The Dreaming is a well-crafted tale, populated with believable and interesting characters, nicely grounded in the history of Australia and full of fascinating references to Aboriginal culture. The story revolves around a mystery. A young woman, Joanna Drury, arrives in Melbourne in 1871, shortly after her parents' tragic deaths in India. Before her mother Emily died, she told Joanna that the family was under a curse that originated with her parents, John and Naomi Makepeace. The Makepeaces had spent time living with an Aboriginal clan, then disappeared without a trace. Four year-old Emily arrived in England carrying a satchel full of her father's coded field notes and a small, strange stuffed animal and grew up in her aunt's care. The adult Emily kept a journal, which she gave to Joanna before she died, admonishing her daughter to make the journey to Australia and find out how to lift the curse.
From Publishers Weekly
In an opulent, slightly overdone epic of Victorian Australia, Wood--also known as Kathryn Harvey ( Butterfly )--chronicles a daughter's search for the mystical secret that killed her mother.
This is a good, solid historical romance. This is also an anthropological novel. The reader does become immersed in the myths, dream life, and very sad developments of the life of aborigines.
The characters are interesting and strong, and one of the real strengths of this for me was that the characters grow and develop and learn from their experiences. There are no present day villains here--just humans who learna s they go along, and I thought that was particularly nice.
There is a strong sense of the landscape and history of Australia here. Barbara Wood's plot also holds together well and comes to a strong resolution.
1871-Joanna Drury, young and now without family, travels from India where her British parents had raised her to Australia to find out family secrets her dying mother had been evasive about. A great saga peopled with fascinating characters
The wild and rugged continent of Australia from the 1870s to the 1880s is the setting for this long, captivating novel about settling Western Australia. Aboriginal culture, religion and customs plays an important role in this tale.