Burning Fields

Burning Fields

1948. The world is struggling to regain a sense of balance after the devastation of World War II, and the sugar cane-growing community of Piri River in northern Queensland is no exception.As returned servicemen endeavour to adjust to their pre-war lives, women who had worked for the war effort are expected to embrace traditional roles once more.Rosie Stanton finds it diffi...

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Title:Burning Fields
Author:Alli Sinclair
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Burning Fields Reviews

  • Brenda

    Rosie Stanton was heading home from Brisbane to her family’s cane farm, Tulpil in Piri River, northern Queensland. Her thoughts were in turmoil – she knew her parents, especially her father would be against her returning home to stay, but that’s what she wanted to do. The Sicilian passenger on the bus whom she was seated beside was an interesting companion, but when she discovered Tomas Conti was also disembarking in Piri River she was surprised; learning his family owned the property adjoining

    Rosie Stanton was heading home from Brisbane to her family’s cane farm, Tulpil in Piri River, northern Queensland. Her thoughts were in turmoil – she knew her parents, especially her father would be against her returning home to stay, but that’s what she wanted to do. The Sicilian passenger on the bus whom she was seated beside was an interesting companion, but when she discovered Tomas Conti was also disembarking in Piri River she was surprised; learning his family owned the property adjoining Tulpil was a bigger shock. She knew what her father’s thoughts would be on that…

    It was 1948; the war was over but the turmoil remaining wasn’t. Rosie had lost her brother Geoffrey, and Alex was still missing in action – although they hadn’t lost hope, it was fading. Tomas also had secrets he was keeping from his time during the war years in Italy. Would Tomas settle and find peace in Australia? He knew Rosie’s kind and generous nature could help him – if he let her.

    When Rosie’s dad suffered a stroke, Rosie took over the running of the farm. But she struggled against everything that was tradition as well as a definite threat at having a woman in the role. What would be the outcome in this male dominated world; a world which Rosie wanted to improve, to see women equal to men?

    is an excellent historical fiction novel by Aussie author Alli Sinclair, set just after the second world war and focusing on the Australians and immigrant Italians (among others) Set in far north Queensland, the vastness of the cane fields, the racism and ostracization which is still around in today’s world, and the struggle of women who’d worked a man’s role when the men were off at war, then having to return to being the “little woman” around the house when the men wanted their old jobs back. An intriguing, fascinating story,

    is one I highly recommend.

    With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital copy to read and review.

  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *

    Burning Fields, the latest novel from Australian author Alli Sinclair, melds together love, the past, war and sacrifice, all within the one involving tale. Sinclair takes her novel to the sugar cane fields of Queensland, just after the close of World War II. The tale that emerges is a powerful one that echoes Australia of times past.

    Burning Fields takes the reader to a time of great flux, the year 1948. The action of this novel is set in the sugar cane field

    *

    Burning Fields, the latest novel from Australian author Alli Sinclair, melds together love, the past, war and sacrifice, all within the one involving tale. Sinclair takes her novel to the sugar cane fields of Queensland, just after the close of World War II. The tale that emerges is a powerful one that echoes Australia of times past.

    Burning Fields takes the reader to a time of great flux, the year 1948. The action of this novel is set in the sugar cane fields of Northern Queensland. While many in this region, across the country and the globe are coming to terms with the devastation of the World War II, Rosie Stanton is making the journey home. After being away from the family sugar cane farm for a number of years while serving in the Australian Women’s Army Services, Rosie Stanton makes the difficult trek home. With her brothers lost to the war, Rosie is the only remaining Stanton left to help manage her family’s fledging farm. But Rosie struggles trying to assert her place at home again. Her father is unwilling to let her take on the reins of the property and she clashes with him over his attitude to the Italian family that neighbour their farm. But when Rosie’s father’s health takes a turn for the worst, Rosie steps up and begins to take over the operations of the family farm. Despite the misgivings and oppositions from many, including her own father, Rosie is determined to succeed. Linked to Rosie’s story is that of Tomas Conti, a young Italian man who has survived the war and now works with his family on their farm, which is situated next door to the Stanton farm. Tension and attraction arises between Rosie and Tomas when their worlds collide. However, the secrets each has, their past and the opposition from their respective families means this couple may never get their happy ever after.

    Burning Fields marks another stellar new release that I have been eagerly anticipating with bated breath. I have loved each and every one of Alli Sinclair’s novels. She always manages to transport her reader to a different historical landscape and fully immerse her audience in her unfolding narrative. Burning Fields is no exception and I loved how Sinclair combined the Italian World War II experience, to Australia’s not too distant past, with our current climate. I was extremely impressed with Alli’s latest effort.

