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.
Cold Coast

Book Review: Walk in Wolstadt’s footsteps in Robyn Mundy’s Cold Coast

December 20, 2021

It was a blissful relief to be reading Robyn Mundy‘s latest novel, Cold Coast, over a humid Perth week. The novel is set on Svalbard in 1932, and follows a year in the life of Wanny Wolstadt (pronounced Vanny Voldstadt), who was Norway’s first female trapper. Wolstadt, a young widow, is already unconventional for a woman of […]

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Alan Carter

Book Review: Alan Carter’s Crocodile Tears is a thriller with some teeth

December 14, 2021

Cato Kwong fans will be sad to learn that Crocodile Tears will be Alan Carter‘s final adventure for the Perth-based detective. In his last outing, Cato is set to investigate the murders of two retirees whose bodies have been mutilated to send some sort of message. Meanwhile, Rory Driscoll, multilingual spook, is tasked with babysitting a bunch of […]

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The Rome Zoo

Book Review: The Rome Zoo showcases all the fun of the fair, but you might need a map

December 9, 2021

While reading The Rome Zoo by Pascal Janovjak, translated by Stephanie Smee, I was often struck by the sense that I didn’t really know what was going on; but that I was having a lovely time. The novel is a slightly meandering account of the various iterations of the Rome Zoo (now known as the Bioparco […]

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The Paper Palace

Book Review: Miranda Cowley Heller’s The Paper Palace is an absorbing, if traumatic, read

November 25, 2021

Like many of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club picks, The Paper Palace by former head of drama series at HBO, Miranda Cowley Heller quickly became the book of the moment when it was released back in July. The novel follows a woman named Elle, who has finally given into her desire for her childhood friend Jonas after […]

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Maria Papas

Book Review: Maria Papas’ Skimming Stones takes a heartfelt look at the lingering after-effects of childhood cancer on families

November 18, 2021

“What made you want to become a nurse?” This is the question at the heart of Maria Papas‘ TAG Hungerford Award Winning novel, Skimming Stones. Following two timelines, one in the present and one in memory, the novel follows protagonist Grace as the events of her workday force her to remember a particularly tumultuous time in […]

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The Countess from Kirribilli

Book Review: The Countess From Kirribilli delves deep into the life of a complicated woman

October 28, 2021

Former arts editor turned biographer Joyce Morgan turns her pen to one of Australia’s most famous literary ex-patriots in her latest biography. The Countess from Kirribilli is an in depth look at the life and career of Mary Annette Beauchamp- a.k.a. Elizabeth von Arnim, the beloved author of classic novels like The Enchanted April and Elizabeth and her […]

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The River Mouth

Book Review: Long held secrets will be revealed in The River Mouth

October 21, 2021

When Karen Herbert was made redundant from her corporate job, she did what most people only dream of. She sat down, and she began to write a book. A mere eighteen months later, she had two books contracted to Western Australian powerhouse, Fremantle Press. The first of these to be released is The River Mouth, […]

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The Fair Botanists

Book Review: Sara Sheridan’s The Fair Botanists is a contemplative take on Scottish history

October 20, 2021

The story of how Sara Sheridan’s latest book The Fair Botanists came to be is a fascinating one. Or one to envy if you are trying to get a book published yourself. In an author’s note at the back of the novel, Sara tells of how she was eating at a restaurant when she got a text […]

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The Riviera House

Book Review: The Riviera House is Natasha Lester’s most sumptuous novel yet

October 14, 2021

Bestselling historical fiction author Natasha Lester is back with her sixth foray into the genre and it’s safe to say that her star is continuing to rise. Once again returning to World War Two-era France, Lester’s latest novel is The Riviera House, a multiple timeline romance and adventure story of art, espionage and war. This new offering […]

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Love Your Bookshop Day 2021: The AU Books Team on some of their favourite local bookstores

October 8, 2021

Tomorrow is Love Your Bookshop Day, inviting booklovers to come together and celebrate all the wonderful things that their favourite bookshops do for local communities. They’re booksellers, yes, but they’re so much more. They can give personalised recommendations for gifts and book clubs, or find you that book with the blue cover that was in […]

