Book review: Kerenza: a New Australian
South Australian author Rosanne Hawke recently published another fast moving and interesting novel for children. Karenza – a New Australian is the story of a young girl growing up in Cornwall who is suddenly taken by her family in the early 1900s to a strange new land on the other side of the globe – South Australia. The family boards a steamship for Port Adelaide, and after a short sojourn in suburban Adelaide the family sets off out into the bush.
The Mallee region of the eastern parts of South Australia is at that time sparsely populated by new settlers. The Aboriginal people, however, have lived in this area for millennia, but for the Europeans it is strange, foreboding and harsh. Kerenza and her family take some time to adapt to being farmers the new environment, and living is difficult, challenging and often dangerous. How they cope, adopt new ways of living and grow to love this new country is the backbone of this new novel by one of our Australia’s foremost authors.
On a personal note I strongly identified with this story. In fact, I grew up within about 20 kilometres of where this story is set. My own grandparents were early settlers in this area, so I know it well. In fact, I have long had the desire to tell a fictional version of my own family’s story. They migrated from Silesia in Germany (now part of Poland) in the 1840s due to religious persecution, and came to the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Later, in the early 1900s, about the same time as the setting of Rosanne’s book, they moved to the Loxton area. Together with his sons, my nephew still works the family farm.
Hawke, Rosanne, Kerenza: a New Australian, 2015, Omnibus Books, Parkside, South Australia.
- Rosanne Hawke – the author’s website
- Marrying Ameera by Rosanne Hawke – my review of this book
- Through My Eyes: Shahana by Rosanne Hawke – my review of this book
- Taj and the Great Camel Trek by Rosanne Hawke – my review of the book
- Launch of Marrying Ameera by Rosanne Hawke – photos of the launch of this book