Australia 1945. Until now Kate Dowd has led a sheltered life on Amiens, her family's sprawling sheep station in northern New South Wales. The horrors of war have for the most part left her untouched. But with her father succumbing to wounds he's borne since the Great War, the management of the farm is increasingly falling on Kate's shoulders.
With only the sheep-rearing book The Woolgrower's Companion to guide her, Kate rises to the challenge. However the arrival of two Italian POW labourers unsettles not only the other workers, but Kate too - especially when she finds herself drawn to the enigmatic Luca Canali.
Then she receives devastating news. The farm is near bankrupt and the bank is set to repossess. Given just eight weeks to pay the debt, Kate is now in a race to save everything she holds dear.
'A heart-breaking tale beautifully told . . . This compelling story of war and love, of family and prejudice is magical' Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help
'This sweeping epic set in rural NSW is about love, family and testing our mettle - and it's compulsively readable. Just the thing for those lazy summer days' Marie Claire
Set over ten tumultuous months in 1945, The Woolgrower's Companion is the gripping story of one woman's fight against all odds, and a sweeping tribute to Australia's landscape and its people.
Joy Rhoades was born in Roma in western Queensland, with an early memory of flat country and a broad sky. Growing up, she loved two things best- reading and the bush, whether playing in creek beds and paddocks, or climbing a tree to sit with a book. Her family would visit her grandmother, a fifth generation grazier and a gentle teller of stories of her life on her family's sheep farm.
At 13, Joy left Roma for Brisbane, first for school and then to study law at university. After graduating, she worked all over- first Sydney, then London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and New York. It was in New York that she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the New School University, and wrote much of The Woolgrower's Companion, a novel inspired in part by snippets of her grandmother's life and times.
She now lives in London with her husband and their two young children, but she misses the Australian sky.