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In 1944 Emily Dean is dispatched from Melbourne to stay with relatives in rural Victoria. At the family property, Mount Prospect, she finds that Grandmother is determined to keep up standards despite the effects of the war, while Della, the bible-quoting cook, rules the kitchen with religious fervour. If only Emily’s young aunt – the beautiful, fearless Lydia – would besto In 1944 Emily Dean is dispatched from Melbourne to stay with relatives in rural Victoria. At the family property, Mount Prospect, she finds that Grandmother is determined to keep up standards despite the effects of the war, while Della, the bible-quoting cook, rules the kitchen with religious fervour. If only Emily’s young aunt – the beautiful, fearless Lydia – would bestow her friendship, but that seems destined never to occur. Emily can’t wait to go home. But things start to improve when she encounters Claudio, the Italian prisoner of war employed as a farm labourer. And become more interesting still when William, Lydia’s brother, unexpectedly returns from the war, wounded and bitter. He’s rude, traumatised, and mostly drunk, yet a passion for literature soon draws them together. Funny, wry and affecting, The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean is a charming coming-of-age novel about desire, deceit and self-discovery.


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In 1944 Emily Dean is dispatched from Melbourne to stay with relatives in rural Victoria. At the family property, Mount Prospect, she finds that Grandmother is determined to keep up standards despite the effects of the war, while Della, the bible-quoting cook, rules the kitchen with religious fervour. If only Emily’s young aunt – the beautiful, fearless Lydia – would besto In 1944 Emily Dean is dispatched from Melbourne to stay with relatives in rural Victoria. At the family property, Mount Prospect, she finds that Grandmother is determined to keep up standards despite the effects of the war, while Della, the bible-quoting cook, rules the kitchen with religious fervour. If only Emily’s young aunt – the beautiful, fearless Lydia – would bestow her friendship, but that seems destined never to occur. Emily can’t wait to go home. But things start to improve when she encounters Claudio, the Italian prisoner of war employed as a farm labourer. And become more interesting still when William, Lydia’s brother, unexpectedly returns from the war, wounded and bitter. He’s rude, traumatised, and mostly drunk, yet a passion for literature soon draws them together. Funny, wry and affecting, The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean is a charming coming-of-age novel about desire, deceit and self-discovery.

