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When your world falls apart the only person you can depend on is your sister.
The three Chirnwell sisters are descended from the privileged squattocracy in Victoria’s Western District — but could a long-held secret threaten their family?
Harriett Chirnwell has a perfect life — a husband who loves her, a successful career and a daughter who is destined to become a doctor just like her.
Xara has always lived in Harriet’s shadow; her chaotic life with her family on their sheep farm falls far short of her older sister’s standards of perfection and prestige.
Georgie, the youngest sister and a passionate teacher, is the only one of the three to have left Billawarre. But is her life in Melbourne happy?
Despite all three sisters having a different and sometimes strained bond with their mother, Edwina, they come together to organise a party for her milestone birthday — the first since their father’s death. But when Edwina arrives at her party on the arm of another man, the tumult is like a dam finally breaking. Suddenly the lives of the Chirnwell sisters are flooded by scandal. Criminal accusations, a daughter in crisis, and a secret over fifty years in the making start to crack the perfect façade of the prominent pastoral family.
A thought provoking novel about family expectations, secrets and lies.
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In memory of Debbie who, on being told this book was to be published, replied with her characteristic response of "Sensational!"
Miss you, Deb. Rest in Peace.
Why I Wrote This Book
Books are often an amalgam of ideas and Daughter of Mine is no different. One idea for this multi-faceted book was sparked at a wedding. The bride and groom were in their early 70's. Both had been married before and had lost their partners to cancer. The wedding was a joyous time and a second chance at happiness for both. Their decision to marry however, wasn't without complications as they both had adult children and growing grandchildren. Each of the six children had a different opinion about the union as each have a different relationship with their parents. Although no one was publicly objecting, it got me thinking about how other families might react.
So I created a multigenerational family: a matriarch, her three adult daughters and their daughters and I gave them all their own set of issues, secrets and lies. Then I threw some serious life events at them and watched what happened.
Why did I set the book in the Western District of Victoria? It's a favourite place of mine. It is steeped in history and it has some magnificent houses that tell the story of privilege from money earned off the sheep's back more than a hundred years ago. I love old houses and gardens. Featuring two glorious Victorian homesteads in Daughter of Mine meant I could give free rein to my imagination and daydream about living in such houses.
Listen to Fiona talking about Daughter of Mine with Sarah McDonald on ABC Radio, Nightlife