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The Woolgrower's Companion - Joy Rhoades

The Woolgrower's Companion

Paperback Published: 27th February 2017
ISBN: 9780143782131
Number Of Pages: 416

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As the war draws to a close, one woman faces her greatest battle . . .

Australia 1945. Until now Kate Dowd has led a sheltered life on Amiens, her family’s sprawling sheep station in northern New South Wales. The horrors of war have for the most part left her untouched. But with her father succumbing to wounds he’s borne since the Great War, the management of the farm is increasingly falling on Kate’s shoulders.

With only the sheep-rearing book The Woolgrower’s Companion to guide her, Kate rises to the challenge. However the arrival of two Italian POW labourers unsettles not only the other workers, but Kate too - especially when she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Luca Canali.

Then she receives devastating news. The farm is near bankrupt and the bank is set to repossess. Given just eight weeks to pay the debt, Kate is now in a race to save everything she holds dear.

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.


Incredible read


Absolutely devoured this book. Well-shaped characters with believable arcs, and the author's skill with words lifted the land out of the pages. Read it!

Melbourne, Australia


a wonderful debut novel!


"Mr Harold Kenneth John McGintey was a much smaller man than his name had suggested. Kate had some difficulty seeing much of him at all behind the big desk. He reminded her of an elderly wombat, low to the ground and slow-moving" By early 1945, graziers in the Northern Tablelands of NSW were in the grip of an unrelenting drought. Coupled with the scarcity of able-bodied men, who were either fighting in the war, or casualties of it, the situation was dire enough that many property owners welcomed the Rural Employment Scheme. Although Italy had joined the Allies, Italian POWs remained prisoners and were forced to work on farms, despite the community's enormous sense of resentment and distrust. Great War veteran, Ralph Stimson had worked hard to build up his Soldier Settler Block into a substantial property, Amiens. He is grateful for the arrival of Luca Canali and Vittorio Bottinella, even if his manager, Keith Grimes is wary. Young Harry Grimes, the manager's now-orphaned great-nephew has arrived on the same train, destined to live in Keith's cottage. With her husband, Jack at war, her mother, Janice, who had always discouraged Kate's involvement in the paddocks, now two years dead, and her father, who handles all the finances, now acting strangely, Kate is concerned. When Alwyn Addison, the officious (and rather oily) bank manager informs Kate that she will need to make plans to vacate the property unless the overdraft payment is made within eight weeks, she discovers just how perilous their financial situation really is. Added to her worries is the recent skittiness of fourteen-year-old Daisy, their Aboriginal domestic, and the looks and gentle manner of the POW assigned to help her with the garden are distracting, especially to a woman wedded in haste and separated from Jack after a mere six months of marriage. Of course, for the POWs, fraternisation is an offence attracting jail time. And when Kate thinks nothing more can go wrong, the situation worsens.



An engaging story capturing the heart in rural Australia.


I especially enjoyed the external quotes heading each chapter and how they not only related to the story, but were also art of the main character's experience too. I've never felt closer to a story character.

Palmwoods, QLD.


This is all so true to life


A very good read Historically correct and true to life.

Queensland Australia


You wont want to put this book down


A great read. It pulls you into the story and makes you think. You are right there in the bush with all the characters. The language is beautifully evocative.



Woolgrower's Companion, The

5.0 5


ISBN: 9780143782131
ISBN-10: 0143782134
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 27th February 2017
Publisher: Transworld Publishers (Division of Random House Australia)
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.4  x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.5

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