30 review for The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: Passengers moved along the platform, opening carriage doors and saying their goodbyes. Emily leaned out of the train window. She gave her father an especially pleading look. 'There are snakes and spiders, and I'm allergic to sheep. Please don't make me go.' She knew it was hopeless - the train was due to leave at any moment - but she had to make one last attempt. If nothing else, she wanted her father to feel guilty about bundling her off against her will. 'Don't be silly,' he replied, EXCERPT: Passengers moved along the platform, opening carriage doors and saying their goodbyes. Emily leaned out of the train window. She gave her father an especially pleading look. 'There are snakes and spiders, and I'm allergic to sheep. Please don't make me go.' She knew it was hopeless - the train was due to leave at any moment - but she had to make one last attempt. If nothing else, she wanted her father to feel guilty about bundling her off against her will. 'Don't be silly,' he replied, impervious to her tragic countenance. 'No-one is allergic to sheep. Fresh air, sunshine and the splendors of nature. You've always enjoyed it.' But that was on her last visit, ages ago. She'd been thirteen then, and knew no better. 'I can't go. Mummy needs me.' She wished she hadn't said 'Mummy' as it sounded immature, and now it was she who felt a twinge of guilt, knowing that it wasn't about helping her mother at all, but the thought of spending weeks with ancient relatives in the middle of nowhere. Further up the platform, the stationmaster blew his whistle. Carriage doors slammed shut as her father reached out and patted her arm. 'Send my love to your Grandmother and the others,' he said, ignoring her last words. 'Make yourself useful and don't be a burden. And don't forget to collect your suitcase when you arrive at the station. As soon as things are back to normal, I'll come for you.' But when would that be? ABOUT HIS BOOK: In 1944 Emily Dean is dispatched from Melbourne to stay with relatives in rural Victoria. At the family property, Mount Prospect, she finds that Grandmother is determined to keep up standards despite the effects of the war, while Della, the bible-quoting cook, rules the kitchen with religious fervour. If only Emily’s young aunt – the beautiful, fearless Lydia – would bestow her friendship, but that seems destined never to occur. Emily can’t wait to go home. But things start to improve when she encounters Claudio, the Italian prisoner of war employed as a farm labourer. And become more interesting still when William, Lydia’s brother, unexpectedly returns from the war, wounded and bitter. He’s rude, traumatised, and mostly drunk, yet a passion for literature soon draws them together. MY THOUGHTS: The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean is a delightfully funny, wry, and touching story of a girl transitioning to a young woman who is packed off from her home to relatives in the country after her mother, who appears to suffer from bi-polar disorder (or manic-depressive disorder as it used to be called), is admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a recuperative stay. She discovers great literature, and Fanny Hill. She learns about love, sensuality and desire, about hope and despair, and about the consequences of lying. Her uncle, invalided home from the war suffers from PTSD, and her Aunt Lydia who is engaged to a serving soldier, appears to be dispensing her favours elsewhere. This is a summer of discovery for Emily, about life and love, socially acceptable behaviour and impropriety, but most of all about herself. This is another sterling example of the wonderful fiction currently coming out of Australia. **** THE AUTHOR: Mira Robertson is an award winning screenwriter who has also published short fiction. Her feature film credits include the multi award winning films Only the Brave and Head On, co-written with director Ana Kokkinos. The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean is her first novel. She lives in Melbourne. DISCLOSURE: I listened to the audiobook of The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean, written by Mira Robertson, and narrated by Zoe Carides, published by Whole Story Audiobooks. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on Sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review and others are also published on Twitter, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    ‘Her face was crumpling as if she was about to cry, and it struck Emily for the first time that her grandmother had emotions in the same way that she herself did. How could she have imagined otherwise? And yet it was true that she’d never given it a thought. Grandmother was a pillar of strength who held everything together, the rock on whom they all depended. She was the one who enforced the rules and laid down the law, harrying them all to do better and not let standards slip. The idea that she ‘Her face was crumpling as if she was about to cry, and it struck Emily for the first time that her grandmother had emotions in the same way that she herself did. How could she have imagined otherwise? And yet it was true that she’d never given it a thought. Grandmother was a pillar of strength who held everything together, the rock on whom they all depended. She was the one who enforced the rules and laid down the law, harrying them all to do better and not let standards slip. The idea that she might feel sorrow, fear and uncertainty was so alarming that Emily felt light-headed and had to put a hand on the back of the nearest chair for support. She was not ready to accept what she’d seen. She did not want Grandmother to be a mere mortal.” The Unexpected Education of Emily Dean is the first novel by award-winning Australian screenwriter, teacher and author, Mira Robertson. Much to her dismay, fourteen-year-old Emily Dean has been sent to Mount Prospect, her grandmother’s property at Garnook until, her father says, things at home in East Malvern are back to normal. She would much rather be with her parents, even if her mother can be exasperating at times. Sybil probably has bipolar disorder, although no such diagnosis exists in 1944, so she is simply put into an asylum when her behaviour becomes too difficult for her husband, Presbyterian minister Reverend Dean, to handle. Now Emily will be stuck at Mount Prospect at least until school starts. She’ll be subject to the whims of the hateful “Cousin” Eunice, who finds her chores to do like dusting the billiards room or sweeping the ten verandahs or watering the hydrangeas because, as Della the cook says, Emily is at the bottom of the pecking order. Her young Aunt Lydia, a twenty-two-year-old who can wear even drab men’s clothing with stylish aplomb, and with whom she longs to have an intimate friendship, has her helping to set and clear the rabbit traps, nausea notwithstanding. It’s all a far cry from how a twenty-first century teen would spend her summer vacation: no personal phone, only the party line shared with two other properties, and then trunk calls restricted to urgent matters; “snail” mail just twice a week; entertainment consisting entirely of self-made activities like playing piano, listening to the radio, reading the classics, playing cards. But then there’s Claudio, the handsome Italian POW, with whom Emily finds herself spending time after he has expressed a desire to learn English. And her Uncle William’s writing retreat, filled with enticing books to read. She describes all this in an ongoing, unsent letter to Dorothy, a girl from school into whose clique she has never been welcomed, making her exile sound exciting and romantic. Robertson easily conveys wartime country Victoria in this charming coming-of-age tale. Her version of the teen on the cusp of development is well rendered: Emily is young and therefore naïve and prone, at times, to misconstrue the words and acts of the adults around her. The supporting characters are also appealing and more than one-dimensional: their dialogue is credible and provides humour. And finally, Emily gains some understanding: “At the heart of her rambling train of thought was the dawning recognition that, so far in her life, she had accepted a great deal as truth that might, in reality, be simply prejudice.” Robertson’s descriptive prose is quite marvellous: “’He is not poor William,’ she said in a voice vibrating with suppressed emotion, giving Alma a look of such ferocious intensity that Emily felt it zap past like an arrow on its way to the bulls-eye” and “… a pair of boots, the heels worn down and tongues hanging out as if exhausted” are examples. Also “Entering the churchyard, she was still thinking about the Italians. How different they were from Australian men, who spoke in monosyllables, squeezing out stingy words between lips that scarcely moved. Nor did Australian men move their hands in that excitable manner, instead letting them hang limply on the ends of their arms like small dead animals, or else stuffed into the pockets of their trousers and visible only in lumpy outline.” This is an outstanding debut novel, contained in a gorgeous evocative cover designed by Jo Thomson, and it will be interesting to see what this talented author does next.

