Red Dust by Fleur McDonald

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Courtesy Allen & Unwin

This outback saga combines
crime and intrigue with romance and mateship as it tracks a young woman’s
plight to succeed in what many consider a man’s world.

Red Dust
Red Dust
is the story of Gemma Sinclair, a young Australian farmer who has just buried
her husband after witnessing him die in a light aircraft crash that at first
seemed like an accident.
His finals words to her, “Be
careful, I’m in trouble and they might come after you…Sell the station…”
terrify her and open up a host of questions, namely did she really know the man
she was married to?
When all those around her
expect and advise her to sell the station, Gemma refuses to give up her home
and takes on the challenge of managing the 100,000-hectare sheep and cattle property
with the help of her stockmen Bulla and Garry.
As the story unfolds, Gemma
is faced with financial difficulties, a sick father and a stock stealing scheme.
Added to this are the rumours and innuendos that her dead husband was involved
in the duffing and she too may be part of the racket.
In the bid to clear her
name, Gemma is aided by her best friend Jess and a new man in town who has been
drawn into her world with both a professional and romantic interest.
Outback Stations of Australia
Red Dust
is set on Billbinya, a 100,000-hectare station which although a huge piece of red
dirt, is not as big as stations get in Australia.  A station is the equivalent of a ranch in the
United States of America and normally refers to a farm that raises sheep and/or
cattle but not necessarily crops.
Australia’s largest station
is Anna Creek Station, and at 6,000,000 acres (24,000km2) is larger
that many European countries.
Stations are synonymous with
the ultimate Australian outback experience – where the going is tough and it is
often the farmer alone against the elements of nature.
These elements are portrayed
in Red Dust by an author with an
insider’s knowledge of life on the land. McDonald writes with insight and
authority.  Her description of farming
life and the harsh landscape are some of the real highlights of the book.
About Fleur McDonald
Fleur McDonald lives on a
farm in the lower region of Western Australia just east of Esperance.  She has spent a lot of her childhood on stations,
has been a jillaroo and now her and her husband run cattle and sheep on 8000
Red Dust
was recently short-listed for the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book
of the Year in the Romantic Elements category. 
This award is voted on by Australian readers and is open every year to
both Australian and New Zealand authors.
Red Dust has
also been short-listed for the Australian Book Industry Awards in the Newcomer
of the Year (debut novel) section. Winners will be announced this week.
McDonald’s second novel Blue
Skies was released in April this year and she is currently writing her third
piece of rural literature.
Red Dust
by Fleur McDonald (Arena, an imprint of Allen & Unwin, 2009, ISBN:
978-1-74175-629-6, 330 pages.)
For further information
about Fleur McDonald, visit her website at
rating: ★★★

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