Reviews

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 Praise for Jewel Sea

Jewel Sea Preliminary for Kim_Page_2

‘[Kelly] conveys the rich history of the colourful pearling trade in north-western Australia with gusto and charm….The myth of the cursed jewel has recurred for centuries in storytelling, but Kelly may be the first to have this beautiful and powerful object speak for itself.’ – Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald

Jewel Sea is inspired storytelling that breaks the rules so beautifully.’ – Jenn J McLeod, author of House for All Seasons

‘Kelly casts her story like a spell, drawing the reader headlong into other worlds with her vividly drawn characters and extraordinary writing.’ – Laura Bloom, author of The Cleanskin

‘The narrative is breathtaking and the characters are well drawn. I read this book in just two sittings, which is testament to my unwillingness to put the book down.’ – Amanda Barratt, Mrs B’s Book Reviews

‘hugely entertaining’ – Liz Deacon, Goodreads reviewer

‘enchanting, intense and dazzling!’ – Brenda Telford, Goodreads librarian

‘Jewel Sea is a well written, many layered, little gem of Australian historical fiction. I could feel, hear and smell the isolated, underpopulated coastal towns of the early 1900’s and the cruise liner Koombana in which it is set.’ – DM Cameron, author and award-winning playwright.

‘Jewel Sea is a great story. A Five Star book.- – Elise McCune, author of Castle of Dreams

Praise for Wild Chicory

WC cover

 ‘It is uplifting to know that there are people who can write like this with clarity, a bit of devilment and a hint of a smile. The story is a simple one, but told in a way that keeps you reading as much for the elegance of the telling as for the action it describes. Here is prose with a light, sunny breeze blowing through it… Why can’t more people write like this? A little gem.’ – Frank O’Shea, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times

‘colourful, evocative and energetic’ – Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald

‘There are many surprises, you will laugh, you will shed tears – in reality Wild Chicory could be any immigrant’s story. And yes, the wild chicory is pivotal to this enchanting tale.’ – Clare Calvet, ‘Clare’s Book of the Week’, ABC Radio, Tony Delroy’s Nightlife

‘Kim Kelly’s Wild Chicory is told with wit, warmth and courage. It’s an ode to the splendour to be found in a simple life and the hope for something better, even if you must risk everything to achieve it.’ – Kylie Mason, Newtown Review of Books

‘Story-telling is clearly encoded in [Kim Kelly’s] DNA. Her ability to craft an exceptional story is plain to see through her narrative technique. Each story which unfolds is written in a lyrical almost poetical language and laden with meaning and metaphor. Given Wild Chicory is a short novella, the author writes with an economy of words not dissimilar to great short-story writers such as Frank O’Connor and Seán Ó Faoláin whose stories filled my childhood imagination with rich imagery and unforgettable idiomatic expressions.’ – Writerful Books

‘Delicately written, yet clear-eyed and unsentimental, ‘Wild Chicory’ lovingly brings back to life the stories and struggles of generations of a particular Irish immigrant family in Australia. You’ll enjoy it, but it might just make you cry.’ – Brook Emery, award-winning poet

‘Wild Chicory is a celebration of triumph over adversity, a social history of early 20th century Australia, who we are as a nation as much as who we are as individuals. I highly recommend it to every reader, both young and old. There’s something in it for everyone.’ – Theresa Smith, author, blogger and Australian Women Writers’ historical fiction editor

‘It’s short, shapely and transporting. In fact, read it twice to make sure you unearth its many gems.’ – A Bigger Brighter World

‘It’s a well told series of connected tales that vividly recreates a slice of Australian-Irish history.’ – Lizzie Chandler, author and blogger

‘Aussie author Kim Kelly has written a moving and poignant novella with Wild Chicory… a beautiful story, deeply emotional.’ – Brenda, Goodreads librarian

‘This novella is the author’s tour de force. With a sublime narrative voice Wild Chicory is the kind of story that lingers long after the last page.’ – Jenn J McLeod, author of House For All Seasons

‘Kim Kelly’s writing is magnificent… Wild Chicory managed to move me from the first page.’ Suze Lavender, Suze Likes, Loves, Finds and Dreams

‘An uplifting, absorbing, surprising read with sly wit and a lightness of spirit… I loved it.’ Anna Broinowski, award-winning filmmaker and author of The Director is the Commander

Praise for Paper Daisies

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‘one of the most powerful books I’ve read in years’ – Virginia Haussegger, AM, ABC journalist.