    Burning Fields has a fantastic and highly engaging narrative structure. It works on a double time frame narrative and both storylines draw the reader in with complete ease. We first travel with Rosie, the leading lady of this tale, from Brisbane to her home town, which is situated in Northern Queensland, near the Piri River. We are also taken via flashbacks to Italy in the heat of the war, as we unearth Tomas Conti, the lead male protagonist in this novel’s past. Each storyline is carefully composed and rich in detail. I was fully immersed in each storyline that featured in Burning Fields.

    All Sinclair shows us what she is made of and yet again composes a setting that is fully entrenched in the time and place of the locale in which she is presenting to her readership. I am always in awe of Sinclair’s ability to so easily transport her reader to a specific historical panorama and Burning Fields is no exception. We effortlessly move from the perilous and suspicious times of World War II Italy, to post World War II Australia. In moving the reader to the year 1948, Sinclair works to highlight the social climate of this time. She puts the spotlight on racial prejudice (particularly for Italians), expectations of women and the intense feelings of loss experienced by those on the home front. For me personally, the starring feature of this book was the focus on women’s history and the challenges women faced adjusting to roles on the domestic front after committing to jobs of great responsibility, or man’s work during the war. Sinclair does an absolutely superb job of outlining a feminist history of Australian women during the post World War II period.

    Another wonderful feature of Burning Fields are the rich descriptions of the sugar cane fields and the farms that keep this industry ticking over. There are some healthy descriptions contained in this novel of the process of sugar cane farming, which I found enlightening. There were many times during my reading of this novel that I could feel myself walking through the cane fields. Sinclair has obviously completed her homework on this aspect of her novel and it shines through her novel.

    Sinclair’s main character, Rosie Stanton was a real trailblazer and clearly well ahead of her time. This fierce heroine left quite the impression on me. I appreciated the secret that followed Rosie and why she left her lucrative position in Brisbane with the Women’s Army, to return to her family’s farm. Her first interaction with Tomas on the bus was spellbinding and I found myself completed invested in their potential romance from the very beginning. Romance is Sinclair’s forte and she nails it in this novel. I loved the mix of romance, secrets, past hindrances and family opposition that followed this couple. It wasn’t a standard pathway to love, but when it finally reached its destination, I was over the moon with the final result.

    There are some fantastic themes covered in Burning Fields. From racial discrimination, sexism, misogyny, alcoholism, grief, loss, PTSD, addiction, forbidden love and family traditions/culture. If you are a lover of all things Italian expect to be dazzled by the scenes involving Tomas’ family and their delectable food, as well as traditional Italian customs. There is also a rich historical element to this novel. Sinclair explores fascism, the influence of Mussolini, the treatment of the Italian people in Australia and she highlights the experience of internment camps. Finally, I must mention the flooring secret twist towards the close of the novel, it made me gasp! I didn’t see it coming, but it added another great layer to this tale.

    I know in reading a recent piece on this novel by the very talented author Alli Sinclair that she wanted to write a story that would resonate with readers today. Sinclair also intended for Burning Fields to spark some talk around the conditions for women, as well as immigrants and how these stigmas have changed or remained the same. Well Alli, I think you have fulfilled this expectation and more. I implore all readers to seek out Burning Fields, the latest historical fiction title from Alli Sinclair.

    *I wish to thank Harlequin-Mira for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

    Burning Fields is book #53 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge

  • Theresa Smith Writes

    I enjoyed Burning Fields so much, it really was such a treat to read. Alli Sinclair is a writer who never fails to deliver a great story, and while this newest release of hers is a little different to her previous novels, established fans can rest assured that it contains all of the usual Alli magic. For those who have not read any of Alli’s novels, this is a great one to start with.

    I always feel a connection to the stories Alli writes. In this instance, it was the setting. I spent my teenage ye

    I enjoyed Burning Fields so much, it really was such a treat to read. Alli Sinclair is a writer who never fails to deliver a great story, and while this newest release of hers is a little different to her previous novels, established fans can rest assured that it contains all of the usual Alli magic. For those who have not read any of Alli’s novels, this is a great one to start with.

