Author: Emily Paull

Emily Paull is a former bookseller, and now works as a librarian. Her debut book, Well-Behaved Women, was released by Margaret River Press in 2019.

Book Review: Perfect-ish is the perfect read for your weekend switch-off

September 21, 2023

It seems that the Australian publishing industry’s hunger for anti-rom-coms (or as I like to call them, Sad Girl Lit) is showing no signs of abating. The perfect successor to the Cecelia Ahern and Marian Keyes heyday of the last decade, today’s heroine is stressed out and has major FOMO. Prue, the heroine of Jessica […]

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Laurie Steed

Book Review: Laurie Steed’s Love, Dad is more than a parenting memoir

September 19, 2023

Laurie Steed‘s second book, Love, Dad, came out just in time for Father’s Day. It was not, as you might expect, a treatise on how to be a good father. Instead it’s a memoir of one man’s experience of fatherhood, along with a collection of musings on how to be a good father, a good man, and […]

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The Heart is a Star

Book Review: Megan Rogers gets to the heart of a family secret in her much-lauded debut

August 17, 2023

In The Heart is a Star, debut novelist Megan Rogers explores one woman’s struggles to balance the demands of her career and family against her own needs as a person. As the book opens, we meet Layla Byrnes, an anaesthetist who is just ending a period of enforced leave when she receives a disturbing phone […]

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The Magpie's Sister

Book Review: All the fun of the circus and then some in Kerri Turner’s The Magpie’s Sister

August 14, 2023

There’s an old trick that writers who participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) know, and that’s when in doubt, add a circus. It works. Circuses are fun. They have glitz and glamour, and underdogs, and sometimes literal dogs and other animals. Everyone loves a circus story. In recent years, the darker side to circuses […]

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Sad Girl Novel

Book Review: Pip Finkemeyer’s Sad Girl Novel takes on a publishing-world trend from the inside

August 2, 2023

The sad girl novel is a relatively new concept in the book world, but it’s one that has fascinated readers since its invention. Hallmarked by novels such as Meg Mason‘s Sorrow and Bliss and often distinguished by cover images of women lying or leaning face-down, this new kind of book takes the classic ‘chick lit’ à la […]

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The Midnight News

Book Review: The Midnight News is a rare new take on the Blitz novel

July 7, 2023

Jo Baker doesn’t just write historical fiction; she plays with it in the way only a writer at the top of their craft can. She is a writer whose work takes the reader’s expectations of the genre and twists them into something marvellously unexpected. Her latest novel, The Midnight News, is no different. To start, […]

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The Silk Merchant's Son Cover

Book Review: Misguided missionaries make for fascinating history in The Silk Merchant’s Son

July 5, 2023

The Silk Merchant’s Son isn’t Peter Burke‘s first foray into writing historical fiction based on the stories West Aussies think they know. His first novel, The Drowning Dream, was shortlisted for the Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award in 1996, and was a mystery set against the backdrop of the Broome pearling industry circa the 1920s. His second novel, Wettening […]

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Where Light Meets Water

Book Review: Where Light Meets Water is a moving look at life, love, art, and the high seas

June 15, 2023

Beginning in London in 1847, Susan Paterson’s debut novel Where Light Meets Water is a subtle, delightful work of historical fiction. Its protagonist is Tom Rutherford, a young man who has never known any life other than on the sea. From the time of his father’s death, Tom has been apprenticed on ships, working his way […]

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Cover of The Anniversary

Book Review: Stephanie Bishop’s The Anniversary dives deep into the writerly mind

June 6, 2023

Award-winning Australian author Stephanie Bishop published her fourth novel The Anniversary in late March, though you may be forgiven for having missed it given the proliferation of big names with novels due out around the same time. (Pip Williams, anyone?) Centring on the relationship between a novelist J B Blackwood and her filmmaker husband, Patrick (who […]

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Book Review: The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything is *not quite* the romance it could be

April 12, 2023

Kara Gnodde’s debut novel The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything has been compared to Australian bestseller, The Rosie Project. I can see the similarities, but the starkest comparison to my mind is TV’s The Big Bang Theory. Imagine if Sheldon Cooper was looked after by his sister instead of by Leonard Hofstader. Now imagine him devising an experiment […]

