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Staircase to the Moon    by Elizabeth Haran order for
Staircase to the Moon
by Elizabeth Haran
Order:  USA  Can
Bastei Entertainment, 2016 (2016)
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

The devastating loss at Gallipoli during World War I is remembered today in Australia and New Zealand as ANZAC Day. Staircase to the Moon tells the story of the soldiers' families that waited at home to hear word of their loved ones. In addition it gives a vivid picture of the life on a station (ranch) in the outback of Australia.

Emily is a young seamstress who lives with her father and brothers in Perth. The men in her life are overprotective, and she yearns for independence. A lucky break gives her a job in The Kimberley in Australia's northwest. There she takes on the job of seamstress to a family of six. The women's relatively soft life changes drastically when their men leave to join the war. With only old men and servants left to tend the station, the women must learn to ride, drive cattle and shear sheep in addition to keeping up the garden and house. Disasters abound, and, over time, everyone gets worn down. But the women, especially Emily, gain much knowledge about who they are and whom they can be.

The story is fascinating, with subordinating characters, especially the cook, just as interesting as the main ones. The locale and time really come to life. However, the story, told chronologically, lacks time lapse indications, at least in the digital version given to the reviewer, which constantly brought me up short. Here's hoping these can be fixed by the time you read it!

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