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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
Keepers by Cheryl Burman tells the story of Raine and Teddy who experience marital upheaval. The narrative commences in 1951 as Raine, short for Lorraine, struggles to manage by herself with baby Stevie in a rough shack. It flashes back to 1949 when Raine works as a typist and visits her father in the hospital. Two youths, Alf and Teddy, rescue her from a frightening encounter with a middle-aged drunk. They strike up a friendship that leads Raine and Teddy to marriage. Teddy struggles to feel good enough for his wife and overcome his jealousy of Alf. Finally, he leaves. Will Raine and Teddy find their way back to each other?
Keepers by Cheryl Burman is a gritty, authentic story set in mid-century Australia. I loved the realism, which does not hesitate to outline the rigors of poverty. I liked the setting, which is an immigration camp where the families wait for settlement. This was highly informative as many people will not be familiar with this aspect of Australian life. I couldn’t get over the irony that Mrs. Greene, who had also been a park resident, thought her son was too good for Raine. I also loved how Teddy worked hard at the Snowy Mountains hydro-scheme when everyone thought he was off being an unreliable husband. The suspense mounts as Alf appears to be the more faithful and reliable option for the pregnant and abandoned heroine. If you like realistic, memoir-style stories, this one will be a delight!