When an invitation to travel across Australia on the Ghan for her mother’s seventieth birthday comes her way, she is at first apprehensive. But the trip offers a precious opportunity to spend some quality time with both her disgruntled mother, Valeria, and her distant daughter, Holly, as well as her meddling great-aunt, Myrtle. The four generations of the family, all single women, will be reunited at last.
As the iconic train chugs its way beneath majestic desert skies, Aggie’s difficult past resurfaces, her business comes under threat, and long-held family rifts reignite. To complicate things further, she’s distracted by the attentions of a handsome younger man on his own search for meaning in some of the country’s most remote and magical places.
I really enjoyed the armchair travel on the Ghan and all the touristy day outings the characters embarked on.
Josephine Moon has included many topical issues spread between the women and many of these start out as little mysteries. I won't go into the themes as it will spoil the suspense for readers.
Aggie has the most on her plate; A rift to try and repair with her mother, a business that has an untimely problem, a daughter that has become closed off and a moral dilemma that can’t be put off any longer. However all Aggie’s good intentions are waylaid when she meets the handsome, and much younger, Harry, and spends the trip sightseeing with him.The story is told through three narratives giving the reader a good insight into these characters’ inner thoughts and feelings about themselves and each other. Through backstory we get to know more about the formation of the characters’ current relationships.
The train journey ends up being more of a soul searching trip than a bonding session.
I personally felt there were too many topical themes introduced and most of them weren’t fully explored which made their inclusion come across as somewhat contrived. For me, the exploration of the family’s disconnect and the IVF theme would have been enough to hold my interest.
The Jam Queens is sure to be popular amongst contemporary fiction readers with messages of resilience, family and love, plus an assured happy ending.
3.5 /5 ⭐⭐⭐½
About the author
Josephine Moon was born and raised in Brisbane, had a false start in environmental science before completing a Bachelor of Arts in communication and then a postgraduate degree in education. Twelve years and ten manuscripts later, her first novel, The Tea Chest, was picked up for publication and then shortlisted for an ABIA award. Her bestselling contemporary fiction is published internationally.
Photo credit Goodreads
In 2018, Josephine organised the 'Authors for Farmers' appeal, raising money to assist drought-affected farming communities. She is passionate about literacy, and is a proud sponsor of Story Dogs and The Smith Family. She now lives in the beautiful Noosa hinterland.
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