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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lady Bird & The Fox by Kim Kelly – Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It's 1868 and Annie is working with her father on a farm and she enjoys helping him out. Unfortunately a bad stroke of luck leaves her without a roof over her head. She's now an orphan and is no longer welcome at the farm. She has a grandfather somewhere and finding him seems to be her only way forward. Her search starts in a disastrous way though. Bushrangers steal every belonging she still has left. Annie is powerless against them, but fortunately Jem comes to her aid. He accidentally steals a horse and together they chase the thieves. Annie is looking for her grandfather and Jem decides to stay with her until he's been found. However, this proves to be a difficult task.

Jem is the son of a jeweler in Sydney. His father sent him to the countryside to teach him a lesson. Jem has made a mess of his life and his drinking and gambling habits have caused a lot of trouble. The people he's supposed to work for have never heard of Jem, instead he's staying by Annie's side to help her with her search. Due to misunderstandings, racism and hatred their journey becomes a lot harder than they anticipated. Will they eventually reach their destination and what will happen when it's time to part ways? They're from completely different worlds, but a connection has been formed. Can they forget about each other or will love conquer all?

Lady Bird & The Fox is one of the most beautiful stories I've read in a long time. I absolutely loved Annie. She's brave, outspoken, smart and strong. She's also levelheaded and gorgeous inside and out. I had tears in my eyes when I read about all the hatred and bigotry she comes across. Her dignity amazed me and I greatly admired her courage. Jem is lucky to have met her. They are an unusual match, but they work. The serious Annie and cheerful and carefree Jem complement each other in the most wonderful way. It's clear from the start that their connection is deep and meaningful, but there will be plenty of obstacles to overcome and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if they'd find happiness in the end.

Kim Kelly's stunning descriptions of the Australian countryside, the inhabitants of the villages Jem and Annie visit on their journey and a large number of various emotions are making Lady Bird & The Fox a true gem to read. It's a brilliant story that's obviously well researched. I love how Kim Kelly manages to make history come to life. It's clear a lot of careful planning went into her story and that made me enjoy it even more. I adored the large number of impressive layers, the gripping adventure and the heartwarming true love. I can't recommend Lady Bird & The Fox enough, it's an absolute must-read.


If you love historical fiction Lady Bird & The Fox is a story you don't want to miss.

About Kim Kelly

Kim Kelly is the author of six novels exploring Australia and its history. Her stories shine a bright light on some forgotten corners of the past and tell the tales of ordinary people living through extraordinary times. 

A striking characteristic of Kim’s writing is her ability to lead readers with warmth and lyrical charm into difficult terrain, exploring themes of bigotry, class conflict, disadvantage and violence in our shared history – issues that resonate through the social and political landscape of Australia today.

A widely respected book editor and literary consultant by trade, stories fill her everyday – most nights, too – and it’s love that fuels her intellectual engine. Love between lovers, friends, strangers; love of country; love of story. In fact, she takes love so seriously she once donated a kidney to her husband to prove it, and also to save his life.

Originally from Sydney, today Kim lives on a small rural property in central New South Wales just outside the tiny gold-rush village of Millthorpe, where the ghosts are mostly friendly and her grown sons regularly come home to graze. 


Gold Country
Guest post by Kim Kelly

Australia is a bold romantic character herself – breathtakingly beautiful one moment, and heart-stoppingly dangerous the next. Dramatic backdrops abound, from glittering harbourside cities to red desert vistas that stretch on forever under bright blue skies.

The slice of this country my stories so often return to lies in the centre of New South Wales, inland from sparkling Sydney, beyond the rugged sandstone escarpments of the Blue Mountains. The country I call home is a place of wide rolling hills, tall sprawling eucalypts and golden sunsets.

This is the Australia my new novel, Lady Bird & The Fox, explores.

History whispers everywhere through these hills, too. It’s often thought that this is a young country, and in a European, Western sense it is, at only a few hundred years old. But Australia’s Aboriginal history is more ancient than that of any other civilisation on earth, at least sixty thousand years old, and in this part of the country, that history, and this land, traditionally belong to the Wiradjuri people.

In the early 1800s, Wiradjuri warriors fought fierce battles with the British colonists who sought to take over more and more of their territory by force, without treaty or compensation or care. The heroine at the centre of my novel, Annie Bird, is a descendent of these Aboriginal people.

Annie’s father, however, is an English farm manager, and almost immediately after his tragic, sudden death, she and her sister, now orphans, are pushed out of the only home they’ve ever known – because they are half Aboriginal and the white settlers of the district don’t want them there anymore. Annie’s story takes place in 1868, and it was a time of shockingly bigoted attitudes; but, sadly, in the Australia of today some of these kinds of attitudes persist.

Annie is a determined young woman, though. Nothing is going to stop her from trying to find her grandfather, her mother’s father, a legendary Wiradjuri tracker from central New South Wales, but she has no choice other than to travel alone – a very dangerous road for any woman in those days.

This country was in the middle of a gold rush, and much like America’s Wild West, the Australian version of it was rife with frontier violence and lawlessness, as well as brimming with riches for the taking. In fact, many people rushed from California to Australia following the gold trail across the Pacific Ocean, hoping to strike it lucky. But while the American Wild West bred outlaws at its wildest fringes, Australia bred bushrangers – renegades, rebels and thieves.

The gold rushes attracted all kinds of people from all over the world, of course, and so this is also a time when Australia’s famous multiculture was born: Chinese market gardeners, German tradesmen, Afghan hawkers, and every other immigrant imaginable flocked to Australia in the middle of the nineteenth century – where fortunes could be made and new lives forged.

Along with them came a small but significant number of Jewish artisans and businessmen. I’m personally descended from one of these new arrivals – and the hero of Lady Bird & The Fox is one of them, too.

Now, this so-called hero, Jem Fox, is a bit of a rogue. Quite a lot of a rogue, actually. He’s the son of a wealthy silversmith, and he’s a hard-drinking, hard-gambling womaniser, too. When Jem’s father finally decides that enough is enough, he sends his wayward son west, towards the goldfields, to teach him a few lessons in respect and responsibility.

But things don’t quite work to plan for either Annie or Jem. When their worlds collide along that road to the goldfields, one thing leads to another, and they find they’ve been mistaken for bushrangers.

On the run from the law, they embark on the adventure of their lives – a quest to discover what home, belonging and family really mean. Annie and Jem will take you deep into the beauty and the danger of this land I love. Into these hills full of gold, full of dreams…


Twenty very lucky readers of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of Lady Bird & The Fox by Kim Kelly.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Lady Bird & The Fox sounds like a powerful and thought-provoking tale of Australia during the gold rush days.

  2. The photos are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing it, it sounds like something I would really enjoy.

  3. This looks like a very interesting and absorbing read :)

  4. Thank you for the chance to win!!

  5. Oh my, the landscape is stunning!

  6. A lovely guest post which reminded me of my visits to Sydney. Australia is certainly a beautiful country and I'd have loved to have seen more of it. Unfortunately my daughter and family have returned to Europe so it's not very likely. I didn't know that the Wiradjuri people were the original settlers of NSW and so long ago too. Thank you for so much information, it was a pleasure to read about it all.