  3. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Trigger warnings: racial slurs, animal death, fatphobia. I sped through this book, and there were definitely things about it that I enjoyed. But at the same time, this was SO riddled with slurs and that I honestly considered DNFing it half a dozen times in the first fifty pages. Sure, it may be accurate to the time period to have the characters using offensive terms for minority groups left, right and centre. The same goes for the endless judgement of fat characters. But putting that stuff into a Trigger warnings: racial slurs, animal death, fatphobia. I sped through this book, and there were definitely things about it that I enjoyed. But at the same time, this was SO riddled with slurs and that I honestly considered DNFing it half a dozen times in the first fifty pages. Sure, it may be accurate to the time period to have the characters using offensive terms for minority groups left, right and centre. The same goes for the endless judgement of fat characters. But putting that stuff into a young adult book in 2018? Yeah, no. That's not necessary. Especially when none of the characters ever challenge the use of that language. Anyway, all of that aside, this was...fine? There are things discussed in the blurb that happen like two-thirds of the way through the book, so pacing was definitely a little wonky. And the F/F subplot also felt very rushed, so really I think a big part of my problem here is that the book was just too short to do everything it was trying to do in the detail that it demanded. That being said, as a coming of age story? This was pretty decent. (If anyone is worried about the apparently very sensuous content referred to by other reviewers, it's because Emily masturbates like twice. Big freaking deal.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Growing up in Melbourne, Australian fiction has never overly interested me. I usually feel like every Australian novel is happening in my backyard and it often bores me. So this book was not something I expected to like. And I didn’t like it.. I absolutely loved it. It was a beautiful story set in Melbourne during the second world war. All the characters were captivating and realistic. I honestly could not put it down. I definitely recommend this book and would definitely read more of Mira Roberts Growing up in Melbourne, Australian fiction has never overly interested me. I usually feel like every Australian novel is happening in my backyard and it often bores me. So this book was not something I expected to like. And I didn’t like it.. I absolutely loved it. It was a beautiful story set in Melbourne during the second world war. All the characters were captivating and realistic. I honestly could not put it down. I definitely recommend this book and would definitely read more of Mira Robertson’s novels!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

    The strength of this novel is in the evoking of transition - the perception of a naive 14 year old, seemingly pushed off to relatives for the school holidays during WWII, shifting as she must engage with Internees, damaged returned soldiers, awakening sexuality and same-sex love as well as facing the reality of her mother’s mental illness.. Emily is grumpy and self-obsessed but her fundamental sense of fairness reigns in excesses. It is a powerful creation of adolescent certainty and doubt, reck The strength of this novel is in the evoking of transition - the perception of a naive 14 year old, seemingly pushed off to relatives for the school holidays during WWII, shifting as she must engage with Internees, damaged returned soldiers, awakening sexuality and same-sex love as well as facing the reality of her mother’s mental illness.. Emily is grumpy and self-obsessed but her fundamental sense of fairness reigns in excesses. It is a powerful creation of adolescent certainty and doubt, recklessness and paralysis in a world where long-accepted social patterns are proving inadequate in the face of individual human tragedy and empathy. We follow Emily’s shift from a world of stereotypes to a recognition of complexity, nuance and, most of all, recognition. It may seem that rather too many of the issues of the day are evident on one rural property - but there would have been many families dealing with such reality. This is a convincing, unflinching and compassionate narrative.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jodell

