December reads...

The birdman's wife/ Melissa Ashley
Also available as an ebook
Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before. But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman’s Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

On the blue train/ Kristel Thornell
Also available as an ebook
What really did happen to Agatha Christie during her mysterious eleven-day disappearance just as she was on the cusp of fame? An entrancing novel of creativity and grief...

The better son/ Katherine Johnson
1952. Tasmania. The green, rolling hills of the dairy town Mole Creek have a dark underside — a labyrinthine underworld of tunnels that stretch for countless miles, caverns the size of cathedrals and underground rivers that flood after heavy rain. The caves are dangerous places, forbidden to children. But this is Tasmania — an island at the end of the earth. Here, rules are made to be broken.

For two young brothers, a hidden cave a short walk from the family farm seems the perfect escape from their abusive, shell-shocked father — until the older brother goes missing. Fearful of his father, nine-year-old Kip lies about what happened. It is a decision that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Wild Island/ Katherine Johnson
This dazzling modern recreation of a nineteenth century novel ingeniously entwines Jane Eyre's iconic love story with Sir John Franklin's great tale of exploration and empire. A brilliant and historically accurate depiction of Van Diemen's Land society in the 1800s, as well as a vivid portrayal of the human cost of colonisation, Wild Island shows us that fiction and history are not so different after all. Each story, whether it be truth or fiction, is shaped by its teller.

Do not say we have nothing Madeleine Thien
Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations--those who lived through Mao's Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century.

Hot milk/ Deborah Levy
Also available as an audiobook
Driven to cure her mother's inexplicable illness, a young anthropologist seeks the advice of a famous but controversial consultant on the arid coast of southern Spain, where the transient desert environment shapes her own desires.

Faithful/ Alice Hoffman
Also available as an ebook
She was disappearing inch by inch, vanishing into thin air, and then one day a postcard arrived . . . There was no return address, no signature, only a scrawled message: Say something..

The FenceMeredith Jaffé
"I promise you one thing, young lady. Building a fence is not going to keep the world out and won't keep your children in. Life's not that simple." 
Gwen Hill adores Green Valley Avenue. Here she has built friendships, raised her children and nurtured a thriving garden. 
Francesca Desmarchelliers has high hopes for the house on Green Valley Avenue.  To maintain her privacy and corral her wandering children, Frankie proposes a fence between the properties that would destroy Gwen's picture-perfect front yard.
To Gwen, this is an act of war.

The Memory Stones/ Caroline Brothers
An Argentinian woman embarks on a harrowing search in 1976 for her 19-year-old daughter who was "disappeared" by the junta while her husband, a doctor forced to flee to Europe, can only witness the destruction of his country and family from afar.

Treading Air/Ariella Van Luyn. 
In 1940s Brisbane, Lizzie O'Dea lies in a lock hospital bed, thinking about how she got there. Thinking about Joe, who's been in gaol for twenty years. Twenty-five years earlier, Lizzie wants to get away from her dad, a petty crim, and the memory of her mum. When she meets Joe at the races, he seems the right man to help her escape. But after they move to Townsville, Lizzie soon falls through what she thought would be a safety net. She starts working at the local brothel because she and Joe desperately need money - but then her work becomes something else. A living. A new life. Skirting the edges of society, Lizzie lets go of rules and expectations, finding real love and true friendship. It's a precarious life, though, and one day it has to collapse - with tragic consequences. And so Lizzie finds herself, two decades later, sick and worn-out, not having seen Joe in years. But she's still alive, and maybe there's hope yet.