Book Review- Granville: A Mother’s Grief

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June OllerenshawGranville: A Mother’s Grief (2011)

 

 Thirty odd years on, and the pain, it never goes away.

To outlive, one child is the cruellest thing.

To outlive both is a life sentence.

 * Quote from Granville: A Mother’s Grief

This is the debut novel of 74 year old June Ollerenshaw who grew up in Granville, NSW. In Granville: A Mother’s Grief, she shares a personal story of tragedy, grief and loss.

 From an early age, June proved to be a survivor and worked hard to get on with whatever life threw at her. June entered the world prematurely, born on the kitchen floor of her family home on September 18, 1936. Her mother Dorothy was advised that she would never bear another child, suffering from chronic heart problems but she defeated all odds and went on to have a third child, June’s brother.

June had a maternal instinct from a young age and always enjoyed being with children and helped care for those in her extended family. She wanted to have five children one day, starting with twin boys. However, at fifteen years old June underwent emergency surgery and had an ovary removed. She was told she would never have children. She was devastated.

However, June’s solid determination which is evident throughout the novel revealed that she would not give up hope of having a family of her own one day. At the young age of nineteen having led a sheltered life June married John, whom she met at a local dance. They went on to have two daughters, Cathy born on 11th June 1957 and Lyndy on 18th September 1958. They were both close in age and had a very close sisterly bond. Despite being in an abusive marriage, June’s daughters were her world and they provided stability in her life- and her in theirs.

As teenagers, Cathy and Lyndy worked together in a bank in the city. They travelled together by train each morning. Cathy and Lyndy always got on carriage number two but on this fateful day they were in a hurry and jumped onto carriage number four. The coroners report stated ‘carriage number two suffered little damage’ and no deaths. However, carriage number one, three and four were demolished resulting in 83 deaths. Cathy, aged 19 and Lyndy aged 18 died on 18th January 1977 on the day of the Granville Train Disaster in NSW.

June’s life was turned upside down. Her children were her world and then that world was torn apart. Her story shares the chronic grief that followed this tragedy. June’s grief prolonged into a deep depression characterised by suicidal thoughts and admissions to Hospital. She could not see a life, a future without her dear daughters. Despite the loyalty of a few friends throughout her lifetime, June experienced this grief in isolation. No one could ever know how much pain and despair that was present in her life. She felt disconnected and in her vulnerability became involved in relationships that were unhealthy and abusive.

After rebuilding her life and career many times her grief was always festering away and she would end up right back to the start in the healing process. It took a long time for June to accept the deaths of her two precious daughters and her story takes us on an emotional journey of her personal grief and despair.

I felt a lump in my throat and queasiness in my stomach whilst reading this novel because I felt like I was experiencing June’s pain with her. Having experienced a loss in my own life I was able to connect with June emotionally without judgement on her life choices. I believe she really is quite brave to share her story.

The Australian Bookshelf Rating System

 

 * Thank you to Boolarong Press in Brisbane for providing a copy of this book to review.

Click on the link to purchase Granville A Mother’s Grief at Amazon or click on Boolarong to purchase from the publisher.

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13 comments

  1. I have just received this book in the post to read and review and I hope I enjoy it as much as you have.
    My Mother was on the last train to pass through the tunnel before the disaster, so when I got the review request I knew I had to get my hands on this book.
    I look forward to the read.
    Thanks for the great review.

    Like

  2. Thank you to all my wonderful friends who attended the launch at Pacific Golf club over 100 in attendance some buying 5 books.
    PEOPLE ASK ME HOW DID YOU SURVIVE SO MUCH TRAGEDY.
    At 15 I was told I would never bear a child . On my 22nd b’day I gave birth to my 2nd beautiful daughter. I had 20 wonderful years. My girld lost their lives in Granville Train tragedy. They never leave me they are in spirit and tell me to hold my head up high as they are proud of me as I always have the intregity to sign my name to anything I write.

    Like

  3. Hi Maria, Why are you in denial of the facts as printed?
    Is your memory so bad?.
    I have seen the damage done to Monet, and I saw the bruises on June and I have also seen your dog and heard the noise from its barking, if you were in any other State other than Queensland your dog would have been destroyed.
    If I were you I would keep quiet and stop drawing attention to yourself.
    Isabel

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  4. Hi Isabel. Thank you for your support, you were such a wonderful neighbour and friend to me at the time of that dreadful dog attack. you have continued to support me over the years with the awful Post Traumatic Stress I will live with for the remainder of my life,
    thanks again dear friend.
    JUNE OLLERENSHAW

    Like

  5. Another dreadful dog attack in Brisbane. When is it ever going to stop.
    I know of a case where one dog has attacked three times!
    Little children are having to live with this fear and emotional and physical scars for the rest of their lives.
    Something has to be done.

    Like

  6. THE BOOK HAS REALLY TAKEN OFF …IN THREE MORE OUTLETS THIS WEEK. I FEEL SO PROUD OF MY WORK. I KNOW MY GIRLS ARE PROUD OF ME FOR WRITING THIS BOOK. THE EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS KEEP COMING. I ALWAYS GET A BUZ FROM THE PRAISE AND APPRECIATION FRIENDS AND STRANGERS SEND TO ME’
    I HUMBLY THANK YOU ALL

    Like

  7. EXCITEMENT EXCITEMENT.
    DYMOCKS HAVE COME TO CARINDALE WESTFIELD SHOP.CENTRE
    YES…DYMOCKS HAVE FINALLY ARRIVED…I SPOKE TO CRAIG TODAY…HE IS WRAPPED IN MY BOOK
    “GRANVILLE A MOTHER’S GRIEF” BY JUNE OLLERENSHAW
    ON SALE NOW AT DYMOCKS CARINDALE

    Like

  8. ANOTHER DREADFUL DOG ATTACK YESTERDAY WHEN WILL IT END. A CHILD DEAD NOW. IF YOU DARE TO WRITE ABOUT IT THE OWNER OF THE DOG WILL THREATEN IN WRITING TO SUE YOU!!!
    PLEASE MAIL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERINCE. BE SURE TO HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE AS I HAVE.
    THE DOG ATTACK ASS.

    Like

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