Anne Buist and Graeme Simsion – The Glass House

Hachette, Australia, 2024
Cover design and illustrations by Alex Ross
Cover image Shutterstock

While The Glass House is a work of contemporary fiction, amply meeting our needs for a fast-paced plot and well-developed characters, it is also a study of the state and status of psychiatric medicine in Australia.

Prof Anne Buist and Graeme Simsion spoke to Barbie about The Glass House
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Abbey Lay – Lead Us Not

Viking Books an imprint of Penguin Books Australia, 2024
Cover design Alex Ross @ Penguin Random House Australia P/L
Cover image Source/Getty Images

While the two leads in this story are girls in their final year of high school, it is a book that will strike a chord with readers, no matter their age or gender. It’s far more than a coming of age tale and however far from the last years of school we are, we do all recall that particular agony of growing up.

Abbey Lay spoke to Barbie about Lead us Not
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Jack Beaumont – Dark Arena

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2024
Cover design Design by Committee
Cover images Alamy, bigbookphoto.com, Andris Molygin

Jack Beaumont writes of the shadowland which is the world of the spy, the parallel reality of secrets, international and personal, that is the everyday life of those employed by our secret services.

Barbie spoke to Jack Beaumont about <em>Dark Arena</em>
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Ayesha Inoon – Untethered

HQ Fiction, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises, a subsidiary of HarperCollinsPublishers, Australia, 2023
Cover design by Hazel Lam HarperCollins Design Studio
Cover artwork by Henna Shironi, The Walking House, 2020, stitched on fabric

This is a migration story, but particularised to the lives of young Sri Lankan couple Zia and Rashid. The telling feels like memoir, so intimate and personal are the reflections, and the fiction has a strong sense of the real and familiar. This will be all the more so for Canberrans, as much of the narrative is set in that city.

Ayesha Inoon talks to Barbie about Untethered
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Hugh Mackay – The Therapist

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2023
Cover design by Mika Tahata

This book is a perfect exemplar of Hugh Mackay’s compassionate and insightful observations of human society. The writing is fluid, sensitive and gently humorous and the plot holds enough mysteries to compel the reader to the denouement.

Hugh Mackay spoke to Barbie about The Therapist
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Emma Grey – The Last Love Note

Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin Random House, Australia, 2023
Cover design by Nikki Townsend Designs
Cover photography by arvitalyaart/Shutterstock

This is a book about intimacy and loss; it is about grief. True, the Mr Darcy type love story bubbles along underneath, carrying the plot to its hopeful conclusion – but in the end even the passage of second love is governed by the grief of our main character, Kate Whitaker.

Barbie talks to Emma Grey about The Last Love Note
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Toni Jordan – Prettier if She Smiled More

Hachette, Australia, 2023
Cover design by Debra Billson
Cover and dinkus illustration concept ‘Donut Girl’ by Beck Feiner, beckfeinercreations.com
Donut Girl body courtesy of Ellegant/Shutterstock

This is such a clever book. Yes, it crash-tackles some serious women’s issues, but it is really about change more broadly and how we deal with it, both personally and as a society.

Toni Jordan talks to Barbie about Prettier if She Smiled More
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Dianne Yarwood – The Wakes

Hachette, Australia, 2023
Cover design by Christabella Designs

 It is true that attending funerals in real life tends to direct our thoughts to our own mortality. It is therefore delightfully fitting that this book, the two main female leads of which take on catering for wakes, is a strong plea to carpe diem.

Dianne Yarwood talks to Barbie about The Wakes
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Neela Janakiramanan – The Registrar

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2022
Cover design by Christabella Designs
Cover photograph: Getty Images

Neela Janakiramanan’s debut is a fiction, but based on her experience as a surgical registrar. The work illuminates publicly reported issues about the deleterious effects of excessive workload on junior doctors and specialist trainees.

Barbie spoke to Neela Janakiramanan about The Registrar
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Sophie Green – Thursdays at Orange Blossom House

Hachette, Australia, 2021

Sophie Green has already proved herself a mistress of the women’s friendship story with The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club and The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle. In each case a group of disparate women come together over an interest – this time it is a yoga class.

Sophie Green talks to Barbie about Thursdays at Orange Blossom House
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