I loved this book, my first of Fiona Lowe’s although I have known about her books for a while.
Myrtle is a small town set in the Otway Ranges but it is now a fractured community, as it tries to rebuild it’s self after a devastating bush fire destroyed the town, taking many lives.
Set mostly in the present day, two years after the fire it follows stalwart community member Julie, local nurse practitioner Claire, Bec (who has has resented Claire since high school), Sophie who moved to Myrtle six weeks before the fire with her family and Erica and Layla, who are new to the town since the fire. These women come together on the instigation of Julie to form a craft group but it ends up becoming so much more as they try to bring new life into the town.
There are chapters of before the fire, which set the background to understanding these characters but nothing is ever as it seems, as they struggle to come to terms of life after that dreadful day.
I can’t help but see a parallel to Myrtle and what happened in small communities after the harrowing and devastating Victorian fires of 2009. It’s poignant, heartbreaking, frustrating and hopeful as people pull together and apart, this story has so many layers while it also explores PTSD and domestic violence.
A book which evoked many emotions in me and I thank Netgalley and the publisher for a copy to read. Highly recommended reading.
'Lowe is a master at painting believable characters with heart and soul.' Author: The Weekly Times
A devastating bushfire. Three scorched marriages. An an inflammatory secret that will rock a town.