letters / review

Dear Fran, Love Dulcie: Life and Death in the Hills and Hollows of Bygone Australia published by Victoria Twead

This was a wild ride. Someone on a message board had said they read it and I was intrigued because I watch and read a lot of Australian content but it’s all fictional. I thought it would be interesting to see what life was really like back in rural Australia 70 or so years ago.

It is letters between Fran, a woman in the Detroit area, and Dulcie, a woman in the Australian outback. Fran’s life seems pretty basic, a husband and a son and she writes faithfully to Dulcie for many years and even sends her presents which Dulcie appreciates. From the beginning, Dulcie’s life seemed larger than life. She’s growing pineapples, fighting dust storms, tending to animals, and a garden. She has children and pets who seem to constantly get injured and even die. The letters take place over a good number of years with some gaps but they keep in touch.

I have to say right from early on some of Dulcie’s stories didn’t seem right to me. Just too many misfortunes and drama. But then what do I know of rural 1950s and 1960s Australia? I know from other books you really can be alone out there and things happen. I couldn’t shake the feeling something was off though. I thought it was odd that Fran’s presents to her always seemed to arrive but her presents to Fran didn’t.

At any rate, the book went on and I enjoyed reading the letters. Then suddenly Fran gets word that Dulcie has died after a long period with no letters. What shock!

What was even more shocking was that when Victoria Twead came into possession of the letters she decided to see if she could contact Dulcie’s family and found out that Dulcie had only died quite recently, decades after the “death” letter.

I don’t know if anyone else reads the afterward but judging from other reviews, I’m guessing not! I’d love to know what was true in her letters and what wasn’t. Her family did not want to get into many details about the reality of their mother’s life.

One thought on “Dear Fran, Love Dulcie: Life and Death in the Hills and Hollows of Bygone Australia published by Victoria Twead

  1. Pingback: What I Read in August | Rachel Reads Books

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