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Love & Virtue

Book Review: Diana Reid’s Love and Virtue is a triumph for new kids on the block, Ultimo Press

September 30, 2021

Diana Reid was well on her way to a career in theatre, when COVID-19 saw the cancellation of 1984! The Musical, a production she co-wrote and produced. In lockdown, she decided to turn her hand to writing a book. The result is Love & Virtue, a masterpiece of ‘millennial fiction’ which is already garnering comparisons to Sally […]

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Booker Prize announces 2021 shortlist

September 15, 2021

  This year’s Booker Prize shortlist was released over night, with the prize’s website stating that “as always, the lucky winners will be the readers“. The final six novels, whittled down from a longlist of thirteen, includes previous shortlistees Richard Powers and Damon Galgut, as well as debut novelist Patricia Lockwood and fan favourite Maggie […]

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Small Joys of Real Life

Book Review: Small Joys of Real Life is a deeply moving debut about those moments when life doesn’t go to plan

September 9, 2021

In Small Joys of Real Life, the debut novel by Allee Richards, main character Eva is coming to terms with some big changes in her life. Though she’s moderately successful in her acting career, she’s never felt as passionate about it as she feels perhaps she should. When she confides this information to Pat, a friend of […]

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The Shut Ins

Book Review: Katherine Brabon’s The Shut Ins is a subtle take on a different kind of social isolation

September 1, 2021

The Shut Ins – the second novel from 2016 Vogel Award winner, Katherine Brabon – takes its readers to Japan, pre-pandemic but post tsunami, and is a meditation on the all too timely and relevant themes of loneliness and isolation. Using a frame narrative of an Australian writer travelling Japan and feeling increasingly disconnected from […]

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Book Review: Zoe Deleuil’s The Night Village shows us cousin Rachel, but not as you know her

August 26, 2021

Simone moved to London to become a journalist, but then she met Paul. Now, she’s about to have his child, and nothing is turning out quite like she planned. Having a small human completely dependent on her for survival is terrifying to Simone, whose family are halfway across the world in Perth. Though he’s her […]

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The Eighth Wonder

Book Review: The Eighth Wonder is an engrossing and original work of historical fiction

August 5, 2021

There is something about a book with a circus in it that promises the spectacular. Touted as Suffragette meets The Greatest Showman, Australian author Tania Farrelly‘s debut novel The Eighth Wonder is the story of Rose Kingsbury Smith, a young woman living in the privileged neighbourhood of the Upper East Side in New York at the turn of […]

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She is Haunted

Book Review: Paige Clark’s debut collection She is Haunted might just be one of the best books of the year

July 29, 2021

A mother cuts her daughter’s hair because her own starts falling out. A woman leaves her boyfriend because he reminds her of a corpse; another undergoes brain surgery to try to live more comfortably in higher temperatures. A widow physically transforms into her husband so that she does not have to grieve. This is She […]

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Locust Summer

Book Review: Grief and nostalgia reign in David Allan-Petale’s Locust Summer

July 22, 2021

Locust Summer, the debut novel by WA writer David Allan-Petale, has been a long time coming. Shortlisted for the 2017 Australian/Vogel Literary Award administered by Allen and Unwin, the book was released this July by Fremantle Press in the midst of Perth’s latest lockdown. The postponement of a book launch due to circumstances beyond the […]

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Palace of the Drowned

Book Review: Palace of the Drowned wrestles with second novel syndrome in more ways than one

July 14, 2021

It feels strange to be writing a review of a novel in which the catalyst is a negative book review. In Palace of the Drowned, Christine Mangan (Tangerine) returns to the literary thriller genre with a story of writers block and obsession. It follows Frankie Croy, a career author whose first book was one of those […]

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Reading Australian Writer

Book Review: Reading Like an Australian Writer updates the syllabus for Australian literary studies

July 8, 2021

How do we define an Australian writer? What is Australian literature? New South Books’ latest collection of essays, Reading Like An Australian Writer doesn’t seek to answer these questions definitively. Instead, using as its source material a line-up of well-known Australian literary figures and their books, it offers up a round table of discussions on […]

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Malibu Rising

Book Review: Malibu Rising is a dreamy new addition to the Taylor Jenkins Reid universe

