Despite finishing this book a week ago, I’m still not entirely convinced how I feel about it. I know for sure that this style of book is not really my cup of tea. It’s too dull for me. But I didn’t hate or dislike the book, I did dislike the main character, but that’s another thing all together. What this book did remind me of was Pride and Prejudice, which I was not a fan of (was it the studying it for English, or the book itself, or my age, who knows). This definitely had similarities with PP, but the ending was altogether different.It shames me a little that Franklin Miles is said by some to be Australia’s most revered female author, and yet I had never heard of her until recently. There’s even an award named after her.
Sybylla is a totally frustrating character, and there was SO much eyerolling at her. But in reality there are probably plenty of people just like her. She is so insecure and doubts even the most overt compliment or affection, because she thinks herself unworthy. And so she is so head strong and stubborn. But then has no idea what she actually wants, so her decisions are so contrary and ever changing.
The ending is probably a strong point for the novel. It does what you don’t expect it to – she doesn’t end up with the ‘man of her dreams’. Despite so many opportunities to do so, she refuses it, time and time again. And that little twist from what was so expected definitely improved things.
I always really appreciated the Australian setting and the insight into the life of those in late 19th century Australians. And the fact that this was a thinly veiled autobiography made things more interesting again.
So overall, I’m quite happy I’ve read it, and has sparked a little more interest in classic Australian novels. Definitely recommend it.