Source- Review copy
Publisher- Allen & Unwin
Publication date- 26th March, 2012
Synopsis: When Anna and Matt finally buy their dream farm, their struggles aren’t quite over. First it’s patchy rain and poor crops, then Matt has an accident … and even when the heavens finally open all might yet be lost. An exciting new novel full of romance and mystery from the author of the bestselling Red Dust and Blue Skies.
Anna and Matt Butler were childhood sweethearts with a dream of owning their own land, a dream they achieved through hard work and determination.
But as the seasons conspire against them and Matt is involved in a terrible accident, the couple face financial ruin and the loss of their farm.
As they fight for everything they hold dear, they suddenly find themselves caught up in events much bigger and more dangerous than they could ever have imagined.
Purple Roads is a story about maintaining faith in yourself, staying true to your ideals and, most of all, the belief that some things are worth fighting for.
Review: Purple Roads is Australian author, Fleur McDonald’s third book that falls into the ‘rural lit’ genre, with elements of romance and suspense thrown in.
This story spreads over the course of a couple of years and is told in third person, mainly from the perspective of Anna and Matt, a young couple living in the South Australian countryside with their little girl named Ella. Although, they have been doing it tough financially in the past couple of years, Matt and Anna have each other and their dream of running a farm. However, after a string of bad luck including, dry seasons, an accident with the stock and stolen fertilizer, Anna and Matt have no choice but to sell up their farm and move into town.
Matt becomes obsessed with finding the culprit of the theft when a string of farm robberies canvas the local region, at the cost of his family and wellbeing. All Anna wants to do is move on and start to build a new, different future wtih Matt from the one that they had dreamed. But somewhere amidst his grief and despair they become disconnected and not only do they have to rebuild their lives, but their relationship as well.
Fleur McDonald has created two strong, hard-working characters who are both relateable and likeable. There were certainly times when I felt frustrated by Anna and more so by Matt who kept his feelings bottled up and became quite moody. But both of their inner conflicts were realistic. A young man, a provider, who loses his livelihood and is overwhelmed by feelings of failure and hopelessness… Matt finds a way to feel like he can regain control- by investigating the robberies. Anna tends to walk on eggshells and is patient in Matt’s grief and obsessions but there comes a time when she has had enough and stands up for herself. Unfortunately, Matt is too far gone to really care by that stage.
Suspense is built up slowly in the story as Matt follows leads of the theft, but in doing so he puts his life at risk. It turns out he doesn’t know who he can trust among his friends and colleagues.
The ending was satisfying, albeit a little rushed, but I was happy to see Matt and Anna work things out. Purple Roads is a story about a young family who are struggling in the country to own a farm in a time difficult for the industry and how they manage to work through it and become a stronger family in the end.
About the author: Born and bred in Orroroo, the mid-north of South Australia, my parents were fuel distributors. I spent a lot of my childhood in the fuel trucks, with Dad, heading north, meeting all sorts of wonderful Northern characters.
We now live 110km east of Esperance, on 8,000 acres. Here, I help Anthony care for two children and a menagerie of dogs, cattle, sheep and a bit of crop, not to mention tractors and other machinery!
In 2010 Red Dust was short listed for the Australian Book Industry Awards as Newcomer (Debut) Author of the year and the R*BY awards. Red Dust was also the highest selling novel for a debut author in 2009.
More titles by Fleur McDonald:
This book was read as part of the these two 2012 challenges: