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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Queentide by Donna Fisher is a fascinating and deeply compelling look at modern patriarchy and the forces of feminism that could rise against and overthrow the ruling paradigm in modern-day Australia. Lilith was the wife of a very successful politician, a rising star in Australian Federal politics. Her husband, however, was a misogynist, a sexist, and had recently displayed a temper that went beyond his usual mental and verbal abuse, straying into physical violence against her. Fearing for her two young girls' safety, Lilith fled the family home. After an encounter with a feminist divorce lawyer, she found herself part of the Queentide community of Bodie, an aging radical feminist whose entire life had been dedicated to promoting the needs of women and helping women in danger from abuse. Following on from the global pandemic and a sharp rise in domestic abuse and suppression of women’s rights in Australia, Lilith finds herself swept up in an audacious plan to elect a federal government in Australia, led and populated primarily by women dedicated to dismantling the patriarchy that for so long had kept women down and in its iron grip. Along with a young aboriginal woman, Kathleen, whose star was ascendant in the Australian Labour Party, these women would seek to change society as we know it and forever “level the playing field” for women.
Some books touch a chord deep within readers and for me, Queentide is such a book. The scenario painted by author Donna Fisher is not only believable but, in many ways, long overdue. What I particularly loved about this story was the constant battle between those who wished to make society a fairer and more just place for all and those who were determined to punish men for their centuries of patriarchy, condescension, and subjugation of women. The battle lines were real and sufficiently blurred for some to lose sight of equality's true objective. I also loved that the author highlighted the two opposing viewpoints between freedom for women and social justice for all the oppressed; the First Nation people of Australia, the LGBTQI community, the disabled, the economically and educationally deprived. This struggle between two competing ideologies within the women’s movement could split the group's entire political aspirations, and I was super impressed with the way the author deftly raised, explained, and dealt with this. This is a gripping read with colorful and exciting characters that will appeal to readers of all stripes, both political and gender-based. I am now a big fan of this author and hope she will grace us soon with more thoughts, ideas, and stories.