Title: The Man from Snowy River
Author: Elyne Mitchell
Audio book narrator: Richard Aspel
Date Read: 04/04/2017 – 12/04/2017
I want to start by just saying how much fun I had with this book! It evoked the Australian bush landscape in such a way that made me feel nostalgic for home, even though I have no intention of ever moving back to my tiny rural home town. The characters were all vibrant and both the love story and the adventure story held my interested the whole way through.
After the death of his father, Jim Craig is told he must earn his right to continue living in the mountains by working down in the town. He gets a job for a rich cattle owner, Harrison, and meets his daughter, Jessica, with whom he forms a bond. When Harrison’s £1000 colt escapes and Jim is blamed for it, he knows that finding the colt is the last chance he will get to prove himself a man.
As I said, every character in this book has their own individual personality; no two of them sounded the same. I sympathised with Jim and his fish-out-of-water situation while he longed for the mountain home where he grew up. I cheered Jessica on when she stood up to her father and I hated the way Harrison thought he had the right to dominate everyone else.
Life on the farm was also well-described, as was the mountain life and horse-riding. There was a mystery regarding Harrison’s past that wasn’t too hard to guess, but it did provide some good backstory. One of the few things that niggled me was the way at the end, Jim and Harrison both spoke of Jessica as something they could lay claim to. While Jim did say “Jessica can make her own decision on that”, it still bothered me a little.
While Banjo Patterson’s original poem, The Man From Snowy River, focuses solely on the escape of the colt and the mad ride to catch it again, this only accounted for about the last quarter or so of the novel. However, it was interesting revisiting the poem after reading this and realising just how many references from it were peppered throughout the book.
(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017. Click here for more information).