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The cover of Duck a' l'Orange for Breakfast by Karina May has the title in a light pink and the author's name in white capital letters. Next to these words there is a blonde woman sitting at a table with a cup of coffee and a basket of pink flowers looking out the window deep in thought

Book Review: Grab a fork and dig in, because Duck a l’Orange for Breakfast is a real treat

March 28, 2023

When Maxine ‘Max’ Mayberry’s life falls apart around her, she doesn’t just get mad… she gets hungry. When Max discovers her long-term boyfriend Scott in bed with a glamorous ad executive from her work, her life begins to fall apart. Not to mention that she’s recently discovered that she has a brain tumour and needs […]

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Higher Education by Kira McPherson features a salmon pink cover with yellow title text. The illustration is of a cartoon woman dangling her toes into an open book like she's paddling in a pool.

Book Review: Higher Education is a Rooney-esque exploration of Australian universities in the late 2000s

March 10, 2023

Whilst reading Kira McPherson‘s debut novel Higher Education, I couldn’t help but feel like the interior world of the novel was familiar. It wasn’t until I was a few chapters in that I realised it was set in Perth. Don’t get me wrong – it was not the book’s fault that I didn’t realise. It’s just […]

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Tuesday Evenings with the Copeton Craft Resistance

Book Review: Colourful threads come together in Kate Solly’s debut novel

February 23, 2023

If you’ve ever seen a knitting or crochet group get together at your local library or community centre, you’ll know that craft groups are a hive of big personalities. The Copeton Crochet Circle, AKA the Copeton Craft Resistance, are no different. These ladies (and gentleman) are the cast of Kate Solly‘s charming debut novel, Tuesday Evenings with […]

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Kevin Wilson

Book Review: Street art goes under the microscope in Kevin Wilson’s latest

February 22, 2023

Quirky American author, Kevin Wilson‘s latest fictional offering was released in late 2022 to much anticipation. Called Now is Not the Time to Panic, the novel once again explores the line between art and chaos as it follows sixteen-year-old Frances ‘Frankie’ Budge through the summer of 1996. A loner and an aspiring writer, Frankie is a […]

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Book Review: Alice Nelson translates familiar territory in Faithless

December 19, 2022

In Faithless, Alice Nelson’s third novel, we follow Cressida as she writes a letter to her former lover, Max, dissecting the psychology of their relationship. Born the daughter of Lord Farley and his mistress, Cressida and her brother Lucian are part of a second, unacknowledged family. They share an idyllic childhood in India, growing up on […]

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Book Review: North turns her pen to weaving tales from Greek Mythology in Ithaca

December 15, 2022

It’s no secret that Greek Mythology retellings are having something of a moment. Madeline Miller‘s The Song of Achilles – published in 2011 – was one of the most talked about books on TikTok this year; and in the last couple of years, we’ve had novels which focus on the forgotten women’s perspectives within these […]

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Joanna Morrison

Book Review: The Ghost of Gracie Flynn is a literary ghost story with a bittersweet twist

December 2, 2022

There are echoes of The Lovely Bones in Joanna Morrison’s debut novel, The Ghost of Gracie Flynn. Narrated by Gracie, the story is told as if her ghost is talking directly to the infant daughter of one of Gracie’s university friends, Sam. Gracie, Sam, Robyn and Cohen were a tight knit foursome, once upon a time, but […]

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Book Review: There’s something about Anja in Adriane Howell’s Hydra

December 1, 2022

The protagonist of Adriane Howell’s debut novel, Hydra, has a very distinctive voice. An antiquarian with dreams of becoming a specialist at the auction house where she works; Anja has developed her own taxonomy of classifying objects based on the way they make a person feel rather than on where they are from, who made them […]

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The Glass House

Book Review: Brooke Dunnell’s debut is a compelling domestic noir steeped in nostalgia

November 24, 2022

In Brooke Dunnell‘s Fogarty Award-winning debut novel, The Glass House, Julia Lambett returns to her childhood home in Perth to move her father into care. The timing, as is usually the case in such novels, couldn’t be worse. Julia and her husband Rowan have taken to sleeping in separate beds; with some sort of unspoken issue […]

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The Stranger

Book Review: The Stranger introduces a new voice in the emerging Feminist Western genre

