The Thorn Birds

Colleen McCullough


Historical Fiction

Book Club, Better Reading 2016



‘Treasured by readers around the world, this is the sweeping saga of three generations of the Cleary family. Stoic matriarch Fee, her devoted husband, Paddy, and their headstrong daughter, Meggie, experience joy, sadness and magnificent triumph in the cruel Australian outback. With life’s unpredictability, it is love that is their unifying thread, but it is a love shadowed by the anguish of forbidden passions. For Meggie loves Father Ralph de Bricassart, a man who wields enormous power within the Catholic Church.’

This book took me 3 very long months to read. At first it was a struggle. In fact I struggled well into the book. It wasn’t until Luke came on to the scene that the book picked up some pace and I became more and more interested, and found it harder to put down.

Until Luke, I found myself skipping copious amounts of text to get to the dialogue. I didn’t see why the book had to be so long. If only McCullough had cut parts out and not fluffed about so much, I would have been more intrigued. In fact to begin with I hated Fee and thought Ralph was a paedophile.

However I am incredibly glad that I powered through this book. It has taken me on an unexpected emotional roller coaster. Especially that ending. At times I did find the book slightly predictable and then something would happen that would throw me.

It is great to see that McCullough puts a lot of research in and does the scenes justice. I have read too many books recently that seem to make light of the war. Each of her characters is well thought out. They have flaws but all develop and grow by the end of the book, which you would hope in a book that size.

I now cannot wait to watch the mini series.

My recommendation: Power through it because this book is well worth it.