Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels, Wolfsangel and Blood Rose Angel
What we thought: Kal tells the story of two families spanning two generations: Giovanni flees the Italian Alps after his part in a family tragedy and Caterina is banished to the other side of the world in order to protect her family’s honour. Both of them end up in Kalgoorlie, Western Australian town that sprouted up from the red desert dust and the world’s richest vein of gold in the late 1880s. Kalgoorlie was a place for people looking for adventure; a place to start life anew and possibly find one’s fortune in gold. Here the Italians cross paths with the Australian Brearley family: Maudie, who runs a miners’ pub and her husband Harry, charismatic conman, and his son, Jack.
The Australian population of Kalgoolie resents the hardworking Italian miners, and a terrible, life-long vendetta is ignited between the two families when the Italians feel they have been cheated out of their mine.
Apart from the tale of these two families, Kal is also a moving romance and a suspense-infused adventure story. With its twists and turns, the plot is rich in characters, and brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of Kalgoorlie and its goldfields, the desolate and unforgiving landscape, WW1 and Gallipoli, and the people whose lives were shaped by these events, both in Australia and in Europe.
A rollicking great read!
You’ll like this if you enjoy: Easy to read, well-researched Australian family sagas filled with romance and action.
Avoid if you don’t like: Australian and European modern history. Outback towns.
Ideal accompaniments: Beer and a comfortable chair.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Available from Amazon