The Blurb (from Goodreads):
In a small Western Queensland town, a reserved young woman receives a note from one of her vanished brothers—a note that makes question her memories of their disappearance and her father’s departure.
A beguiling story that proves that gothic delights and uncanny family horror can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun, Flyaway introduces readers to Bettina Scott, whose search for the truth throws her into tales of eerie dogs, vanished schools, cursed monsters, and enchanted bottles.
In these pages Jennings assures you that gothic delights, uncanny family horror, and strange, unsettling prose can live—and even thrive—under a burning sun.
Holly Black describes as “half mystery, half fairy tale, all exquisitely rendered and full of teeth.” Flyaway enchants you with the sly, beautiful darkness of Karen Russell and a world utterly its own.
Kathleen Jennings is an Australian writer and illustrator, best known for her beautiful fairy-tale inspired art. She actually created the exquisite cover of The Silver Well, the collection of historical fantasy stories that I co-wrote with Kim Wilkins a few years ago. I have the original of one of her illustrations for that book hanging on the wall in my study. Having known her for years, I was keen to read her first novel, Flyaway, which is being released later this year.
It’s the story of a young woman named Bettina who lives with her mother in a small country town in the north of Australia. Her father and two brothers disappeared some time ago, and Tina is haunted by their absence. Her mother exerts a subtle but unbreakable control over her; their lives seem highly ordered and perfect on the surface but dark currents lurk below. The town seems to exist on the edge of something strange and terrifying and supernatural – there are stories of schools swallowed by invasive plants, powerful shape-shifting monsters that roam in the bush, and people mysteriously vanishing. Tina sets out on a road trip with her two former best friends to try and solve the mystery of her missing brothers, but her own lost memories and the eeriness of the setting create an atmosphere of ambiguity and mistrust, so that the reader is never quite sure who to trust.
The result is a dark & delicate fairy-tale-infused mystery set in a hot, dry, dingo-howl haunted Australian landscape – such a fresh voice & intriguing tale!