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White Horses by Rachael Treasure

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

Rachael Treasure is an Australian writer and White Horses is her seventh novel. She specialises in books set in rural Australia, and has been dubbed an agricultural activist for the work she does with her husband using regenerative agricultural methods. She’s also worked as a rural journalist, radio broadcaster, truffle sniffer dog handler, professional wool classer, stock camp cook, drover, farm manager and working dog trainer.

Drift has been brought up by her father from the age of eleven, after the disappearance of her mother, and hers has been an unconventional upbringing. Drift has been working alongside her dad as an itinerant cattle drover along the coastline of Western Australia. It’s been an isolated life, grounded to nature and the land, but thankfully Drift has also been nurtured by two wise women. There is Wilma, who runs a travelling library, and there is Charlie, who is a mobile saddler.

But when Drift turns twenty-one, she comes to realise that things need to change. Her father is drowning his grief in booze, and after a suicide attempt, she feels torn between caring for him, and starting a life away from him. She wants change, and change is what she gets. She meets a handsome stockman who is running away from a different life, and she is drawn into a world of baffling lies and mysteries.

At the heart of this story is Drift. She has to overcome heartbreak, terrible obstacles, betrayal and loneliness to create her own path in life and live the life that is true to her. This is a story of a young woman making her way in a man’s world. It’s also the story with a vision for thriving regenerative farming, and a new vision for the land. The author’s love of the land, and her love of words shines in this novel. And it is also a tender love story, and a tale about forgiveness and starting over.

At first, I wasn’t sure I would like this book, but a few chapters into the novel, it had gripped my heart and soul and it refused to give up until the end. There’s a purity and refreshing spirit to White Horses, with themes that add multiple layers to a book that is full of heart and soul. This is a very moving, but ultimately uplifting novel.

Reviewer: Karen McMillan

Published by HarperCollins


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