Skip to Main Content

Finalist in the Queenland Literary Awards 2017

Longlisted in the Dublin Literary Awards 2017

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?

Praise for Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms

'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

‘With deftness and a lightness of touch … Heiss's strengths as a writer are on full display.’ The Conversation

(c) Kate Bryan, Ruby Olive

Dr Anita Heiss is an award-winning author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, children’s novels and blogs. She is a proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation of central New South Wales, an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, the GO Foundation and Worawa Aboriginal College. Anita is a board member of University of Queensland Press and Circa Contemporary Circus, and is a Professor of Communications at the University of Queensland. As artist in residence at La Boite Theatre in 2020, Anita began adapting her novel Tiddas (S&S, 2014) for the stage. Her novel Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms (S&S 2016) set in Cowra during World War II, was the 2020 University of Canberra Book of the Year. Anita enjoys eating chocolate, running and being a 'creative disruptor'.

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (August 1, 2017)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781925184853

More books from this author: Anita Heiss