    I always feel a connection to the stories Alli writes. In this instance, it was the setting. I spent my teenage years living on a Queensland cane farm. It’s common for cane farms to have more than one house, harking back to the days when a farm supported multiple generations. These days, only one generation will usually work a farm and some farmers even live in town, rather than on the farm itself. That was the case for us, we were renting a farm house that was no longer needed, but the cane was at our back fence, and the work sheds were just outside our kitchen window, so we were very much in the thick of it. That roar of a cane fire, the snapping and popping, the sweet smell; it’s like no other sort of fire, the way it rears up and then burns itself out. While the town I was in was not as far north as the one in this novel, it still had a high population of Italian immigrants; my own husband is third generation. This novel was filled with so many familiar things, the nostalgia had me reading long into the night and over breakfast the next day. I loved Burning Fields and it’s going to remain a firm favourite of mine.

    Peopled with a cast of all sorts, Burning Fields is a novel that is so rich in atmosphere and authenticity. From the traditionalist father/progressive daughter dynamic to the ease of best friends who have known each other forever, brothers and sisters, men and their Nonnas; the relationships and character interactions were second to none. I adored Rosie, her big heart, her progressivism, and her willingness to work to secure her family’s legacy, she was such a great heroine to follow. She never once frustrated me, I was championing her the whole way, no matter what, or who, she was turning her hand to.

    I really enjoyed Tomas’s story and the way it was presented. War complicates so much, and for those who had to live under constant threat, their stories all no doubt contain many shades of grey. For countries such as Italy, who switched sides during the war and were also occupied by both the Allies and the Nazis, their people were put under enormous strain to resist and conform, in equal measure. I had so much admiration for Tomas and for Nonna, with her secret network of women. That’s a story I’d love to read more on! I thought Alli did so well with piecing together a valid picture of Australia post WWII. The roles of women reverting, the racism and suspicion attached to immigrants from certain nationalities, the contention associated with mixed marriages, men suffering from survivor guilt and PTSD expected to just pick up the reins and get on with it; all of these issues were woven tightly into the narrative and explored with thorough authenticity.

    While Burning Fields is driven by a love story, it’s very firmly an historical fiction, an exploration of multi-cultural history within Australia against a background of social change. This novel has wide appeal and I will be recommending it highly far and wide.

    Thanks is extended to Harper Collins Publishers Australia for providing me with a copy of Burning Fields for review.

  • Sharon

    This brilliantly written story takes place in 1948 not long after the Second World War. After many years of working for the Australian Women's Army Service Rosie Stanton heads home to the family farm.

    Rosie knew it was never going to be easy to return home after losing her brothers in the war. Home as she knew it would never be the same and when her father takes ill, Rosie has to take over the running of the farm. Having a female take on these duties was frowned upon by many and they were just w

    This brilliantly written story takes place in 1948 not long after the Second World War. After many years of working for the Australian Women's Army Service Rosie Stanton heads home to the family farm.

    Rosie knew it was never going to be easy to return home after losing her brothers in the war. Home as she knew it would never be the same and when her father takes ill, Rosie has to take over the running of the farm. Having a female take on these duties was frowned upon by many and they were just waiting for her to fail.

    Having never read any books by Aussie author Alli Sinclair I was uncertain what to expect when I started this book, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. Historical fiction is a favourite genre of mine and this was historical fiction at its best in my opinion. Beautifully written story that I thoroughly enjoyed and have no hesitation in highly recommending it to everyone who enjoys reading historical fiction.

  • Shomeret

    I was approached by author Alli Sinclair to review her latest novel, Burning Fields. I was interested in reading about Rosie, Alli Sinclair's independent heroine. So I requested an ARC which was sent to me by the publisher via Net Galley.

    As the novel opens in the post-WWII era, Australian Rosie Stanton has been living on her own in Brisbane and is accustomed to making her own decisions, but harassment at her job has forced her to return to the family farm. I found her situation very relatable fr

    I was approached by author Alli Sinclair to review her latest novel, Burning Fields. I was interested in reading about Rosie, Alli Sinclair's independent heroine. So I requested an ARC which was sent to me by the publisher via Net Galley.

    As the novel opens in the post-WWII era, Australian Rosie Stanton has been living on her own in Brisbane and is accustomed to making her own decisions, but harassment at her job has forced her to return to the family farm. I found her situation very relatable from the outset. Other American readers may have a similar reaction since the MeToo movement has increased awareness of workplace harassment. Sexist attitudes were pervasive during this period. Rosie had to fight for respect from her father and the surrounding community.

    Some wonderful exceptions to the denigration of women were the hero, Tomas Conti, and his family who owned the farm next door to the Stantons. As Italians, they were victims of prejudice mainly resulting from Italy having been an enemy during WWII. Yet Rosie's father had more personal reasons for his animus against Italians. This anti-Italian bigotry was one of the obstacles in the path of HEA for Rosie and Tomas.

