Culture Street


Silver Clouds by Fleur McDonald

On April 8, 2013

By Sophia Whitfield

Fleur McDonald has lived on the land for most of her life. Her novels capture both the isolation and the freedom of life on the land.  In Silver Clouds McDonald provides a stark contrast between life in the cosmopolitan city of London and life on an isolated station in Western Australia.

London based marketing executive, Tessa, finds herself in disgrace after a private indiscretion is made public. She is given the opportunity to flee back to her childhood home of Danjar Plains in Western Australia after the death of her great-aunt.

Her reputation now in tatters, Tessa arrives home, 12 years after her departure. She had initially fled to London to get away from events that had taken place on her parent’s property. Haunted by the past Tessa had taken refuge in a new city far from home, but now on her way home, with nowhere else to go, she will be forced to confront her demons.

Tessa’s Aunt Violet has made an unusual request that forces her to stay. She sifts through her Aunt’s things packing up her house, which is situated on her parent’s property. Having been fired from her job in London Tessa has nothing to return to, she takes little pleasure in being home, but with no other option she stays. Whilst going through her Aunt’s possessions she uncovers a family secret, one her beloved aunt wanted her to find.

As Tessa confronts her demons she falls prey to local ladies man Brendan McKenzie. Still in turmoil Tessa allows him to flit unreliably in and out of her life. Tessa is relieved to be asked by local widower Harrison to look after his daughter Cally for a few days while he is away on business. She is struggling to occupy her time on Danjar Plains. During the few days they are together they form a close bond. Tessa is aware that she has feelings for Cally’s father but at 24, his 40 years seem a little too out of reach. Tessa must decide who is best suited for her.

McDonald has written a novel about coming home, facing the past and discovering love. The reader will be cheering on McDonald’s heroine Tessa as she struggles to shake off the guilt that forced her to escape her past. She must forgive herself her past misdeeds before she can move on.

McDonald’s knowledge of the land enables her to capture the beauty of the Australian landscape paired with the struggles that it can conjure up.


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