Sally Hughes 29 October 2012 - 9:17am
The heroines of The Daughters of Mars are Australian sisters Naomi and Sally, who enrol as Red Cross nurses during the First World War.
Fleeing their outback farm, they find themselves face to face with the horrors of Gallipoli. Thomas Keneally excels in exploring how tragedy brings out both the best and the worst in individuals, and his memorable characters – including Mitchie, the indomitable one-legged matron; the eccentric Lady Tarleton; and Kiernan the Quaker – provide some surprising flashes of humour and touching romance amid the carnage. This is a novel which effortlessly balances the epic and the intimate and which, despite its unusual ending, is a profoundly satisfying story.