By Mary-Anne O’Connor
Can love prevail, when horror becomes too much to bear?
The 1960s are beating a fresh pulse of political and cultural upheaval through Sydney. For sheltered convent schoolgirl Poppy Flannery such changes seem irrelevant. But it doesn’t stop her from longing to join in, especially if it means spending time with the popular boy she secretly loves, Ben Williamson. So when the opportunity for a dream escape to Surfers Paradise arrives, Poppy and her twin sister Rosemary seize it and find themselves in the midst of the swinging sixties at last.
Rosemary embraces their secret new life with a vengeance, discovering drugs, boys and radical politics in a haze of parties, music festivals and protest marches. But such freedom is stolen when Rosemary’s great love, Angus, is sent to Vietnam, along with Ben.
Soon a war fought thousands of kilometres away will arrive on the twins’ door in the form of orphaned refugee Thuy. As many more victims begin to appear, including shattered versions of Australian soldiers, they must decide how far they will go for the men they adore, and ask themselves whether love really is all you need.
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About the author
Mary-Anne O'Connor nee Best grew up in Wahroonga in the Bushland Shire of Hornsby-Kuringai, northern Sydney, Australia. The youngest of six children, her childhood was spent exploring the local bushland and playing music with her siblings and close neighbours. An avid reader, she devoured her mother Dorn's extensive library and was often found trying to finish a chapter by torchlight late at night. She also began to fill every blank piece of paper in the house with stories and drawings of her own and dreamt of becoming a writer one day.
When she was twelve her father Kevin Best left his established career in the stock-market to become one of Australia's best-loved artists. The perseverance and ultimate triumph she witnessed during those years left her inspired to follow in his footsteps and pursue her own creative aspirations. A colourful marketing career followed, along with the completion of education/arts degree and during this time she also co-wrote two books with her father, A Brush with Light andSecrets of the Brush. Work then began on her first major novel, Gallipoli Street. This work gained critical acclaim and finished at #3 for debut novels in Australia in 2015. It has recently been voted #4 for all Australian Authors, 2016, and #13 for all books, including international titles, in Better Reading’s Top 100 poll, 2016. Her second novel Worth Fighting For is under new release and her third war story Warflower is due out in 2017.
Mary-Anne has drawn on her love of the Australian bushland, her fascination with her own family history and her deep, abiding respect for the Anzac generation and their children to produce these novels. It was written in her office at home, surrounded by her grandfather's war memorabilia and beneath a long window that overlooks her beloved gum trees.
Mary-Anne still lives in the Bushland Shire with her husband Anthony, their two sons, Jimmy and Jack and their very spoilt dog, Saxon.