    I thought that Burning Fields was a beautiful and moving romance. Rosie's feminism and the foregrounding of post-WWII antagonism against immigrants from countries that had been Axis Powers may cause readers to think about these issues.

    For my complete review see

  • Janine

    A really interesting, well written story.

  • Kylie D

    A wonderful book that sees Rosie returning to her family home, a cane farm in far north Queensland, after spending the years of the WW2, and those just after it, in Brisbane. Even though both of her brothers were lost during the war her parents don't seem too thrilled to have her back home. However, after her father becomes incapacitated after suffering from a stroke, Rosie steps up to start to run the farm, much to her father's dismay. He doesn't see it as "women's work", even though Rosie is a

    A wonderful book that sees Rosie returning to her family home, a cane farm in far north Queensland, after spending the years of the WW2, and those just after it, in Brisbane. Even though both of her brothers were lost during the war her parents don't seem too thrilled to have her back home. However, after her father becomes incapacitated after suffering from a stroke, Rosie steps up to start to run the farm, much to her father's dismay. He doesn't see it as "women's work", even though Rosie is a strong independent woman who is more than capable of doing a good job. Nor does he like her being friendly with "the dagos next door", the Conti family who have recently immigrated from Italy.

    Rosie finds herself drawn to Tomas Conti, a survivor of the war in Italy, and their growing attraction is hindered by his demons from the war, as well as her family's distrust. Then Rosie stumbles across a family secret that will turn her entire world upside down. Rosie's confusion as to her place, Tomas' reticence to talk about the past and a new stranger in town sprouting vitriol against Tomas all combine to bring about a powerful finale, both emotionally and to the magnificent land of the cane fields as well.

    Alli Sinclair weaves a tale about growing love, during a time when racism and sexism is rife. Where some characters seem stereotypical clichés, others, like Rosie and Tomas are beautifully drawn. All told, Burning Fields is an enduring story that wont be forgotten in a hurry. I recommend this book to all readers.

  • Katie B

    3.5 stars

    I'll admit I decided to read this book because it sounded like it would be a nice, little romance taking place in Australia a few years after World War 2. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see there was so much more going on with the story and it had some substance.

    Rosie Stanton has returned home to her family's sugar cane farm in Queensland. She wants to help her father out by doing the books, but he seems to think a woman doesn't have any business working on the farm. He also is

    3.5 stars

    I'll admit I decided to read this book because it sounded like it would be a nice, little romance taking place in Australia a few years after World War 2. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see there was so much more going on with the story and it had some substance.

    Rosie Stanton has returned home to her family's sugar cane farm in Queensland. She wants to help her father out by doing the books, but he seems to think a woman doesn't have any business working on the farm. He also isn't happy Rosie has met Italian immigrant Tomas Conti whose family owns the neighboring farm. And while the war might be over, scars still remain that might prevent everyone from moving on with their lives.

    The story went back and forth between Rosie in 1948 Australia and Tomas in Italy during the war. The book deals with some heavy subjects including sexism, racism, and substance abuse which really add depth to the story. Definitely recommend as a romance because the chemistry between Rosie and Tomas is good but there's also enough to the story to enjoy as just a general fiction/ historical fiction novel as well.

    I won a free advance digital copy from a giveaway. I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

  • Veronica ⭐️

    3.5 Stars

    I love Alli Sinclair’s books and was excited to read a book where one of my favourite authors joined one of my favourite genres, Australian Historical Fiction. However this book just didn’t do it for me. It was well written and the story-line was good but somewhere along the line the delivery fell flat.

    The story revolves around Rosie, a third generation cane grower, and Tomas, newly immigrated from Italy.

    The story touches on issues of racism, women’s worth, the effects of the war on f

    3.5 Stars

    I love Alli Sinclair’s books and was excited to read a book where one of my favourite authors joined one of my favourite genres, Australian Historical Fiction. However this book just didn’t do it for me. It was well written and the story-line was good but somewhere along the line the delivery fell flat.

    The story revolves around Rosie, a third generation cane grower, and Tomas, newly immigrated from Italy.

    The story touches on issues of racism, women’s worth, the effects of the war on family and PTSD.

    Rosie was just too overbearing for my liking. I liked she was strong and stubborn but the way she told everyone off about opening up but held her own demons in irked me.

    The story had too many weak characters that made it a little depressing.

    I would still recommend it as a good read, just not fabulous, because it’s interesting to see how far we have and haven’t come in men’s attitude towards women.

    This review is part of the Beauty & Lace bookclub

    See the original bookclub review

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