    When I grow up I wont wear gingham dresses any more or sent away shamed or ignored It wont matter my mom's gone mad, Ill take care of her, I always have I will say what I really want to say and never harm animals in any way I will never have to do without or be sent to live with strangers who don't care what I know or what I think about I will feel the feelings that I need. I will read all the classics before I die So I must read every night it is my savior it is my plight for one day I will grow up an When I grow up I wont wear gingham dresses any more or sent away shamed or ignored It wont matter my mom's gone mad, Ill take care of her, I always have I will say what I really want to say and never harm animals in any way I will never have to do without or be sent to live with strangers who don't care what I know or what I think about I will feel the feelings that I need. I will read all the classics before I die So I must read every night it is my savior it is my plight for one day I will grow up and write I will understand what others don't that even the young will grow old. I hope William will get better one day and that the Prisoner of War will know that kiss was my first and it was he that made me brave on that bright sunny day jodell2020

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    Good Aussie tale full of all the usuals

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Moseley

    Good enough, Year 12 language, and style, except for the VERY sensuous discoveries towards the end. Suppose that's fair as part of her 'coming of age'.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John

    I don't often read novels, but decided to break out of my comfort zone for one set in World War II Australia. In that regard, it worked out well, as the setting and characters were the strong part of the novel, the plot not so much for me. My faithful followers know that I hate rehashing plots, so I'm going to keep that to a minimum here as much as possible. We get an insight into Emily's father and mother at the beginning, before she is sent away to live with her father's family in the outback w I don't often read novels, but decided to break out of my comfort zone for one set in World War II Australia. In that regard, it worked out well, as the setting and characters were the strong part of the novel, the plot not so much for me. My faithful followers know that I hate rehashing plots, so I'm going to keep that to a minimum here as much as possible. We get an insight into Emily's father and mother at the beginning, before she is sent away to live with her father's family in the outback while her mother is in (a mental) hospital. One thing that threw me a bit at first was the idea of Australian servants; not so much that they had them at the farm, but that Emily at times was class-conscious enough to realize is that she was their social superior, much as she palled around with them a lot. After thinking about it, I've decided that this book is possibly too short? Or possibly that it should serve as the first in a series of family saga episodes? Emily's aunt and uncle are worth following up on, but the latter does not appear as a character until much later in the story, while the former is present all along, there is a bit of a plot twist on her part near the end. One point that isn't handled all that well as far as I'm concerned, or that I'm just not good with subtlety, has to do with same-sex attraction. I just didn't understand Emily's feelings on the subject when it was presented. So, would I recommend it? Yes, overall I would, but it's a matter of watching a fuse sputter along for several hours with a resultant bang. How much it's worth the wait will vary. Some folks will find it a really well-presented vignette in a young girl's life, while others will feel that everything is all of a sudden wrapped up too quickly and neatly. Audio narration is fine.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heather Boundy

    It's hard not to see a comparison between this story and The Go-Between, in that a child on the cusp of adolescence is placed in a situation where she is sworn to secrecy over events which she has no real understanding of coming to wrong and awkward conclusions. The portrayal of the dilemmas faced by Emily, as she is whisked away to live with her grandmother and aunt at their country property during the Second World War, is deftly written. Add for good measure and attractive Italian prisoner-of- It's hard not to see a comparison between this story and The Go-Between, in that a child on the cusp of adolescence is placed in a situation where she is sworn to secrecy over events which she has no real understanding of coming to wrong and awkward conclusions. The portrayal of the dilemmas faced by Emily, as she is whisked away to live with her grandmother and aunt at their country property during the Second World War, is deftly written. Add for good measure and attractive Italian prisoner-of-war, a damaged returned soldier, a mentally unstable mother, and a crazy Uncle and you have the elements of a good yarn. A promising first book from Robertson, if a little reductive.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    My favourite era of books to read, World War Two, but in a refreshing setting; this time set in country Australia. A really easy to read, coming of age story about how Emily begins to understand the nuances of life and relationships in wartime.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    A quick read. Enjoyable. A good three stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kvstaker

    A charming coming of age story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily W

    This one took me a little while to get through, although I did think it was interesting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Library_geek

