Why We Love It: When you’re in the mood for a juicy historical saga to sink your teeth into, Tricia Stringer’s Dust on the Horizon is just what you need. In her latest novel, Stringer returns to the beautiful but harsh Flinders Ranges in the 1800s with this vividly drawn and compelling tale of settlers and first peoples.
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Joseph Baker is a hardworking and honourable farmer doing his best to work his pastoral lease in the high country, while much of the land is suffering harsh drought. With a large family and suffering a terrible tragedy, life is tough. Not everyone thinks Joseph is a good man. Some can’t stomach his lifestyle – he lives in close proximity to an Aboriginal family, his best and loyal friend, Binda, who saved his life when they were young.
New to the town of Hawker where Joseph Baker does business is the conniving Henry Wiltshire. Together with Baker’s scheming neighbour Ellis Prosser, Wiltshire sets out to unravel Joseph Baker’s life further. But while on the surface Henry Wiltshire and his businesswoman mother Harriet are fine and upstanding, they harbour their own dark secrets that they’re determined no one will uncover.
Tricia Stringer has done it again, with a deeply moving and absorbing story that keeps us engaged until the final pages. This is one of those meaty sagas following the intertwined lives of a group of settlers over many years. Stringer is skilled at portraying the harsh life of early pioneers – she transports us back in time, to Australia’s colonial past, where bigotry reigns and both settlers and Aboriginal Australians struggle through drought and then the gold rush. With grabbing and scheming over land, the brutality of both people and nature, and also love and hope, this is the perfect backdrop for a moving and compelling story.
Dust on the Horizon continues the stories of the Baker and Wiltshire clans started in the first of Stringer’s Flinders Ranges series, The Heart of the Country. While fans of the first novel will be dying to get started on her latest, this new instalment can be read standalone or as part of the series.
Tricia Stringer grew up on a farm in rural South Australia and has spent most of her life in rural communities, where she loves to be. As well as historical saga, she writes rural romance including Queen of the Road which won the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year in 2013.