Review :: Trails in the Dust :: Joy Dettman

July 13, 2019

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Joy Dettman's new novel  - Trails in the Dust, which is the seventh novel in Dettman's Woody Creek series. The series has followed the story of Jenny Hooper and her family, and - as I understand it - most of the action happened in the previous 6 books and this book is kind of intended to give the characters a bit of closure.

Here's a bit of the blurb from the back of the book and Goodreads:

After many tumultuous years spent grappling with the past, Jenny Hooper might have expected her latter years to be the best of her life, and they are - until tragedy strikes. Left floundering in a house full of memories, not all of them good, Jenny knows a reckoning is in order.

I came into this book not having read any of the six previous books in the series, and I have to admit it took me a little while to figure out what was going on and who all the characters were. Jenny and her family have certainly lived very eventful and complex lives! There are a lot of connections between the different characters, lots of family secrets, and more than a few babies who had been secretly raised by someone other than their birth parents which made things a bit confusing at times! I had read that Trails in the Dust works as a standalone, and while that's true I think that it would have been a different (maybe easier?) reading experience if I had followed the story from the first book and had a better idea of the characters and what they had been through from the start.

Despite a few moments of confusion while I tried to sort out who was who, I found this really readable. I can imagine that if you had read the previous books this would feel like spending time with old friends. I think Dettman does a great job of writing authentic characters - however farfetched coincidence-driven the situations she puts them in. I found that I had become really fond of Jenny and some of the other characters by the end of the book, and I am actually quite keen now to go back and read from the start of the series.

In case it isn't clear, this book covers a lot of different issues (it pretty much summarises all of the events of the previous six books, after all), and some of them get pretty heavy - it has content that includes rape, domestic abuse, suicide, war, and miscarriage, among others. 

I think this is a great read for lovers of books Australian country town setting and family sagas, especially if you like a twist of soap-opera style drama in there too!

xo Bron

Trails in the Dust by Joy Dettman
Out now from Macmillan Australia

Source: Free copy sent by Macmillan Australia
Category: Australian contemporary (with a little historical) fiction, family saga, suspense/thriller
Format: Paperback

Pages: 361

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  1. Lovely review, Bron!
    I think if a book is a conclusion/wrap up to a series like this one is, then it should be marketed as the ending of a series. I'd be as confused as you if I read it, I think.
    It sounds awesome, though. I'll have to see if Mum is interested in it. 💜