    Review can also be found at https://littlebigreads.com/the-unexpe... As I got closer to the end of the book I began question what big thing was going to happen in this story. As I continued to read I realised that this book wasn’t about a big thing but rather a compilation of changes, acceptance, growth, and an unexpected education about life that saw Emily Dean learn about herself and the world around her. I think there is something quite wonderful reading about a different time within your own c Review can also be found at https://littlebigreads.com/the-unexpe... As I got closer to the end of the book I began question what big thing was going to happen in this story. As I continued to read I realised that this book wasn’t about a big thing but rather a compilation of changes, acceptance, growth, and an unexpected education about life that saw Emily Dean learn about herself and the world around her. I think there is something quite wonderful reading about a different time within your own country and this book certainly hit the mark with their descriptions of Australian life in 1944. There were elements of surprise throughout the book, including the fearless Lydia whose courage saw her do something that I certainly didn’t foresee, and the power of literature that brings together uncle and niece and mends the angriest, war torn heart. The book begins by giving us a glimpse of Emily Dean’s father with whisperings about her mother, while she reluctantly travels to her Grandmother’s farm. The reluctant Emily has little choice but to go because of her mothers illness, and try as she might to fit in Emily struggles to find her place until she finds a sanctuary where she is surrounded by books and a room where she can express herself freely. I thought all the characters had their place in the story, but I didn’t feel like I knew them fully until the end of the book. This whole book, including each individual character is about growth. Everyone initially seemed lost in time and routine, their days filled with sameness, personality’s stagnant. Regardless of this everyone was fascinating in their own way, except Eunice. Eunice does not appealing to me at all and at times I felt irritated by her, but when we see a small glimpse of understanding from her towards a need of Emily’s, I felt a momentary respect for her and pleased that she was looking out for Emily even if it wasn’t obvious. While the blurb makes it sound like Claudio the Italian prisoner of war has the biggest impact on Emily Dean, I believe that it is William who helps her become stronger and helps her find her voice. The challenges that he needed to learn to accept not only pushed him to the brink but was confronting for Emily. This shaped her, and so did the need of acceptance and friendship with her aunt Lydia. I felt that it made Emily seem like she required that relationship to be the person she wanted to be, however, by the end of the book I felt that it was Lydia that needed Emily, who had found her voice without being what she thought her aunt would expect her to be, and to be accepted. Overall, I think we have a lot to learn from Emily dean and this is why I recommend it. I feel the book encourages young women to be themselves, to find their voices, that it is ok to be influenced by others, but ultimately be true to yourself first and not what you think others want you to be.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John Alford

    This book imagines a great story, weaving together several rites of passage without them seeming forced, against the backdrop of Victoria’s Western District wheat country during World War 2. Central to this is Emily, a young woman discovering and sometimes stumbling across new experiences and understandings, and in particular becoming aware of her own sexuality, which the book draws with feeling. Her ‘rite’, prompted by being sent to live in the country with relatives while her mother is in a ps This book imagines a great story, weaving together several rites of passage without them seeming forced, against the backdrop of Victoria’s Western District wheat country during World War 2. Central to this is Emily, a young woman discovering and sometimes stumbling across new experiences and understandings, and in particular becoming aware of her own sexuality, which the book draws with feeling. Her ‘rite’, prompted by being sent to live in the country with relatives while her mother is in a psychiatric institution, intersects with some of the others’ in the narrative. There is her uncle William, badly wounded in the war, feeling bitter about his prospects, who turns up unannounced at the family’s homestead despite having been estranged from them. There is Lydia, Emily’s (young) aunt, who presents a sophisticated if slightly cynical front. Then there is Claudio, a potentially implausible character (Italian POW, interned farm-hand, and communist) whom Robertson nevertheless manages to scaffold with believability. When these people’s trajectories all collide, the story ramps up into a building climax, with great impact on the hitherto somewhat naïve Emily. All of this occurs in an evocatively drawn cultural background, based on the several generations of families which owned and ran the substantial farming properties dominating the local community, and cemented by large rituals such as the Sunday church service and family roast, all overseen by the larger than life family matriarch. When Emily strikes up a slightly gruff friendship with William, her horizon expands. At the same time, she finds herself giving English lessons to a charming Claudio, and the stage is set for some intricate emotional twists and turns. Robertson has therefore conjured up a story of a slice of Australia, which engages our attention as an audience. But it is also a testament to the writer’s craft. This is an extremely well designed and executed work, with thoughtful touches along the way. And overlying all this is a genuinely funny sense of humour. Take the facility with which she unobtrusively lets us know of critical contextual features, without side-swiping the overall story, as in when Emily hugs her father as he puts her on the train and catches ‘a glint of his clerical collar’, from which we immediately learn something that will be important later in the story. Or what about Emily’s infatuation with Lydia, which emerges over time but provides a counterpoint to other emerging infatuations? These and other important parts of the tale are constructed to have the reader eagerly looking to find out what happens next. Mira Robertson has taught us all a lot with this novel. I’ve no doubt that she can offer us a lot more in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alistair

