By: D.J Blackmore
Genre: YF - Children's / Teenage fiction & true stories
Published by: Wombat Books
Published: 30 Jul 2022
ISBN: 9781761110726


Up close, the heritage listed house is nothing but a beautiful disaster, but while there are acres of orange trees to lose herself amongst, Isabella realises there’s no escaping the new school. But when intolerance towards Damaska and her family—whom Isabella’s family has hired to help—opens the homestead gates, the threat to both families becomes real.

Four lives in Australia become intertwined by one orchard, as they all try to find a place they call home.

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Set in country NSW and told through the different perspectives of the characters in the story, whose lives all start to intertwine, this is ultimately a story of forgiveness, but also of intolerance and racism.

Abel is a young soldier in the Australian Army and is navigating the new life that he is making for himself. His family, including his teenage sister Isabella, have embarked on a new adventure, buying a run down house on a rural property closer to the barracks. Isabella doesn't find things easy at her new school. She is tormented by the school bully, Kai, but little does she know how much worse things will get when Abel and Kai’s troublesome older brother Brayden cross paths.

Damaska and her family have moved to Australia for a fresh start, far away from the trouble of Baghdad. But being Muslim in a small country town is not easy, and Damaska’s Jida is certainly not going to let go of her traditions, which makes fitting in almost impossible. When their paths cross, Abel is immediately drawn to Damaska. But trouble lies ahead...

Without giving away the story, this book has some wonderful characters, and some very unpleasant ones too. It does feature some violent scenes, including family violence, but it is ultimately a story of love, forgiveness and finding your home, wherever that may be. There is a wide cast of characters and my favourite was the old lady, Megan, who brings perspective and a sense of reality and community to everyone she engages with. A great story that is best suited to readers 15 years and older.

Reviewed by Sam