Thursday 6 September 2018

Book Review - Call of the Wattlebird by Victoria Carnell

by Jeanette O'Hagan @JeanetteOHagan

The Book

Duty’s demand or heart’s call?

In nineteenth century Tasmania, Catherine Nicolson enjoyed the privileged lifestyle on the grand estate of Willowbank, and inspired by her grandmother Kate, she possesses a deep-rooted compassion for those less fortunate.

When her idyllic life is shattered by unexpected tragedy, Catherine’s circumstance becomes difficult and precarious, and she wishes to escape it's drudgery and danger. She is torn between two choices. Should she follow her heart and risk her place in society? Or should she marry well, pleasing her family and securing the means to fulfil her life-long desire to help the ‘Ordinary Folk’?

Will Catherine pursue intimacy or seize convenience? What path will she choose? Where will her faith and choices lead her?

Published: October 2017
Available at Amazon (ebook & print) or from the author.

The Author

Though a late-comer to the field of writing, Victoria Carnell's formative years were influenced by her mother, an avid reader, and by her father who indulged his passion: the philosophy of language. As an adult, serving in Christian ministry in Wesleyan Churches in Australia, alongside her husband, and being employed in the spheres of management and education in the wider community has afforded many valuable experiences. Her children, their partners and her grandchildren delight her life. Due to the many opportunities to interact with people from all walks of life, She have garnered an abundance of subject material to inform her writing. Since She approaches life from the perspective of a Christian worldview, her aim is to encourage her readers to develop a relationship with the Redeemer, by identifying with her characters, as they wrestle with the issues of life and faith.  Find out more on her website.

My Thoughts

Catherine Nichols is a delightful heroine who throws herself into life and has much to learn. Initially, her biggest concern is her annoying younger brother but tragedy shatters the safety of her world and she finds herself searching for a meaningful future. Should she submit to societal expectations or follow a larger vision of the meaning of life and her heart.

Call of the Wattlebird is set in late nineteenth century Tasmania and the setting with its wealth of historical detail is a definite strength of this book. In particular, I liked how Victoria Carnell explored the different strata of society from the landowners to the those far less fortune. In many ways a coming of age story with a Anne of Green Gables vibe, Call of the Wattlebird also includes a faith element and romance, with Catherine having to decide between the family's choice of a moneyed suitor or following her heart.

While not a fast-paced novel, I found it a charming and enriching read and look forward to the sequel.

Disclosure: I designed the cover for the Call of the Wattlebird and helped in the formatting and publishing, but was otherwise not involved.


Jeanette started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of eight or nine. She enjoys writing secondary world fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. Her Nardvan stories span continents, time and cultures. They involve a mixture of courtly intrigue, adventure, romance and/or shapeshifters and magic users. She has published numerous short stories, poems, two novellas and her debut novel, Akrad's Children and new release Ruhanna's Flight and other stories.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and a Master of Arts (Writing). She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends, pondering the meaning of life. She lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

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  1. Good review Jenny - love the cover! And if it’s got an Anne vibe, well, I might need to check this out!

  2. As soon as I saw the title, I thought it must be a good Australian setting, which are well worth tracking down. Thanks Jenny, I might check this one out too.

  3. Very happy to read your review Jenny and have learned so much from your own expertise, the suggested resources, and through the pleasure and process of writing. Thank you for your support.


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