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Reviewed by Courtnee Turner Hoyle for Readers' Favorite
Lee Richie writes a story based on certain true events in the book Black Bones, Red Earth. Told in two parts, the author follows a ten-year-old English girl, Katherine Bowers, to the Stewarts’ homestead in Australia. Nursing a sad past, Katherine hopes only to find love and acceptance. The landscape of Cutaway Creek in Broken Hill seems like a foreign world with exotic animals and hazardous conditions. Separated from the only remaining family member who cared for her, her older brother, Archie, and treated with spite and disinterest by her guardians, Katherine learns about life and the land from the Aboriginal house worker and station hands. In the second section, Richie continues Katherine’s saga, covering the repercussions of Katherine’s decisions and the lives she affected after one of her deepest secrets is unearthed.
Lee Richie has written a phenomenal story! It’s easy to be completely invested in Katherine’s life from the moment she’s dropped off in Cutaway Creek. The reader sees the story through her eyes as she reflects on her life with the wisdom of discernment. The descriptions paint vivid images in readers’ minds, and the sights, sounds, animals, property, and characters become so real that readers almost feel like they are there. It’s hard to hear Katherine justify her actions and weep over the repercussions. Readers aren’t just hearing a story; they are experiencing a life. Readers who enjoy historical fiction that dives into the depths of experience and trials will love Black Bones, Red Earth.
Sandy Gore reads with consistency and echoes the image of Katherine in my mind. Scoop Effects Studio’s audio is clear and without interruption, providing a serene listening experience. I especially liked the realistic sounds during phone calls. Gore’s accent adds to the story and her range of emotions show her experience on the stage and in film. Australian by birth, her nationality gives credit to the reading, as the reader can picture Gore’s understanding of the trials the author describes. Listening to Gore read is more like hearing a performance a reader can easily visualize, adding a new appreciation of Black Bones, Red Earth.