Peggy Frew is a master in the craft of ‘show, don’t tell’. I got a sense early on in the novel that something was brewing, perhaps ominously, but exactly what, alluded me. Set in an eighties hippie commune amongst a crowd of colourful down and out misfits, the story is told from two perspectives, that of mother and daughter, and weaves masterfully through time, slowly revealing the missing pieces, engulfing you in the story until you’re under its spell. Unable to put it down, I stayed up until 3am lost between its pages. With beautiful imagery that is both real and tragic, it is not hard to see why it made the 2016 Stella Prize shortlist, and is now shortlisted for the Miles Franklin. It grew on me, slowly, and steadily, much like the doomed love of Ishtar, the stories first protagonist. It’s a story of secrets, second chances, retribution, hope.

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