When Helen disappears after a violent domestic episode and Jim, her abusive alcoholic husband, is later killed, their 13-year-old son, Bill, is left to run wild. Quick and resourceful, with help from his frail Uncle Paddy and the indomitable Aunty Jessie, he looks after his younger sister, Lizzie, to avoid her being taken into care. Helen's whereabouts is eventually discovered and a former 'digger', Jack, Helen's friend from her teenage years, takes Bill to find her. He also takes Bill under his wing and introduces him to the blood, sweat and dirt of country living, a sharp contrast to his former life on the Georges River. Bill and the farmer's precocious and sexually inquisitive daughter, Marlene begin a hazardous adolescent intimacy and Jack renews his relationship with Helen, surprising and gratifying both of them with its intensity. Set in 1950s Australia, this coming-of-age tale explores a young man's growing up and an older one's recovery from the terrible damage inflicted by WWII. Bill's entire world is coloured by the war that was over almost before he was born: Jack is slowly rebuilding his life and their two stories merge, but the spectre of Helen's violent past returns. Will she and her children survive the terror that is waiting for her? This first vel by this new author, although set in the 1950s, is contemporary in its description of domestic violence, a scourge in today's society, and the effects it has on families.
Ian Harrison was born in Southall Middlesex, UK, in September 1942, during a lull in the Luftwaffe's bombing of London. He came to Australia in 1948 with his family as assisted migrants, and settled in Connell's Point NSW on the banks of the Georges River. He has worked at many occupations, and has had several businesses, both in the city, Manus Island and in rural Australia. He has a BA in Visual Art obtained whilst recovering from serious injury by a fractious mare in 1992. After leaving university he started his own silk screen printing business in 1998, selling that in 2006, and starting a Machine Embroidery business with his wife which was sold in 2010. He is now retired and living in the South East of South Australia, with Wynona, his ever patient wife of fifty years, and their small dog. This is his first novel.