From Frances Richardson, Midland, Western Australia
The first thing I would like to say about Where the Waratahs Bloom is that I did not want it to end. Ingrid M. Smith’s novel is about many things but at the core is a family beset by an illness, which offers many challenges, both physical and psychological.
Around this family, Where the Waratahs Bloom weaves a story about the farm, Cheshunt, its history contrasting this with farming in the late 20th century. I particularly liked how Cheshunt was central and involved many other lives, those of extended family and those whose lives it touched.
This is an Australian story, of people living in the bush, their loves, hopes, frustrations, and accomplishments through adversity. And, of course, Waratahs. I thoroughly recommend it.
From Judith Frenda, Gymea Bay, Sydney
I’ve just finished reading it over three days and I really loved it. I found it to be a real ‘page turner’ and I was anxious to reach the end to see the outcome of Stella’s illness. The book incorporated other smaller stories about people like Sean Stevens, interweaving the dominant one about the impact of Stella’s illness on herself and her family. Family history as well provided an interesting background to the main characters. The characterisation of each person (and their reactions) was spot on and reveals the author’s power of observation in real life. It is a well structured novel, its beginning tying in so well with its conclusion. There was also some humour which always appeals to me. The payment of the outstanding fees after the intrusion of the eavesdropper was hilarious. You have a handle on describing people’s emotions, particularly a mother’s reactions to a suffering child. I said to daughter Kate, ‘I wish I could write like Ingrid.’ I love books which are educative and that applies to ‘Where the Waratahs Bloom.’
From M. Macauley, Canterbury, Sydney.
This book is a revelation! I never dreamed that small kids could have rheumatoid arthritis. It’s true, isn’t it? It must be. It is so Australian. Just love the detail of the bush life.
From Christine Sargeant of Mount Colah in Sydney:
I am loving your book and resent having to put it down! (We have to eat I suppose) I have so many friends who would love it too.
My book club book is The Handmaids Tale - I just can't bring myself to read it. Your book is so much more uplifting. I have tried growing Waratahs with no success. Now I understand why. Are you going to write a sequel to Stella's story?
From Deborah McCarthy, Sydney.
I love your book, Ingrid. It is so well written. I just can’t put it down. I can relate to the characters so well. They are so real.
From Tony Stevens, Sydney
Highly captivating story, obviously a real life scenario. Excellent characterisation. This lady can write!!
From Brian Thorp of Canberra
I've always admired your equitational achievements of course but didn't know of your literary ones. Well done you. I shall now think of you as the Colleen McCullough of Dalmeny.
From Lyn White, Australind, Western Austraila
Congratulations on your beautifully written and presented novel, Ingrid! I was completely engrossed, not only by the anguish and frustration expressed through the years of your daughter's mysterious illness, but also your knowledge of, and involvement with horses; all of which is enriched by your obvious love for the environment in which the story takes place.