Di Morrissey is one of Australia's most popular female novelists. Di's novels, The Valley, The Reef, Barra Creek, Kimberley Sun, The Bay, Blaze, Scatter the Stars, The Songmaster, When the Singing Stops, Tears of the Moon, The Last Mile Home, Follow the Morning Star, The Last Rose of Summer and Heart of the Dreaming all went straight to the top of the bestseller list. Di divides her time between Byron Bay and the Manning Valley in NSW.
If you’re a fan of the television show ‘McLeod’s Daughters’ and like a good epic saga filled with larger-than-life characters, emotions and situations, then Di Morrissey’s latest book Barra Creek is for you. Set in Queensland’s Gulf country in the 1960s, we follow 21-year-old Sally as she leaves her privileged New Zealand life to become a governess on a remote cattle station at Barra Creek run by a matriarch called Lorna. The story is told retrospectively, opening with Lorna escaping from an old people’s home to track down Sally to share with her a terrible secret from their Barra Creek days. While the plot is at times suspenseful and engaging, it can also be a bit formulaic and predictable. And yet, while there is little subtlety in the characters, they are still likeable and believable. Morrissey’s easy writing style lures the reader into the world at Barra Creek with its heat, flies, crocodile-infested rivers, camel racing, rodeos, wild brumbies and fatal wildlife. Barra Creek overflows with iconic Australian material—real Crocodile Dundee territory. But there is one exception: the imperialist view of Australians in the 1960s towards the Indigenous people—a confronting part of an otherwise easy read. Michelle Atkins is a freelance writer. C. 2003 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors