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Deborah Burrows

Författare till A Stranger in My Street

7 verk 68 medlemmar 5 recensioner

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Foto taget av: Deborah Burrows

Verk av Deborah Burrows

A Stranger in My Street (2012) 25 exemplar, 1 recension
Taking a chance (2013) 18 exemplar, 2 recensioner
Ambulance Girls (2016) 11 exemplar
A time of secrets (2015) 9 exemplar, 2 recensioner
Ambulance Girls Under Fire (2018) 2 exemplar
Ambulance Girls At War (2019) 1 exemplar


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Nobody could be more startled than me when declaring that A TIME OF SECRETS was a most enjoyable book to read. Startled because ostensibly it looks, feels, smells like a romance. With an historical bent, and some mystery within.

Certainly in reading this book the romance is foremost in the narrative, equalled by the difficulties of living within war-footing Melbourne, followed eventually by the mystery of the traitor within the ranks of the Australian Intelligence Bureau. What makes that balance work is probably the historical background though. Romance in that day makes sense. With the world being turned on its head, and the possibility that anyone could be lost, dead or captured overseas at any point, the idea that people want a personal connection is understandable. This author covers these aspects with restraint, making her characters stumble often enough to make them realistic and certainly not soppy or idealistic. The central character of Stella Aldridge is part of the strength. A woman widowed during the war, she's not exactly grieving a violent and nasty husband, but sad about the manner of his death, and the failure of her marriage. Her wariness with that background is understandable, as is her very human desire to get it right a second time around. Stella's no victim despite what has happened to her in the past. She's also no fool and (eventually) is able to pick the wolves from the hounds. The potential of a love triangle here is intriguing as well.

It's not a one hander story though and there are a number Aldridge's colleagues at the AIB who get a good airing. There's plenty of professional, as well as romantic tension in the AIB amongst many men and women vying for each other's attention. Aldridge's flatmate adds a level of mania with her ongoing relationship with her American beau constantly threatened by her dalliances with other men, although the standout character at home is the downstairs neighbour, Mrs Campbell who is fun, wise, cheeky and a great, if not slightly vague observer.

Within the mystery elements, there's a traitor being sought, and much of that quest is being done in secret. Specialist overseas missions - particularly into Papua New Guinea and nearby are going pear-shaped with the Japanese Army having specific and dangerous knowledge about what the Allies are up to. It could be that this traitor is very high up in AIB management, but there are clues in radio transcripts and the processing of information that eventually point Aldridge and her boss Nick Ross in the right direction. There's an interesting pointer in the back of the book that explains the real life situation that much of that mystery is based on. Obviously for this reader, once we got to this part of the plot things improved greatly and the way that the traitor was identified - and many of the little clues that indicated something was indeed badly wrong in the communications transmissions - were fascinating.

Throughout the book there are lots of other connections, a shared love of architecture and the descriptions of war-footing Melbourne, from the camps in parks in South Yarra, and the Toorak mansions seconded to house military groups, through to the brownout and the nightlife that people were determined to pursue in the face of rationing and shortages.

Goes to show that when the story's really well researched and told with great passion and authority, even something that has such a hefty dose of romance can work for a reader whose preference is normally to walk somewhere much darker than Melbourne in a 1943 brownout.
… (mer)
austcrimefiction | 1 annan recension | May 4, 2015 |
A Time of Secrets is Deborah Burrows’ third wonderful novel blending Australia’s wartime history with mystery and romance.

While Burrows previous novels take place in Perth, A Time of Secrets is set in Melbourne in 1943. Australian Women’s Army sergeant Stella Aldridge is out shopping with her roommate and colleague, Dolly, when she overhears a whispered conversation in Malay between a group of Australian soldiers. Concerned with the implications she alerts her boss at the APLO, The Australian Pacific Liason Office, only to be drawn into a covert investigation headed by her superior officer, Lieutenant Nick Ross.

As Stella and her colleagues work to uncover the identity of the traitor sabotaging the Australian war effort they have to negotiate the politics of the APLO. I enjoyed the intrigue of the storyline and learning a little more about the war effort. In this, as in both of Burrows previous novels, A Stranger in My Street and Taking a Chance, Burrows’ brings to life the experiences and contribution of women during wartime in Australia.

A minor subplot focuses on Stella’s roommate Dolly, and the secrets she is keeping both from her fiance and Stella, while a second involves an axe wielding murderer stalking women in Melbourne. The theme of domestic violence is prominent in the novel. as is violence on the home front in general.

There is romance for Stella with the enigmatic soldier Staff Sergeant Eric Lund. A special operative, his life is at risk if the rumours of a traitor imbedded within the APLO are true. Stella’s attraction to Lund is complicated by his capability for violence, her first husband who was killed in action physically abused her, and she is wary. A sort of love triangle also develops as Ross, an unapologetic ladies man, makes his interest in Stella clear.

Burrow’s is a talented storyteller who brings wartime Australia to life. Offering an interesting mystery combined with strong characterisation and a well crafted plot, A Time of Secrets is an engaging historical fiction novel.
… (mer)
shelleyraec | 1 annan recension | Mar 24, 2015 |
This is the second book by author Deborah Burrows and I have enjoyed them both. I like the way she is able in both her books to combine a story of romance with a mystery and as a bonus set it in an historical period. Both of the books have been set in war time Perth. Eleanor (Nell Fitzgerald) writes a fashion column for a local paper but aspires to do much more. She gets her chance when she meet convalescing American war reporter Johnny Horvath and is dragged into investigating a murder with him. Lena Mitrovic has been accused of murdering her lover but Johnny who knew her in the past believes she is innocent. As they investigate this crime they become involved in the stories of young country girls who run away to the city in search of more fun, many ending up in relationships with American servicemen. They, more often than not, end up getting into more trouble than they bargained for. I particularly liked the way she developed the characters of Nell and Johnny. Nell is engaged and planning to marry her beau who is away fighting, and Johnny has a bit of a reputation as a ladies man but in spite of herself Nell finds herself becoming attracted to Johnny. but the thing is can she trust him. Evie the girl they took from the streets is another character I liked and felt empathy for. All in all this was an enjoyable read!… (mer)
kiwifortyniner | 1 annan recension | Jan 10, 2014 |
For some reason I had expected that the characters from A Stranger in My Street, Deborah Burrows debut novel, would reappear in Taking a Chance, instead, the author introduces two new protagonists at the center of another mystery in wartime Perth, Australia.

In Taking a Chance, twenty four year old journalist, Eleanor "Nell" Fitzgerald, reluctantly becomes involved with a convalescing American war time correspondent's crusade to prove a woman, tried and convicted for her lover's murder, innocent. Captain Johnny Horvath is charming, handsome and persuasive and Nell, with ambitions of using her degree in English Literature for more than penning an admittedly popular fashion advice column, agrees to assist him with his investigation.

Proving Lena Mitrovic innocent forms the bulk of the mystery plot as Nell and Johnny investigate the victims life, looking for evidence that could exonerate the woman. As they follow a trail of heartbreak, jealousy and greed in the artist's commune where Lena and her lover lived, they encounter small town bullies, a woman crazed by grief and uncover a story of four missing young girls.

For me, the most fascinating part of the story is Burrows expose of the less desirable result of US servicemen flooding into Perth. Young, naive women, thrilled by the attentions of the exotic, cashed up visitors and swept away by the idea of wartime romance were vulnerable to exploitation. The lucky ones found themselves married to someone they barely knew, the unlucky found themselves left behind, humiliated, with their reputation in tatters, the very unlucky became 'Lost Girls', tricked or forced into prostitution.
The plight of these young girls becomes part of Johnny and Nell's investigation when clues point to two of the missing girls from Lena's community being involved in the murder and becomes of personal interest to Nell when she and Johnny rescue fourteen year old orphan Eve from a couple of drunk and belligerent sailors.

I really liked the way in which Burrows developed the relationship between Nell and Johnny, she allows it to evolve quite naturally despite the intensity of their situation and Johnny's imminent return to active service. Nell is determined to ignore her growing attraction to Johnny, who has a reputation as a bit of a 'cad'. She expects to marry her long time boyfriend, a lawyer, when he returns from his wartime secondment but finds it increasingly difficult to resist Johnny's charm. Nell is worried that taking a chance on Johnny's affections being true will leave her another heartbroken and humiliated statistic.

Just as in A Stranger in My Street, I really enjoyed the blend of mystery and romance in Taking A Chance. I loved revisiting wartime Perth (my hometown) and was once again impressed by the author's ability to seamlessly integrate the historical detail of time and place. With all of that, combined with strong characterisation and a well crafted plot, I can only recommend you 'take a chance' on this entertaining and engaging novel.
… (mer)
shelleyraec | 1 annan recension | May 4, 2013 |



½ 3.7

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