When the township of Gundagai is devastated by raging floodwaters, two local Wiradjuri men, Yarri and Jacky Jacky, risk their lives to rescue a third of the town's residents in bark canoes on the treacherous Murrumbidgee River.
Among those saved are James and David Bradley, wealthy settlers. The Bradleys leave for Wagga Wagga, with James’s new bride, Louisa – and Yarri’s daughter, Wagadhaany, their Aboriginal servant, removing her from her beloved family and country. As a Quaker, Louisa’s mission is to help the Wiradjuri people, including Wagadhaany, and the two women develop an unorthodox friendship.
In Wagga Wagga, Wagadhaany meets Yindyamarra, a young Wiradjuri stockman working for the Bradleys, and they fall deeply in love. They dream of a better life, of children, and of going home, away from the degradation of being owned – and one day, with their young family, they set out on a journey along the river of their ancestors in search of lost family and country – one that will bring hope and heartache.
Set on timeless Wiradjuri country where the life-giving waters of the rivers can make or break dreams, and based on devastating true events, River of Dreams is an epic story of love, loss and belonging.
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 (May 1, 2021)
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