Feature book: Wattle Creek
Damien McAllister is a third-generation farmer who, after staring down the barrel of his own gun, comes to the conclusion that his life has to change. Damien begins this journey of self-discovery feeling very alone and soon encounters barriers as he comes up against stereotypes and expectations that seem to be around almost every corner in his small country town, Wattle Creek.
Jacqueline Havelock is escaping from a mistake when she comes to Wattle Creek to work as a psychologist for twelve months. After working in the prison system, setting up a new practice in a small country town means a whole new set of challenges for her. Damien is one of her first patients and this begins a relationship.
Damien struggles when his GP suggests he has depression and prescribes Valium and suggests he see a psychologist. Damien has a couple of sessions with Jacqueline but then encounters opposition to this from his mother who doesn’t approve. Damien tries to focus on the farm but keeps seeing Jacqueline around town.
As Jacqueline makes friends with her neighbour, Ethel, who is also Damien’s aunt, her practice and her relationship with Damien begin to flourish in unexpected ways. When Damien comes to her rescue when her past mistake comes back to confront her with an early morning attack, it solidifies the beginnings of new life.
Further complications arrive in the guise of Jacqueline’s parents visiting, but slowly they work through things together. Yet depression comes in many forms and travels many paths. One scene will have you on edge as Damien contemplates an ending. However it is the symbolic ending of a bushfire that sets everyone’s lives onto new paths and some handle this better than others. Jacqueline and Damien are in for a number of surprises as they reach new understandings about themselves, their lives, their dreams and their priorities.
Depression is a serious issue everywhere and manifests in a number of ways. This book handles this issue well as it explores the condition, some of the consequences and treatments and also highlights some of the unique issues for rural people who are forced to deal with it. This is a love story with two great leading characters you will be cheering for throughout. The secondary characters are also well written; they will capture your attention and perhaps have you wishing them good luck too.
reviewed by Tracey T
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment will go in the draw to win the book. The giveaway closes on 1 August 2012. (The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Lyn.)