    It is 1944, and Emily is sent by her mother and father to spend the summer with relatives in the country. Appalled by what she sees as her father's betrayal, she is exiled not because of the War but because of her mother's mental instability. Determined not to fit in and intent on staying distant and miserable (one of the causes of her misery is that she's been sent away with a copy of Middlemarch rather than the preferred Jane Eyre; one can sympathize!) However as the summer progresses she is c It is 1944, and Emily is sent by her mother and father to spend the summer with relatives in the country. Appalled by what she sees as her father's betrayal, she is exiled not because of the War but because of her mother's mental instability. Determined not to fit in and intent on staying distant and miserable (one of the causes of her misery is that she's been sent away with a copy of Middlemarch rather than the preferred Jane Eyre; one can sympathize!) However as the summer progresses she is caught up in the domestic dramas of country life; imperious Grandmother, her beautiful yet elusive aunt Lydia, and the absent Uncle William injured in New Guinea, now recuperating in Brisbane. Emily's early adolescence is captive to changes to her body and her inquiring mind. And both are stimulated by Claudio, the Italian POW working on the farm, and the sudden arrival of a legless William. This is a quick and enjoyable read that could also be recommended to teenage readers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Josie Laird

    There was a lot to like about this story of fourteen-year-old Emily, sent to spend some time with family in the country. There's mystery surrounding most of the characters. A slow unveiling of awareness. However, I found that Emily was too young for her age most of the time. Why doesn't she have schoolfriends? And the eventual denouement doesn't raise enough interest amongst the other characters, or for Emily either. The main characters were well-developed as quirky individuals, and Emily's emoti There was a lot to like about this story of fourteen-year-old Emily, sent to spend some time with family in the country. There's mystery surrounding most of the characters. A slow unveiling of awareness. However, I found that Emily was too young for her age most of the time. Why doesn't she have schoolfriends? And the eventual denouement doesn't raise enough interest amongst the other characters, or for Emily either. The main characters were well-developed as quirky individuals, and Emily's emotions are well portrayed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Talia Carbis

    An enjoyable and surprising read. I enjoyed reading Emily's experiences and the happenings out bush. The book touched on some heavier subjects relevant to the time the book was set (and even now), but was in general a light read. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to delve into a different life for a brief time and remember the funny and embarrassing mind of a teenage girl.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Morel

    I don't know what I was expecting but this was was pretty good. Emily was annoying in the way 14 year olds are, with naivety and self importance but I quite enjoyed her. I wish we'd had more background re the other characters but that was because Emily was our narrator. Predictable and unchallenging but still fun. 3.5

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anna Davidson

    4.5* Absolutely divine! I loved Emily Dean and her naive adventures! If you love Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels, you’ll enjoy this immensely.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emma Balkin

    Given that the book had such a beautiful title, I had high expectations for this book. Overall, I found the pace of the novel to be a bit slow; perhaps this was done to evoke The boredom felt by the protagonist, Emily. I liked the fact that this story depicted the home front in Australia, without being too maudlin. I also found it interesting to read a coming of age story about an Australian girl. A book with alliteration in the title. A book you borrowed. A book that’s published in 2018. A book Given that the book had such a beautiful title, I had high expectations for this book. Overall, I found the pace of the novel to be a bit slow; perhaps this was done to evoke The boredom felt by the protagonist, Emily. I liked the fact that this story depicted the home front in Australia, without being too maudlin. I also found it interesting to read a coming of age story about an Australian girl. A book with alliteration in the title. A book you borrowed. A book that’s published in 2018. A book that involves a bookstore or library.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sadie-jane (Say-dee-Jane) Nunis

    Interesting.. midway this book took a twist i didn't expect. I'm also surprised that for the era... the people would be that open to lgbtq Hmm... unless my drowsy brain missed something...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily Cracknell

    This book was ok, loved the description of the property in rural Victoria. Ending was a bit of a disappointment

  25. 4 out of 5

    Myfanwy

    This book felt interminable. So relieved it is done

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I really enjoyed Mira Robertson's writing style but the summary gives away too much of the story. Plus some scenes between Emily and William made me uncomfortable - he is her uncle after all.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stef

    Shades of Adrian Mole...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  30. 5 out of 5

    Francesca

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