Where the Trees Were is Inga Simpson’s third book and it’s her best yet by a long way in my opinion. Set in farming country, four children from different families grown up together, spending most of their time by or in the river that goes through Jayne’s family property. Jayne is the only girl which has never been an issue, but as they get to the end of primary school, Kieran and Jayne start to look at each other differently.
The book goes back and forth from these childhood years to Jayne (now known as Jay) as an adult working in Canberra as an art conservationist. In a slow build up, you realise that Jay is now trying to right the wrongs of the past committed on an aboriginal burial ground on her family property.
There is quite of bit of interesting art history and detail of the process of identifying art pieces which I enjoyed. I had never heard of ‘arborglyphs’ before for example. (You’ll have to read the book to find out!) The sense of place, in particular the river scenes are especially vivid, but Canberra is well drawn too. The characters are believable, interesting and ones you care about.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyably story. $30