Monday, January 10, 2011

The ghost at the wedding

Shirley Walker has based this book on the true story of the experiences of her husband's family in Australia. The family originally came from the Isle of Skye. After the clearances in the mid nineteenth century the family emigrated to Australia when they had been forced out of their homes.

The book recounts the story of Jessie whose family had settled near the Clarence River. She was born at the end of the nineteenth century so her story largely deals with the impact of two world wars upon the family. Jessie's brothers and the man she was to marry served during World War I. The experience of the soldiers overseas is interwoven with the struggles of the family at home waiting to hear if their loved ones would return. Eddie, later called Ted, did return to marry Jessie but he was a damaged man and never recovered from his war time experiences. His two brothers and Jessie's brother, Joe, died overseas. Jessie's first two sons and a brother born around the same time were named after their fallen uncles. Twenty years later these boys were also off to war. A moving story about the effects of war on three generations of one family.

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