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Helen Iles Reviews


The Horse Keepers - Marilyn Rainier - WA

I’m already a fan of yours, as you know, but ‘The Horse Keepers’ is now my favourite. The plot twist at the end was sooo good. As a ‘Dirty Campbell’ myself (my grandmother’s name was Vary Campbell) I certainly empathised with poor Brody. 

You have really picked up, too, on the hatred between the clans. It’s difficult for most people to understand that those feuds still rage but of course they do. I was working in an office in England once and the discussion at lunch-time turned to ancestry. When I joked about being a Dirty Campbell, a Scottish woman at the table turned on me in an absolute rage and said she would never speak to me again as I was a member of this heinous clan – and she didn’t!  

The narrative throughout never falters. I love a novel that highlights contemporary issues and you have explored the self-destructive relationship between the husband and the protagonist in a way that would be very helpful to any victim of domestic abuse. 

Thanks again for an excellent novel.  I shall be very interested to hear what you are working on now.

Fire in the Heartland  -  Tina Haralambakis - Book Editors Club, The Society of Women Writers WA

From the moment I started reading, I couldn't put it down. In fact, from start to finish I was totally engrossed with the pace, suspense, and action of the narrative. Yet equally absorbing was the subtle, yet poignant story of the Darcy family that slowly unraveled to reveal the reasons behind Clarrie's courage and determination to save Bawldy, the brumbies, and herd of Herefords.

Helen's realistic portrayal of an Australian bushifre, construction of characters, plot and subplots, combined with the author's moving account of the burdened animals are overwhelmingly felt by the reader. Oddly enough, the reader becomes part of the scenario, swept into the narrative with all its tensions and conflicts, not to mention the plausible account of an out-of-control bushfire, and its ravaging effects on the physical and social environment ...

A fabulous read I recommend both to young adults and adults.


Fire in the Heartland - Carol Herbert  WA

You bitch! I rode every stride down the mountain on that big grey horse, and ache from the rigorous ride. You put me there in the scene racing ahead of the fire, feeling the heat, and I couldn't stop in case I lost the herd. A fabulous read for all ages.


Bitter Comes the Storm - Pat Fletcher WA

I've just finished reading your book. It's a ripping good yarn and brilliantly told. The pace is so fast I felt I should be panting, and didn't want to put it down. Well done!