I do not tend to re-read books. When I do it's always a lovely experience and I'm glad I did it. Thus, after a conversation with a friend, Julie, during Covid Summer 2020, she volunteered to lend her re-read copy of The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough.
I cracked it open over Christmas and was transported once again to Australia in 1915. Meggie Cleary, a stunningly beautiful four year old, enters my life, along with the whole Cleary clan. And of course, Father Ralph de Bricassart, a golden god on earth. His patron, Mary Carson - rich and cunning - the matron of Drogheda - the land, the home, the sheep - all a character itself.
This sprawling novel covers 1915 to 1969 - love, death, fights, family quarrels, jealousy, rage, every emotion possible. The writing has you sweating in the Outback heat, fighting to survive in the dreadful runaway fires, and then drowning in the drenching rains. Australia is a land of extremes. The Cleary's are a clan of extremes. Together, The Thorn Birds is a winningly powerful heart wrenching soap opera of a book in a grand way.
I loved it again, had forgotten so much, and was sad to read the last paragraph. This book gave me memories of my mother - she and I raced to read it on loan from the library. "Did you get to the part where....?" "Oh my goodness, can you believe...?" We both loved the book and then the mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain (be still my heart back in the day) and Rachel Ward.
You can read a book with fresh eyes and enjoy a cherished friend.