Set at the end of the 19th century in the Australian outback, Comity lives with her mother and father in a telegraph relay station. Her father’s job is to transmit telegraph messages via Morse Code. They get deliveries by camel, her best friend is an aborigine boy called Fred and all is well until her Mother, Mary, dies after being bitten by a tiger snake. He father retreats into his own world and Comity is left to her own devices. When Quartz Hogg, an assistant for her father from the telegraph company arrives things take a turn for the worse.
This is a really great historical account of the time set against the fantastic back drop of the Australian dessert. The story itself starts off quite slowly but is made up for by the attention to detail, description of the Australian landscape and dialogue sprinkled with words from an Aboriginal dialect. The story is a tale of grief, sadness and friendship which also deals with racism and the need for respect for different cultures. The main character’s name is Comity and although set over 100 years ago the themes in this book are still very relevant, the author stresses in the forward that now more than ever “there seems to be a more urgent need than ever for “Comity” harmony and understanding between nations..”
This book would be aimed at ages 9+ although I think older readers might enjoy it more.
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.