Release Date: 1st April 2020
Australia, 1914. The world is erupting in war. Jobs are scarce and immigrants unwelcome. For young Catholic Mary O’Donnell, this is not the new life she imagined.
When one foolish night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a loveless marriage, Mary’s reluctant husband Liam escapes to the trenches. With her overbearing mother attempting to control her every decision, Mary flees to Melbourne determined to build a life for herself and her child. There, she forms an unlikely friendship with Protestant army reject Tom Robbins.
But as a shattering betrayal is revealed, Mary must make an impossible choice. Does she embrace the path fate has set for her, or follow the one she longs to take?
From the harshness of a pit village in Scotland to the upheaval of wartime Australia, No Small Shame tells the moving story of love and duty, loyalty and betrayal, and confronting the past before you can seek a future.
ARC received from Impact Press/Ventura Press for an honest review
Australian historical fiction is a genre that I have been reading a lot more of the past year. I have read a lot more more WW2 stories than WW1, so this was a bit different for me.
I was drawn right into No Small Shame. From Scotland to Australia, this sweeping story of love and loss, head and heart had me diving for my book each lunch break, and making me want to have just a couple of minutes more before I headed back to my desk.
Mary and Liam's story is one that has been played out for centuries. Boy meets girl, meets "unfortunate situation". It's just what they do in that situation is where this story goes.
Mary had my heart from our very first meeting. She is a warrior. She is strong and defiant. She fights for herself even when those around her want her to toe the womanly line. She is trapped by circumstance and the time in history, yet she does not keep her down.
Her journey of self awareness and personal growth had me cheering on each endeavour.
My heart hurt, my heart soared, and I was left thinking about the amazing women who paved the way for women today.
Christine Bell is a Melbourne fiction writer. Her adult and children’s short stories have won or been commended in national writing competitions and published in various anthologies. In 2014, she was awarded a Varuna Retreat Fellowship for her YA novel manuscript, Prison Boy. Prior to completing her Master of Creative Writing degree, Christine had 35 short fiction titles published for children. When she is not writing, Chris is learning to play the piano or day dreaming of her next research trip to France. No Small Shame is her first published adult historical novel.