By Colleen McCullough


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 Book Description

Sometimes fairy tales can come true-even for plain, shy spinsters like Missy Wright. Neither as pretty as cousin Alicia Nor as domineering as mother Drusilla, she seems doomed to a quiet life of near poverty at Missalonghi, her family's pitifully small homestead in Australia's Blue Mountains. But It's a brand new century-the twentieth-a time for new thoughts and bold new actions. And Missy Wright is about to set every self-righteous tongue in the town of Byron wagging. Because she has just set her sights on a mysterious, mistrusted and unsuspecting stranger ... who just might be Prince-Charming in disguise.


For all of you who remember the television mini-series called The Thorn Birds, this book, by the same author, will be a delightful escape into Australian life at the turn of the century. Even better than a great read, this is a great read that isn't too long. Oh, sure, I read the Gulag Archipelago and Gone With the Wind and didn't begrudge a single syllable, but you can't fault a good author who can tell a light-hearted fairy tale with a minimum of prose.
The time of this novel is right before WWI, near the Blue Mountains in Australia. The village of Missalonghi is named after the poet Byron, and most of the females in this far-flung clan have Latin names to complement the period. Along comes John Smith and buys up the valley in the center of their town right from under their self-important noses. Missy Wright is one of the three man-less ladies of Missalonghi, homely, unimportant and destined for a fate no better than her past. These women are taken advantage of, bullied, pitied, and despised by all their more successful relatives because of their lack of means. John Smith upsets this balance in a way that Missy would never have dreamed because she finally has the courage to change her own life.
The author, Colleen McCullough, is a neurologist by profession, and after leaving Australia has centered her many books on Australian life. Rich prose and wicked satire on social mores make this a book worth reading.
-- Jan Irvine

Additional Books by Colleen McCullough
The Thorn Birds
Indecent Obsession
Fortune's Favorites

The Grass Crown

The First Man in Rome

Caesar: A Novel (Masters of Rome Series)

Caesar's Women (Masters of Rome Series)
Morgan's Run

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