All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Morgan’s Law – Karly Lane

on May 28, 2012

Morgan’s Law
Karly Lane
Allen & Unwin AU
2012, 318p
Read from my local library

Sarah Murphy has returned to Australia in order to fulfill the wishes of her late and beloved grandmother, who wishes her ashes to be scattered under the ‘Wishing tree’ in a tiny town called Negallan, along the Negallan River. So Sarah flies back to Sydney from London, hires a car and sets out driving up to Negallen.

Upon arriving into town, it becomes obvious that this isn’t going to be quite as easy as she had first assumed. Her visions of driving into town, finding the tree and scattering the ashes and then turning around and driving out of town are dashed when she realises that no one in the town has any knowledge of her grandmother and the location of the mysterious wishing tree isn’t easily discovered either.

Sarah takes a room at the local pub and strikes up a friendship with Tash, the publican. Despite the fact that her inquiries don’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment, Sarah finds herself slowly relaxing in the small town, away from the pressures and stress of London and her high-profile job. She enjoys good food and the small-town atmosphere as she tries to find out some information about her grandmother. It turns out that someone does recognise her but Sarah is surprised to find that after all these years, her grandmother seems to have been hiding some very important secrets. Determined now to get to the bottom of everything, despite the warnings of the handsome local farmer to leave some things be, she sets out to solve the mystery so she can finally lay her grandmother to rest.

Morgan’s Law is another recent ‘rural lit’ release and, as I discovered, was the perfect read for a chilly winter’s night snuggled under a blanket. Sarah Murphy is an Australian who has been living in London for the past 10 years working her way up the chain in advertising. She’s got the minimalist apartment, the aversion to meat and carbs and a high powered career that has her thriving in the overseas city. Called back to Australia after the death of her grandmother and charged with carrying out her last wishes, Sarah finds out that some of the simplest pleasures have been totally passing her by. Negallen is a quiet farming town that is slowly dying since the closure of the cotton gin some years ago. It became too expensive to freight the cotton further for cleaning/sorting/etc so some farmers sold up and left. Some changed to grain or cattle. And some chose other ways out.

Morgan’s Law might be a story of friendship, farming and family but it also embraces a serious issue and one that rural Australian communities face – suicide. In the novel a character’s brother commits suicide after running into financial difficulty and there is frustration expressed at trying to get these country, proud men to doctors or counsellors for support when life on the land does become tough and depressing. The crippling droughts our country experiences, often broken by flooding rains that ruin crops leads to many farmers experiencing such phenomenal debt and a feeling of failure that some of them do feel that sometimes, that can be their only way out. There’s an emphasis in this novel on the need for better government and social support, somewhere that people can go for help without feeling uncomfortable.

This novel had so many threads that wove together to create this story and each of them were highly enjoyable. Sarah’s quest to find the truth about her grandmother and what she had to do with the powerful local Morgan family, as well as her blossoming romance with local farmer Adam, the fact that Negallan is dying as a town and that something needs to be done by the residents in order to resurrect that. I think that part of the story might’ve been one of my favourites, because of the idea of the community saving itself. I really enjoyed reading about how the idea itself came about and the local who took it and ran with it, working tirelessly to try and save the town despite some very vocal opposition from some of the residents. I also enjoyed the scene with the frog (which those who have read will recognise but that I won’t spoil for those who have not), it made me laugh so hard because I could picture myself and my reaction in a similar situation. It was one of the nice touches of added humour that really helped flesh out this book and its characters.

If you’re looking for one of those warm, comforting reads but that also addresses serious and genuine issues, then I can highly recommend this book. There’s romance and friendship, adversity and hardship but also success and a community coming together to really try and prevent the downward slide that so many rural areas seem to be facing these days. Such an enjoyable book – I think I raced through it in about two hours!

Morgan’s Law is, I think, the second book Karly has written under this name – she also writes romances under the name of  Karlene Blakemore-Mowle. I have her first novel as Karly Lane, North Star on my Kindle to read and I am saving that for when I go away in July for 2wks as I’ll only be taking my Kindle and absolutely no print books and I’m definitely looking forward to the day when I can read it!


Book #93 of 2012

Morgan’s Law is the 34th novel read and reviewed for the Australian Women Writers Challenge

10 responses to “Morgan’s Law – Karly Lane

  1. Lovely review Bree, I really enjoy Karly’s writing style. You will love North Star too, although it probably has a more serious feel to it than Morgan’s Law which is a little more light-hearted i felt.

    LOL i probably wouldn’t react that way with a frog… but if there was a mouse- then i’d be jumping around like a lunatic as well lol

    • Oh god yes, same! I’m not frightened of frogs, in fact I quite like them but we had a mouse plague in VIC recently and we’ve had a few in the house. My GOD I hate them! Little scuttly noises! And I’m not fond of spiders or cockroaches either but thankfully down here we seem to get very few spiders and no cockroaches whatsoever!

      I’m so looking forward to North Star but I am making myself wait. Need to know I have a few good books saved up on the Kindle whilst I’m away. I guess you’ll be the same, heaving overseas soon?

      • Oh, yes I think its the cold weather that’s brought them out Bree, we’ve got a couple in our roof that freak me out at night, but luckily they haven’t found a way inside yet. My partner is probably more of a chicken about them than me tho LOL

        Yes, I’ve been stocking up my kindle with some goodies from Netgalley- Helene Young, Kirsty Eager- for my trip! It’s the best way to take a whole heap of great books without weighing down your luggage 🙂 Where are you off to in July? Somewhere hot I hope!

        • Not hot exactly, but certainly warmer than where I live! I’m taking my two sons to visit my parents and extended family on the mid north coast of NSW where I grew up. I figure I’ll be packing enough stuff for kids, I can’t afford to be taking actual books as well! I have the latest Helene Young as well that I’ve been hoarding for this trip too!

  2. I enjoyed this book also and reviewed it on my blog. I ws reading the frog scene in bed and burst out laughing, startling my husband!

    • How funny was it? My father totally has a frog phobia just like that! When I lived at home in my teams, he would always freak out at the inch long frogs that made their way into the swimming pool and I’d have to go rescue them and set them free into the garden! Once he found a tiny little one on the bathroom windowsill and nearly had a heart attack!

  3. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    I am really looking forward to meeting Karly next week!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful book, full of community spirit and values. A great way to spend some time, gaining insights into the Australian psyche.

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