Saturday, 10 November 2018

THE SWOOPING MAGPIE by Liza Perrat @LizaPerrat

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I loved Liza Perrat's other book set in 1970s Australia, The Silent Kookaburra, so I pounced on this as soon as it came out!  Also reviewing it for Rosie Amber's Review Team.

In a nutshell: Emotional drama about the plight of unmarried mothers in 1970s Australia, based on true life events.

This is a fictional story about the terrible injustices committed towards young, unmarried mothers in Australia until the 1980s, when they were forced into homes and made to sign papers to give their babies up for adoption, often without even seeing them.  It's hard to imagine such a crime now, but in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when this book is set, a teenage, out-of-wedlock pregnancy was seen as a disgrace to a family, with the girls made to feel like the lowest of the low.  No consideration was given to their feelings, or the resulting trauma they would experience throughout the rest of their lives.  Liza Perrat lists her research material at the back of the book.

Headstrong, pretty and popular Lindsay Townsend has an unhappy childhood with a weak mother and a bully for a father, when she begins an affair with Jon Halliwell, a teacher at her school.  The first half of the book describes not only the passage of the affair and her belief that Jon truly loved her (I loved this part of the book!), but also her time at the home, during which she is finally beaten down.  On a happier note, though, it is there that she made lifelong friends with the other girls who shared her plight.

Jon's treachery is worse than she knows, as the middle of the book shows us, with a truly shocking twist; I was gripped.  We then move to the immediate aftermath of Lindsay's loss, and then to the early 1990s and finally to 2013, as she and her friends aim to right the wrongs done to them.

The books is dialogue-led, with much of the story told in conversation.  The emotions are real, and well-portrayed, and there is no doubt that Liza Perrat has in no way exaggerated the effect on the women who were at the home with Lindsay; I admit to shedding a tear or two during the final ten per cent of the book.  Most of all, though, for anyone who might think, 'well, I wouldn't let that happen to me', Ms Perrat has depicted so well the hopelessness, the reality of being completely trapped and without options, that the girls experienced.  It was, indeed, a different world.  Well worth a read.



  1. I loved this book, and was gripped throughout. As I read it, I guessed that it was based on the truth. When I found out the truth, I was horrified.

  2. Thanks for a great review, Terry ... so glad yo enjoyed it! L x