Friday 4 November 2011

A Waltz For Matilda by Jackie French

Title:               A Waltz For Matilda
Author:           Jackie French
ISBN:              9780732290214
Publisher:       Harper Collins
Published:      2010
Age Group:    Young Adult, Historical Fiction


In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike. Her father has turned swaggie and he′s wanted by the troopers. In front of his terrified daughter, he makes a stand against them, defiant to the last. ′You′ll never catch me alive, said he...′

Set against a backdrop of bushfire, flood, war and jubilation, this is the story of one girl′s journey towards independence. It is also the story of others who had no vote and very little but their dreams.

Drawing on the well-known poem by A.B. Paterson and from events rooted in actual history, this is the untold story behind Australia′s early years as an emerging nation.

My Thoughts: 

Jackie French truly does have a way with words. She has delighted readers of all ages for many years and this book is simply superb as many have come to expect from this much loved Australian author.

One cannot help but be inspired by the strength and determination of Matilda as she leaves the only home she has ever known and ventures out into the outback in search of her father and a better life. The joy she finds is sadly cut short when her father dies in an attempt to escape the Troopers, leaving Matilda the owner of her fathers' small farm. Matilda refuses to give up on her fathers dreams for the farm and puts her heart and soul into the property. Along the way she experiences friendship, love and loss, as she fights for, not only her rights, but also the rights of her friends.

This book sends strong messages of the importance of equality and the importance of not giving up. With a descriptive writing style the reader feels as though they have been transported to the Australian outback and can feel the burning heat of the sun on their skin, smell the sweetness of the Australian bush, hear the gentle hum of the insects and see the beautiful golden, sunburnt country stretching out before their eyes.

A beautiful, historical tale that will be enjoyed by teens and adults alike.

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