Black Bones, Red Earth

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
462 Pages
Reviewed on 02/23/2020
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Author Biography

Lee Richie is the Australian author of Black Bones, Red Earth.
Lee was born and grew up in Liverpool, England, where he married and fathered three sons. Lee and his family emigrated to Canada in 1982 where they spent ten years, before moving to Australia in pursuit of Lee’s business career. After years in international management, Lee has swapped spreadsheets for manuscripts and is now writing full-time from his home in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia.
Lee is also the author of the young adult novel, Alexander Bottom & the Dreamweaver’s Daughter, which was well-received by readers worldwide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Black Bones, Red Earth is a work of historical fiction penned by author Lee Richie which is written for mature readers due to some scenes of a sexual nature. Set in the harsh and unforgiving climate of the Australian outback, the story takes us between the present day and the events surrounding protagonist Katherine in the year 1951, where secrets abound and are long kept for fear of exposure. A modern-day circumstance forces Katherine to relive her trauma and return to Australia, looking back on the parents she was given to and the reasons why she has been running from her past for so very long.

Harrowing, heartfelt and deeply emotional, author Lee Richie tells an incredible tale of survival and secrets during the events that unfold in Black Bones, Red Earth. First off, the atmosphere is stunning from beginning to end, utilizing the backdrop of Australia, its beauty and also its harsh environments to contextualize Katherine’s story and harmonize with the ups and downs of her tale. The narrative quality is strong and the past and present divides are handled well and without any confusion for the reader, giving us deeper insight into Katherine’s trauma and her reasons for running as the plot goes on. It is intriguing to follow, making this a fast-paced voyage of discovery with some very poignant and relatable moments throughout. Katherine is drawn with such reality that she comes alive as you are guided through her story, making Black Bones, Red Earth a highly recommended novel for literary and historical fiction fans everywhere.

Rabia Tanveer

Black Bones, Red Earth by Lee Richie is the story of a woman who had to fight and claw her way out of the darkness, just so she could live. Katherine was just a child when her mother was killed tragically and she was left with her father. When her father abandoned her as well, she was left looking for love where she would never be given it and she knew her life was going to be hard. So she did what anyone would do; she tried to forget her past and only looked forward. Now living in England, Katherine has tried to live life to the fullest, but it seems like her past is catching up to her. Something happened when she was living in Australia, something big, and it seems like she cannot run away from it anymore. She has to confront her past before she can move into the future. What is Katherine going to do now?

I loved the narrative of Black Bones, Red Earth by Lee Richie and I abundantly enjoyed the protagonist. With authors writing more and more stories about young couples or characters, it is refreshing to read a story where the protagonist is intelligent and older; there is a maturity to Katherine that makes her a worthy lead character. Her story is heartbreaking, but her strength incredible. She faces her fears and she makes sure never to hide from the things that scare her. She stood her ground, faced the music and tried her best to carve out a better future for herself. This is an amazing, really good novel, one that will remain in my mind for long.

Jamie Michele

Black Bones, Red Earth by Lee Richie is an epic historical novel set in 1950's Australia, where ten-year-old Katherine has been torn from her brother Archie and their orphanage in London and placed in the Outback under the tenuous care of a childless couple, Daisy and Lachlan Stuart. They had anticipated a boy, like the friend who encouraged them to take in a “Pommy kid” had gotten—two, in fact, to help on the homestead in a desolate landscape. Instead, they got Katherine, an unwanted child who attempts to carve out her own identity in a new and foreign life. When a suspected crime is committed, Katherine is forced to make tough decisions that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Lee Richie has written a beautifully profound and engrossing piece of literary fiction with Black Bones, Red Earth. It is gorgeous in its descriptions, which come to life in vivid detail as Katherine's life unfolds slowly with each turn of the page. She is a genuine dichotomy of fragility and strength, a victim of her circumstances but forcing herself into positions of control whenever she can. There is no sluggish middle despite the length of this book, with Katherine being confronted with harsh choices just when it appears she's finally found a sliver of happiness in her life. The writing is really quite elegant, sometimes even poetic, and each character is developed and layered and authentic. I loved this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.