A Charm of Powerful Trouble

Joanne Horniman
AUD $22.95
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This vivid, beautifully crafted and sensuous book gently peels away years of family secrets as it exposes the tangled relationships between sisters, between children and parents, between lovers.

My mother Emma, when she was a girl, dreamed of love, and she got it. She got the days and nights of bliss and the heady fragrance-filled summers, and two more daughters.

Emma dreamed of love, and she got it. And, finally she got the moments of sick despair when she went out into the garden at night and rubbed leaves and dirt into her face and hair. She stood in the dark street and watched night after night the house where we stayed with Claudio and Stella while she was left alone.

I was thirteen. My life, which I'd feared would be ordinary, had proved to be full of wonders, and I expected that more would come to me in the future.

I'd witnessed a bat draw its last breath. I'd seen my sister, in the moonlight, lift up her voice in song. A red butterfly had blossomed from my own body. I had ridden as fast as the wind.

I had drawn blood with my first kiss.


In this sensuous, evocative novel, Joanne Horniman meditates on the forces between sisters, between parent and child, between lovers. She captures and releases the richness of each successive moment in layers of circling stories and vivid images, on themes of love, guilt, secrets and the mystery of growing up and growing older.

Author bio:

Joanne Horniman has spent most of her life in country New South Wales, apart from a few years in Sydney and some time travelling overseas. She has worked as an editor, teacher and artist - some of the posters she helped produce are in the print collection of the Australian National Gallery. She has written many books for children and teenagers, including Secret Scribbled Notebooks (A+U 2004), winner of the 2005 Qld Premier's Literary Award and shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's and CBCA Awards. A Charm of Powerful Trouble (A+U 2002) was shortlisted for three Premier's Literary awards, and Mahalia (A+U 2001) was a CBC Honour book, and also shortlisted for numerous awards. Her next book with Allen + Unwin, to be published in 2008, will be a companion volume to Secret Scribbled Notebooks.

Category: Young adult fiction
ISBN: 9781865088372
Awards: Short-listed NSW Premier's Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize for YA Fiction 2003 AU; Short-listed VIC Premier's Literary Awards, Prize for Young Adult Fiction 2003 AU; Short-listed QLD Premier's Literary Awards, Young Adult Fiction 2003 AU
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Pub Date: September 2002
Page Extent: 288
Format: Paperback
Age: 15 - 18
Subject: Young adult fiction

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