‘…this book kept me on a knife’s edge as I journeyed with these two beautiful sisters…and reduced me to tears. Totally absorbing.’ – DM Cameron, author and award-winning playwright

‘Paper Daisies is one of those novels that quietly stuns you with the importance of its story.’ – Theresa Smith, author, blogger and Australian Women Writers’ historical fiction editor

‘a thoroughly engaging novel that had me caught up in its web of wonderful characters, beautifully-rendered history and often nail-biting tension’ Shannon. Giraffe Days

‘Once I started reading I couldn’t stop and it’s opened me up to Australia. [Kim Kelly] is absolutely fantastic – I have gone and bought more of her work and can’t wait to see what else she brings out.’ – Sarah Campbell, Goodreads reviewer

‘Australia’s answer to Sara Gruen.’ Deborah, Goodreads reviewer

‘the characters that Kim has created are ones that you fall in love with’ – Paul Phillips, bookseller, A Reader’s Heaven.

‘Kim Kelly’s story telling abilities are astounding – this historical fiction novel set in the early 1900s is her best yet in my opinion, and I’ve loved them all.’ Brenda, Goodreads librarian

Praise for The Blue Mile

KK back list BM revised

 ‘Kelly’s evocation of 1930s Sydney has a marvellous depth and authenticity based on some impressive research, and her characters, plot and fluid prose draw the reader into this world.’ Daily Telegraph. Troy Lennon, history editor.

‘The latest novel from Kim Kelly is an engaging, entertaining read set in 1930s Sydney against the backdrop of the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It casts an informative light on the hardships endured by the bridge workers, the struggle of the Great Depression, and the politics and economics of the time…Ferry-strewn harbourside Sydney is evocatively drawn, and one of this book’s strengths is the sheer likeability of its protagonists. Like all good books of its ilk, it’s a compelling journey to unweave the fates of its lovestruck characters…’ – Joanne Shiells, Books+Publishing

‘There is a grittiness in this story that avoids a sepia-toned nostalgia … and portrays the hard grind of Depression-era Sydney with an unblinking clarity worthy of Ruth Park.’ Julian Leatherdale, author of Palace of Tears

‘The third novel from Australian writer Kelly (aka book editor Kim Swivel), set in Depression-era Sydney, excels at depicting the era’s social conditions and the swoony exuberance and thorny complications of cross-class romance.’ – Sarah Johnson, Historical Novel Society.

‘I absolutely loved The Blue Mile. The descriptions of Sydney, the harbour, the construction of the Harbour Bridge and the tragic deaths during construction, the politics of the time – everything was so authentic. Also the mention of the blue mile – the water separating the two sides of the harbour – was beautiful and felt right. The book was full of delightful characters, and some not so delightful…I highly recommend this novel by Aussie author Kim Kelly – an absolute masterpiece!’ Brenda Telford, Goodreads reviewer

‘A cliffhanger with lots of charm.’ Country Style

‘I loved this book. It kept me up at night, turning the pages… In many ways this novel is what you’d expect of the elements it has brought together — the turbulent between-wars Lang years, the last years of the Bridge being built, class-challenged love story — but it’s told with nuances that are unexpected and insightful, and the voices and world feels real and familiar.’ Selina Hanet-Hutchins, Goodreads reviewer

‘A fascinating novel that will attract readers with an interest in 20th-century history and social issues that still exist today.’ Illawarra Mercury

