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New Release Book Review: The Red Coast by Di Morrissey

Title: The Red Coast

Author:  Di Morrissey

Published: October 31st 2017

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 384

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Australian

RRP: $34.99

Rating: 4 stars

A NEW STORY IN AN ANCIENT LANDSCAPE FROM AUSTRALIA’S FAVOURITE STORYTELLER.

In The Red Coast , Di Morrissey returns to the red earth of the Kimberley with a passionate story of resistance and resilience under its soaring blue skies.

After the upheaval which separated Jacqui Bouchard from her beloved son, she has finally settled in Broome, a magical remote town on the northwest coast of Australia.

But when a proposed mining development is unveiled, the town begins to tear itself apart. Rifts run deep, as friends, families and lovers are faced with a battle that could change their lives irrevocably.

As everyone takes sides, Jacqui confronts her own dilemma: to stay or leave? Who to trust . . . Who to love?

My review:

Australia’s favourite storyteller, Di Morrissey, returns with a new release, The Red Coast. In her latest novel, Morrissey revisits the site of one her most famous novels and my own personal favourite book from her expansive collection, Tears of the Moon, as The Red Coast is set in Broome again. This time around Morrissey explores one woman and the passionate community around her, who rally together to resist a large-scale mining development proposing to encroach on the ancient red coast landscape of beautiful Broome.

Jacqui Bouchard has settled into life in Broome, after a tumultuous separation from her French ex husband and his meddling family. When she buys the town’s bookshop she finally feels as if Broome is the place where she must lay her roots. Despite missing her fourteen year old son terribly while he continues to live with his father in France, Jacqui looks forward to the day when her son can visit her treasured new home. Trouble brews on the horizon for Jacqui and the residents of the sleepy tourist town, when a corporate mining company releases plans to build a mine site at the very heart of the town. Fearing what this could do to the traditional land owners, community, environment, tourism and lucrative pearling industry, Jacqui along with many residents from the Broome, rally together in an effort to thwart these destructive plans to their pristine red coast. However, it is a fight that divides the town, as friends and loved ones are pitted against one another. On a personal note, Jacqui’s fight to save her beloved Broome from the hands of the mining sharks, challenges her ability to trust and love again. The Red Coast is a powerful Australian yarn that demonstrates the willpower of the Australian people to preserve the integrity of our ancient lands.

I was beyond pleased when I received The Red Coast to review, as I am a long standing fan of Di Morrissey’s work. I always look forward to the end of the year when Morrissey tends to release her latest novel. It pleased me even further when I discovered The Red Coast returns to Broome, the location of my favourite novel of Di’s collection, Tears of the Moon. Fans of Morrissey’s work will be happy to discover that there are a few loose references to two of Di’s most popular past novels, Tears of the Moon and Kimberley Sun. I will point out that although there are some crosses and overlapping characters to these two backlist novels, it is not a requirement to read them in order to enjoy The Red Coast. The Red Coast is a novel that easily stands on its own two feet.

I can assure you, based on Morrissey’s beautiful descriptive prose, which brings out the very best feature wise of Broome and the Kimberley coast, The Red Coast is a joy to read. Morrissey’s ability to convey a sense of place to her readership is undeniable. It is clear through Morrissey’s descriptions of the book’s locale that she knows this area well and is passionate about this remote region of Australia. She mentions some areas in this novel that I am aware of but also highlights some hidden sites in the vicinity, which was enlightening. In some ways, the picturesque and vivid descriptions of the Kimberley coast, at the capable hands of Di Morrissey, could almost be viewed as the perfect tourist postcard for the region. For me, it cemented my wishes to one day visit this isolated and rich landscape of my home state.

Morrissey’s latest novel does not shy away from a number of issues that are both contemporary and relevant to Australia today. In The Red Coast, Morrissey explores and highlights the pitfalls of large mining companies moving into a tourist mecca, such as Broome. In The Red Coast’s case, Morrissey’s narrative explores such problems as indigenous land rights, the protection of ancient sites, potential environmental and coastal damage, loss of community due to the influx of mine workers, impacts on the local tourist economy and the posible devestation to the pearling industry. It is a fight that one bookshop owner cannot do alone, as we witness in the unfolding story of The Red Coast. Jacqui receives support from local journalists, media representatives, traditional land owners, business heads and passionate members from the local community , in the fight to save Broome. In the same breath, Morrissey’s novel highlights how, in the fight to stop the mining company from basing itself in this pristine location, the battle has the power to tear families, friendships and previous alliances apart. It does make for some gut wrenching reading. However, on a positive note,  Morrissey’s novel shows us that it is possible to incite change but often it takes many hands to join together to make the impossible achievable.

As much as this is a stunning portrait of Broome and the Kimberley Coast, The Red Coast is also about the main protagonist, Jacqui Bouchard’s personal growth journey. The events that occur in the novel work to shape Jacqui’s character, as she must move out of her comfort zone and learn who to both trust and love. In addition, Jacqui is faced with a dilemma as she must consider how far she is willing to go to support a cause she believes in, even if it threatens her life. By the end of the novel, we get a wonderful sense of just how far Jacqui has come, despite a sad setback. It is a character journey that I followed closely and thoroughly enjoyed.

The Red Coast is another example of the talent of author extraordinaire Di Morrissey. Morrissey’s work never fails to entertain and educate me in the same breath. The Red Coast is incredibly passionate story that wakes us up to the plight and power of the operations of mining companies in Australia. It is most of all, a wonderful tribute to Broome and the surrounding Kimberley coast.

The Red Coast by Di Morrissey was published on October 30th 2017 by Pan Macmillan. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Red Coast, Di Morrissey, visit here.

*I wish to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

 

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