To read or not to read...

A warm and witty  debut novel by a much loved author. She recently visited Sutherland Shire  Library Service to launch the sequel to this bestselling book. 

To read or not to read...that is the question! Read the opening paragraphs of this novel and you decide. 

Not long after schoolkids have rampaged through The Briny Cafe like a flock of hungry seagulls, Ettie Brookbank sits down, with a heavy sigh, at one of the scarred picnic tables in the Square outside. She's just returned from cleaning a house so filthy she'd considered putting a match to it. She'd found used condoms at the bottom of a bed, a bathroom full of bloody tissues, and a kitchen strewn with dirty dishes and cooking pots burnt beyond redemption. The house had always been a tip but this was a new low. To top it off, the owner, a divorced mother of three, had forgotten to leave out her pay, which meant Ettie would have to waste time chasing up the money and put off grocery shopping for a couple of days. 
For a while she'd put aside her anger, telling herself she was lightening the load for a woman raising her children alone. 
Then sh'e stopped vacuuming mid-stream. 
"Ah sod it," she'd thought. "I'm out of here."
The sun was is now low in the sky as the steady pulse of Cook's Basin beats around her. In this sleepy offshore community there are no roads or bridges, no cars, trains, no buses or even bicycles. Just a cluster of dazzling blue bays with mouth watering names Oyster, Kingfisher, Blue Swimmer. 
For once, the beauty of her surroundings fails to soothe her and Ettie feels worn out and anxious. Every time she looks into the future, all she sees are her options fast running out. She flexes her arm muscles. She is strong. Her blood still runs hot. She considers her nest egg sitting tidily in the bank. The stash her mother left her wasn't much but she's never, ever touched it. The numbers, five of them now, are fat with comfort and mean she can make choices. She reckons that's about as close to freedom as most people ever get. 
She could buy a ticket to Paris, find a tiny atlier to live in and get a job in a pâtisserie. Learn to bake meltingly light croissants. Stir crème anglaise dotted with vanilla seeds and rich with egg yolks that hint at decadence, but feel light on the tongue. On her summer holidays, she could hitchhike from Paris to southwest France to make the 800-kilometre pilgrimage along the Compostelle de St Jacques. 
 First, all you can think about are the blisters on your feet. Next you ditch everything from your backpack except a clean pair of knickers and your toothbrush. Finally, the rocks begin to sing to you. 
She wants to hear the rocks singing, she wants to burn bridges, shout from the mountain tops. She wants to lie on a remote sunstruck island dotted with whitewashed houses in fields smelling sweetly of thyme, oregano and rosemary. 

To keep reading this book,  you can request it from the Library.