel inspired in part by snippets of her grandmother’s life and times.
She now lives in London with her husband and their two young children, but she misses the Australian sky.
'I fell in love with The Burnt Country. Compelling and evocative, full of strong characters. I didn't want it to end.'
Kayte Nunn, author of The Botanist's Daughter
‘This sweeping epic set in rural NSW is about love, family and testing our mettle – and it’s compulsively readable. Just the thing for those lazy summer days’
Marie Claire on The Woolgrower's Companion
'Joy Rhoades’ Kate Dowd is Elizabeth-Bennet-meets-The-Drover’s-Wife . . . an accomplished debut'
The Saturday Age