‘I’m not normally a fan of historic fiction but I really enjoyed this story of two lives that become intertwined during the harsh reality of the 1930’s in Sydney, Australia….I will definitely be reading Kim Kelly’s other two novels Black Diamonds This Red Earth.’ Sally HallNeed to Read This

‘This hard-to-put-down page-turner is the kind of book you want to hold off reading, just so the story doesn’t end.’ Newcastle Herald

The Blue Mile is quite simply an extraordinary book….The way Kelly understands and uses history, not in a boring didactic way but to make the story sing is marvellous. She makes the shape of a hat, a brooch, or the collar of a shirt signify an era and those who not only lived but worked through it in ways that are at once clever and lyrical.’ Dr Karen Brooks, author, journalist & academic

‘A skillfully evocative historical novel.’ Karen O’Brien-Hall, Starts At Sixty!

‘…engaging and heart-wrenching…’ Adelaide Matters

Praise for This Red Earth 

this red earth

‘Trapped in New Guinea in January 1942 with a volcano, smoking ominously, and a Japanese invasion imminent, Gordon, a geologist on the brink of exposing British skullduggery, has to choose between two hazardous courses of action. His fiance, Bernie, is battling drought in NSW. Postal services falter. The [Japanese] invasion is a period that needs illumination and Kelly’s novel brilliantly reconstructs the assault and its impact. Meanwhile, the story of love’s ironies is splendidly executed.’ Country Style

‘Thoroughly researched, with a likable leading lady, This Red Earth is a very enjoyable read.’ Woman’s Day

‘Kim Kelly seems to understand the sounds and scents of the country … The strength of This Red Earth is that it reads as authentic in terms of the times in which it is set. Yet it does not succumb to saccharine nostalgia and feels like you are looking through a wide and clear window back to the 40s.’ Helen Crompton, West Australian

‘If you want to be transported into another place and time, then pick up this book.’ Jay Hicks, Goodreads reviewer

‘Highly entertaining…’ Pittwater Life

 ‘If you like a bit of Australiana in your fiction, settle in with Kim Kelly’s novel inspired by her fascination with the experiences of ordinary Australians during the Second World War.’ Gladstone Observer

‘With its secrets, love and heartbreak, harshness of the countryside and devastation of war, I have no hesitation in recommending this fantastic book to everyone.’ Brenda Telford, Goodreads librarian

‘Meticulously researched, very Australian, likeable characters and a really good yarn.’ Louise Briffa, Goodreads reviewer

Praise for Black Diamonds

black diamonds

‘This is the story of a love greatly tested and of the resilience of ordinary Australians sucked into a pointless war by propaganda. It’s enough to turn you into a war protester.’ – Australian Women’s Weekly

‘Black Diamonds is an Australian masterpiece!’ Sue Gerhardt-Griffiths, Goodreads reviewer

‘Kim Kelly’s debut novel is a cracker…’ – Good Reading

‘…this is a delightfully authentic story of two characters from different backgrounds who marry and together face the challenges that life during war-time bring to them. The coal mining town of Lithgow, New South Wales, provides a strong Australian back-drop for this very appealing novel’ –  Isabellacreations, A Library Thing

‘This is an impressive debut’ –  Jen Wren, A Library Thing

‘This book was a sheer delight for me’ – Makita, Bookcrossing

‘Historical romance fans will enjoy the humour, the fast pace and appealing characters of Kim Kelly’s first novel.’ – Courier Mail

‘a promising first novel from a young Australian writer’ – Illawarra Mercury

‘an enthralling saga filled with energy, humour and romance’ – Woman’s Day

‘Popular fiction aficionados are enthusiastic about Kim Kelly’s Black Diamonds. Lithgow’s mining industry in 1914, thwarted love across class, race and religious barriers, war, resilience and much more.’ – Weekend Australian

‘A rewarding story of love and war…’ – Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin

‘Capturing the beauty of the bush, true love and the impact of World War I, [Black Diamonds is] fast-paced, interesting and spattered with the right amount of humour, sadness and triumph to make it a thrilling read.’ – Y Weekly, Melbourne