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Khaki Town by Judy Nunn

Updated: Nov 14, 2019


As reviewed on The Cafe, TV3!



Judy Nunn is an Australian fiction author, former actress and television screenwriter. Khaki Town is the first novel of hers that I have read, and it’s simply fabulous.


The novel is set in 1942, after Singapore has fallen and Darwin has been bombed. Val runs The Browns Bar in Townsville, Queensland and she is delighted at the fortune she is making when their small town is transformed into a hub for 70,000 American and Australian soldiers. But Australian troops begrudge the confident American soldiers who have taken over their town and their women. And there is growing conflict within the American ranks, as white soldiers don’t like working alongside the black soldiers. Racial violence is about to explode, something that will have a terrible impact on the people in the town. Threaded through the novel is also a love story between a white woman and a black solider, that could be doomed in this climate of hatred - and another love story that you will hope will have a happy ending.


The novel is based on true wartime story that has been kept hidden for more than seventy years – so this is a thrilling read, made even more poignant when you discover that it’s based on a mutiny that was covered up by the military. Khaki Town is a compelling, thought-provoking read that will have you rallying against the injustices it exposes. I’ll definitely be looking to read more books by this accomplished novelist in the future. Judy Nunn has just the right balance of research and fiction in this book – it is very well done.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Publishing by Penguin Random House

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