Spotlight Sunday: Review ‘Three Summers’ by Judith Clarke. AWW2013.

I have made a decision to change Spotlight Saturday to Spotlight Sunday. Changing to Sunday gives me just that bit more time to read since I’m trying to read 2 books a week. I found I was rushing through some books just to get a review up, and that takes the pleasure out of reading. And Saturday is the only day of the week I work, so trying to squeeze in a review on that day is foolish really.
So, after all that, welcome to this week’s Spotlight Sunday, where I shine the light on an Australian book that I think deserves to be read. Today I am reviewing ‘Three Summers’ by Judith Clarke. This is the 7th book I have read for the Australian Women Writers 2013 challenge.


Synopsis from Goodreads:
The path of Ruth’s life was shaped in one fateful moment when, as a baby, she was tossed clear from a car wreck. Her grandmother raised her, with a fierce hope that she would one day go to university and see every marvellous place in the world.
When Ruth and her best friend Fee finish school, Fee chooses motherhood and marriage. Ruth knows that she must leave town, but that means leaving Tam Finn, the elusive yet entrancing boy so unlike any other she has ever met.
An extraordinary story of friendship, longing and the saving grace of love.

‘This story, which begins in rural Australia in 1959 but reaches into the past and the future, is written with Judith Clarke’s magnificent precision and lightness, that makes you feel for a moment when you have finished it that you have actually lived someone else’s life.’ Ursula Dubosarsky

My Thoughts:
4 out of 5 stars.

I found it really hard to rate this novel. I was torn between the brilliant mastery of it and how it made me feel. After reading this book it left me with such a weighted sadness, and I think this is because, as Ursula Dubosarsky says on the blurb, it left me feeling like I had actually lived someone else’s life.

This is the first book I have read by Judith Clarke, and to me it had an almost Catherine Cookson like quality to it. As a huge fan of Catherine Cookson that was a nice surprise.

This is a story about Ruth, but it’s more than just a story about Ruth, it is also a story about those around her, and also, I felt, a story about her small country town, Barinjii. It starts out in 1959 when Ruth is just 17 and about to start her life as an adult, and we travel with her all the way to her 60’s, sharing snippets of her life over three summers. The majority of the story is told in the first part, so those who like books with an historical setting will enjoy this.

Three Summers is a story of friendship, of family, and of first love, though this is in no way a highly romantic book. The moments between Tam and Ruth are quiet short, and there are only a few, but he weaves his way into her heart and never leaves.The characters were so vivid and lively that I could picture them clearly and hear there voices perfectly. Some you’ll love and some you hate, and some your heart will break for as they deal with abandonment, loneliness, disappointment and the harsher side of life.

It was a fairly quick read. I almost finished it in one day, but it was getting too late so I had to finish the last two chapters the next day. Once I started reading I was drawn into Ruth’s world and didn’t want to leave, compulsively turning every page. I am glad I read it but it did weigh heavily on me and in some parts I cried.
This is a book that should be read for the writing itself. Judith Clarke has a way with words, a poetic like quality that is both beautiful and outstanding.

If you like fiction that stays true to the reality of life then I highly recommend this to you.
You can add it to your Goodreads here

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