In 1950s Australia, during the height of the divisive White Australia Policy, Virginia, a young Aboriginal girl is taken from her home and put to work on an isolated and harsh outback station. Her only solace: the violin, taught to her secretly by the kind-hearted wife of the abusive station owner. However, Virginia's prodigious musical gift cannot save her from years of hardship and racism.
Decades later, her eight year old granddaughter Ruby plays the violin with the passion Virginia once possessed. Amidst poverty, domestic violence and social dysfunction, Ruby escapes her circumstance through her practice with her grandmother's frail, guiding hand. Ruby’s zeal attracts the attention of an enigmatic music professor and with his help, she embarks on an incredible journey of musical discovery that will culminate in a rare opportunity. But with two cultural worlds colliding, her gift and her ambition will be threatened by deeply ingrained distrust, family jealousies and tragic secrets that will define her very identity.
5 of 5 Gifts
First I have to say that gifts is a book that is heart wrenching and lovely all at the same time. This is one of those rare books where you have to read it to enjoy it. It deals with racism and poverty amongst other things but at the heart of this story is a beautiful message of hope and perseverance. It is a story about never giving up what your heart wants and what your heart desires. The word Strength kept coming to mind when I was reading this book because the main character had a lot of strength and she kept going even when times got rough for her she kept at it and never gave up.
I was also surprised to see that in the 1950's Australia had racism. It never occurred to me that this would be the case but it was. The girls were removed from their families and sent to work as maids like slavery. It annoyed me because no one should be subjected to that kind of treatment but they were and it broke my heart. Then Dean brought it to modern day times where poverty and jealousy live. It is scary to think that someone would try and destroy another family members dream.
I have to say that this book is absolutely brilliant! It is one of those reads that captures you right from the first page and keeps you going until the end never wanting to stop reading in fear that you might miss something. Thank you Dean for allowing me to read your book and sharing a world with me that I never knew existed.
Dean Mayes has established himself as an author of great passion and literary style since the publication of his debut novel The Hambledown Dream in 2010 and has since gone on to grow his following even more with his latest release Gifts of the Peramangk - all while holding down a very busy day job involving a stethoscope. Dean lives in Adelaide, Australia with his partner Emily and his two children.
The Hambledown Dream, a lyrical and moving paranormal romance, is his first novel. His second novel "Gifts Of The Peramangk" was released in October 2012.
He writes regularly for a loyal following at his blog Dean from Australia.