June 17, 2021

One of this year’s most highly anticipated releases, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid hit stores this month. Loosely linked to both of TJR’s previous smash hits, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and the Six, Malibu Rising continues her theme of exploring the inner lives of the rich and famous; showing us what is really going […]

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Macneal

Book Review: Elizabeth Macneal dissects the Greatest Show on Earth in her spellbinding sophomore novel

May 27, 2021

Elizabeth Macneal is back with a follow up to her 2019 novel The Doll Factory. Though not a sequel, Circus of Wonders treads familiar ground in weaving another Victorian era tale of entertainment, exploitation and obsession. While The Doll Factory used as its setting the Great Exhibition, Circus of Wonders, as its title suggests, uses the travelling circus. […]

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Madam

Book Review: Phoebe Wynne’s Madam is a modern day Gothic for Hanging Rock fans

May 25, 2021

Imagine reading Picnic at Hanging Rock at the same time as The Handmaid’s Tale, and you’ll get somewhere close to understanding the experience of Phoebe Wynne‘s debut novel, Madam. This is the story of Rose, a twenty-six year old classics teacher who is plucked from obscurity (or, from teaching at public schools) and made the head of the […]

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As Beautiful As Any Other

Book Review: Kaya Wilson’s As Beautiful as Any Other deep dives into the inheritance of trauma

May 20, 2021

“This is a trans story. But it is also my story.” So says this powerful quote from Kaya Wilson’s memoir: As Beautiful as Any Other. Written as a personal record of his own experiences with both the medical profession and the world, beginning the day Kaya began to question his gender, As Beautiful as Any Other is a powerful […]

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Smokehouse

Book Review: Melissa Manning’s Smokehouse is a warm debut that’s hard to pin down

May 12, 2021

Melissa Manning may be based in Melbourne now, but her connection to Tasmania resounds strongly throughout the stories in her debut collection, Smokehouse. Told in the form of nine interlinked tales, the book follows the lives of a number of residents of a small Tasmanian coastal town. At the centre (and also bookending the collection) is […]

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Heartsick

Book Review: Heartsick offers hope to the heartbroken but not much in the way of healing

May 11, 2021

In Heartsick, journalist and assistant head of content at Mammamia, Jessie Stephens goes undercover in search of the truth about heartbreak. Inspired by her own relationship breakdown and a search for a “book that [she was] fairly certain [didn’t] exist” which could “put into words how [she was] feeling”, this debut work of narrative non fiction looks […]

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The French Gift

Book Review: The strength of female friendship is celebrated in Kirsty Manning’s The French Gift

May 5, 2021

Kirsty Manning‘s historical fiction always features two things: an intriguing mystery in the past that must be uncovered by characters in the present day, and sumptuous descriptions of food and drink. Her latest novel, The French Gift is no exception. And no wonder, as Kirsty Manning is the co-owner of the Bellota Wine Bar and the […]

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Winners of the 2021 ABIA Awards announced

April 28, 2021

The winners of this year’s ABIAs (Australian Book Industry Awards) were announced at Carriageworks in Sydney as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival this evening in a hybrid online and in-person event. Julia Baird took out the top award for Book of the Year for her non-fiction release Phosphorescence, described by guest presenter Cate Blanchett […]

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Where the Line Breaks

Book Review: Where the Line Breaks is a thoughtful analysis of the ANZAC legend and those who create it

April 23, 2021

Shortlisted for the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award, Where the Line Breaks, the debut novel by West Australian writer Michael Burrows is stylistically a little out of the ordinary for Fremantle Press. For a start, a large part of the story is told in the form of a fictional PhD thesis. Writing the thesis is Matthew Denton, a “starry-eyed […]

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Chasing the McCubbin

Book Review: Rummage in search of treasure in Sandi Scaunich’s debut Chasing The McCubbin

April 20, 2021

Chasing the McCubbin, the debut novel by Melbourne academic and writer Sandi Scaunich, delves into what may be unfamiliar territory for most readers – a world of second hand dealers with nicknames like Blue Merc, Fritz the German and The Builder and His Missus. Beginning in the early ’90s during a financial recession, it is the story […]

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