'Meticulously researched, and the result is Heiss’s great achievement: the reader is transported in place and time.’ – The Australian
'Tact and intelligence are sustained to the end of this bold novel of the wartime home front’ -- Sydney Morning Herald
A story about a love that transcends all boundaries, from one of Australia’s best loved authors.
5 AUGUST, 1944
Over 1000 Japanese soldiers break out of the No.12 Prisoner of War compound on the fringes of Cowra. In the carnage, hundreds are killed, many are recaptured, and some take their own lives rather than suffer the humiliation of ongoing defeat.
But one soldier, Hiroshi, manages to escape.
At nearby Erambie Station, an Aboriginal mission, Banjo Williams, father of five and proud man of his community, discovers Hiroshi, distraught and on the run. Unlike most of the townsfolk who dislike and distrust the Japanese, the people of Erambie choose compassion and offer Hiroshi refuge. Mary, Banjo’s daughter, is intrigued by the softly spoken stranger, and charged with his care.
For the community, life at Erambie is one of restriction and exclusion – living under Acts of Protection and Assimilation, and always under the ruthless eye of the mission Manager. On top of wartime hardships, families live without basic rights.
Love blossoms between Mary and Hiroshi, and they each dream of a future together. But how long can Hiroshi be hidden safely and their bond kept a secret?
Dr Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, poetry, social commentary and travel articles. She is a regular guest at writers' festivals and travels internationally performing her work and lecturing on Indigenous literature. She is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW. Anita is an Advocate for the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence and an Ambassador of Worowa Aboriginal College. She is an Adjunct Professor with Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS and currently divides her time between writing, public speaking, MCing, managing the Epic Good Foundation and being a 'creative disruptor'. Anita was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards and the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards. She currently lives in Brisbane.
Anita's latest book is Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms and is available from all good bookstores nationally.
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