November 4, 2022

Question: What do you get if you mash up Charlotte Wood‘s The Natural Way of Things, Anna North’s Outlawed and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Answer: Kathryn Hore’s latest novel, The Stranger.  Set in an unspecified frontier-like future on an unnamed continent, in a small, gated town called Darkwater, The Stranger is a twist on the classic story prompt, a stranger comes […]

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Natasha Lester

Book Review: All that dazzles is Dior in Natasha Lester’s latest hit novel

October 28, 2022

The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre treads familiar territory for seasoned Natasha Lester readers, namely the streets of Paris during and immediately after the Second World War. The novel opens with Alix about to leave her Swiss finishing school to pursue her dream of working in fashion. She is devastated to leave her closest […]

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Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls

Book Review: Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls is a sparkling debut collection from Anne Casey-Hardy

October 26, 2022

 – With pull quotes on its cover from the likes of Charlotte Wood, Tony Birch and Laura Elvery, Anne Casey-Hardy’s debut collection of short stories, Cautionary Tales for Excitable Girls promises to be something special – and it does not disappoint. Often exploring themes of coming of age, motherhood, loss and friendship, these stories are about […]

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The Ballroom Murder

Book Review: The Ballroom Murder shines a light on one of Perth’s most fascinating murder trials

October 18, 2022

In 1925, Perth woman Audrey Jacob shot dead her former fiance, Cyril Gidley in the middle of the ballroom at Government House in front of hundreds of witnesses. Yet she did not go to jail for her crime. Now, almost one hundred years later, historian and author Leigh Straw has delved into this case for […]

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Salt and Skin

Book Review: Eliza Henry-Jones’ Salt and Skin is a perfect mix of witchy vibes and eco-fiction

October 6, 2022

If it’s seemed this year like Ultimo Press are the ones to watch, then this latest novel by Eliza Henry-Jones is no exception. Pick it up for its gorgeous, moody cover, but stay for the complex and well thought-out plot and its cast of intriguing characters who almost seem to walk off the page. Salt […]

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Book Review: My Heart is a Little Wild Thing is a gentle tale of obligation and desire

October 4, 2022

My Heart is a Little Wild Thing is the sophomore novel from Australian writer, Nigel Featherstone. It is the story of Patrick, the beleaguered youngest son of a family from country New South Wales who has suppressed his own needs and desires for most of his life. Now the only member of his family in […]

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Portable Magic

Book Review: Emma Smith’s Portable Magic is a book lover’s compendium to dip in and out of

September 22, 2022

Portable Magic, the latest book by Shakespeare scholar Emma Smith, is more than just a book about books. Or rather, it’s not exactly what you would expect from a book about books. Instead of being a cultural history of books, reading and publishing, it’s a thematic account of books as physical objects. Divided into chapters about […]

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Women I Know

Book Review: Katerina Gibson’s Women I Know is a collection about womanhood and the weight of expectation

August 24, 2022

Katerina Gibson was the winner of the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Pacific Region) for their story “Fertile Soil”. Last month, their debut collection Women I Know was published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Described as ‘unpicking the stitches of gender and genre’, the seventeen stories in Women I Know explore various iterations of […]

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Book Review: Katherine J. Chen extracts the woman from the myth in her second novel, Joan

August 11, 2022

Katherine J. Chen’s second novel, Joan, a feminist reimagining of Joan of Arc, is surprisingly absent of religious fervour. She acknowledges that her Joan is a departure from the history in her author’s note, but also makes a conscious effort throughout the novel to draw attention to the mythologising of this figure throughout history. Given that […]

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Book Review: Yanagihara’s latest novel is heavy on themes and symbolism, but is it too much?

August 9, 2022

To Paradise, Hanya Yanagihara’s third novel, was released in January 2022. That it has taken me until now to finish it says as much about its length (some 700 plus pages) as it does about its subject matter. Spanning three interlinked novellas each set 100 years apart, To Paradise is a book about family, obligation, tradition and […]

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Book Review: You never know what’s really going on behind closed doors in Paddy O’Reilly’s Other Houses

August 4, 2022

In Other Houses, the fourth novel by Melbourne-based writer Paddy O’Reilly, working class Australia takes centre stage. The novel follows Lily, a housecleaner who works in the inner suburbs of Melbourne to make sure that her daughter, Jewelee, has a good life. Jewelee was a wild child once, in and out of trouble with the […]

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