A town like Alice by Nevil Shute

About the book

After the war Jean Paget comes into an inheritance that enables her to return to Malaya. Her return visit changes her life again, when she discovers that a soldier she thought had died has survived. She goes in search of him and finds romance.

Reviewed by The Accidental Book Group

A lovely book, we recommend it highly. The main characters are wonderful and the story beautifully constructed.

Star rating ****

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The People's Train by Thomas Keneally

About the book

After a long, dangerous escape from Tsarist Russia, Artem Samsurov might have reached sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia, but that doesn’t stop him trying to create a socialist paradise with his fellow emigres and workmates. And despite getting entangled with an attractive female lawyer, then charged with the murder of an informer, he never loses hope that one day the revolution will come. But when he returns to Russia in 1917 to fight alongside his comrades, he cannot know whether it will succeed, or at what cost.

Reviewed by The Benches Reading Group

The novel was quite hard work according to some of us. However, the pace increased in the second half – perhaps due to the fact that we could relate more to the events in Russia during the revolutionary era compared to activities in Queensland, Australia pre-1917. We were divided as to whether the novel was well written – in need of a sequel! Historically interesting, written as events unfolded, therefore only passing mention of figures such as Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin (who were, unbeknown to the narrator, to play a large part during the political upheaval).

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