Book Club: Worth Fighting For

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Author: Mary-Anne O’Connor
ISBN: 9781489210555
RRP: $29.99

This story opens with 18 year old Junie Wallace in Braidwood, NSW, and with that I was hooked. I am a sucker for a book set in a well known place, and though I have never spent a lot of time in Braidwood it’s somewhere that I have always driven through on family holidays.


I have never really been a huge fan of books set during times of war, though of late there have been quite a few that involve the war and I have really enjoyed them.

Worth Fighting For had quite a slow start and it took me a while to really get invested after being hooked by Braidwood on the first page.

Junie Wallace is a very clever girl who loves her life on the farm, though it’s not quite as carefree as it once was. Her brothers are away fighting the war, her parents are struggling, her father is drinking and Junie has captured the attention of a wealthy local who steps in to keep the farm afloat – for a price.

Ernest Farthington was a detestable character who really just made my skin crawl from the very beginning. He was beyond egotistical and he thought his money could buy him whatever he wanted, and the fact that his mother enabled his belief in himself as the greatest gift to the universe certainly didn’t help.

Very early on I knew what I wanted to happen, how I wanted it all to play out and it wasn’t anything like what really happened which I think is a good thing because it made it much less predictable.

The amount of betrayal and dishonesty and adultery rampant throughout the novel was a little off putting, but it was important to the story. Junie was a very clever girl, she had the book smarts to come first in her year when she left school but she was still pretty naive about the ways of the world.

Junie was in love with a boy who wasn’t quite of her class but he was a good man and he loved her. Unfortunately Ernest had made his decision and put Junie in a position where she didn’t feel that she could follow her heart, for the good of her family she felt she had to make the marriage of convenience and ensure her brothers had a home to return to.

This wasn’t an ideal situation and those who knew were totally against her making the choice to sacrifice her happiness but Junie was known for her selflessness and she wanted to do what she could for her family. As Junie moves towards her future as Mrs Farthington the second world war moves ever closer to home.

worth-fighting-for

Worth Fighting For includes some fascinating historical war facts and detail that allowed me a view of the war that I hadn’t had previously. The bombings of Pearl Harbor, Darwin and Sydney are all included for a look at the ripple effect it had and the way that so many lives from across the world are entwined.

O’Connor starts the novel in Braidwood but being wartime the characters are quite well traveled so we spend time in Braidwood, Sydney, Darwin, Hawaii, Port Moresby and the New Guinea rainforests.

Junie’s marriage is a lie but that is only the beginning of the web of lies she finds herself in. I could understand and empathise with her agreeing to the marriage but after that things seemed to get all a little too tangled even for her. The lies built until they towered over her and she wasn’t sure how to get out. I could understand her getting in the situation but after that she really did make things worse for herself. She may have spent a lot of her life as the very plain smart girl but once she filled out she started attracting attention and it takes her a long time to realise it, some of her predicaments could have been avoided with a little less naivety.

Ultimately Worth Fighting For is a tale of love, of hanging on and holding out hope when all seems lost. A tale of enduring through hardship and learning to live with the nightmares; a tale of hope, of loss, of friendship, betrayal and resilience. It’s also quite the illustration of the difference between the classes.

The world has come a long way since World War II, though at times it doesn’t really seem that far. The racism, the sexism and the ignorance was at times quite irritating to read, to think of the way people were treated because of their differences.

In the end I really loved this book, I enjoyed the way it played out though I did find the ending a little disappointing. There were some great twists that really messed with my emotional equilibrium but I think that’s the mark of a good book.

Worth Fighting For is book #58 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.

Available now from Harlequin, Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

You can find Mary-Anne at her Website as well as on Facebook.

Everyone is going to have a different take on this one I think and I will be interested to hear what our readers think.
Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Worth Fighting For so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

21 thoughts on “Book Club: Worth Fighting For

  1. My sister lives close to Braidwood. I’ve been there and it is one of those towns that are worth a stop over to look around. We stopped off at a milk bar there for lunch and it was like being back in the 60s. Looking forward to reading this book as lots of places I know in the book.

  2. The author, Mary-Anne O’Connor describes events, images in this book to perfection. Upon entering this book I was instantly left with the emotions of injustice and frustration.

    Impoverished, extremely attractive 18 year old June (better known as Junie) out of obligation, duty and responsibility to her struggling family, agrees to marry Ernest, the rich, self absorbed son of a neighbouring Braidwood property. As the story unfolds new characters are introduced and the events of the war are retold in emotional detail – bombing of Pearl Harbour, Darwin, the 3 Japanese submarines entering Sydney Harbour and finally the battles in Papua New Guinea.

    Fallen on hard times, June’s father struggles with the loss of his three sons during World War 2, one of which has tragically died. Her father turns to drink. A common of that era theme is evident early; that of the resilience of women (June and her mother), who in this case try to hold the family together. Ernest comes to their financial aid, taking on the financial and organisational burden of the farm. June is torn between duty to her family and the love she holds for her long term sweet heart, Michael who works on Ernest’s family farm. Ernest states early in the book “Tell me now if you want out of this, Junie. I can cut your parents off whenever you say”.

    We are exposed to Ernest’s ruthlessness and control over Junie when he admits their union isn’t an act of love and it’s obvious he is marrying Junie as a trophy wife. Now living in Sydney, Ernest is an aspiring parliamentarian and it becomes obvious he will do anything to further his career. Whilst reading this book you still hold onto hope that Junie will decide on the side of love, as a real strength of her character is evident.

    I became frustrated as Junie becomes engaged to both men at the same time but marries Ernest whilst secretly 2 months pregnant with Michael’s child. Grrrr.

    The years progress in a loveless marriage, living a farce of a life with her domineering husband. But finally Junie realises her potential for learning and attends Sydney University, qualifying as a lawyer.

    The book then jumps to 1949 as she moves with Ernest to Papua New Guinea for his career advancement as an Ambassador; leaving her 6 year old daughter in boarding school in Sydney, at the insistence of her husband. Junie rekindles an old acquaintance in PNG; Marlon, an American officer from WW2. Junie also discovers potential evidence that Michael may have lived after his fated plane crash whilst on duty in the War in 1943. Embarking on an expedition for the truth, she enters the remotest parts of PNG, only to discover the mentally damaged shell of a man she once loved.

    Realising she must put the past behind her and move forward she makes some life changing decisions upon her return from the expedition; finally asking Ernest for a divorce, advising Michael’s family that Francesca is Michael’s child and moving on with a new chance at happiness with pilot Marlon.

    This book finally ends on a happy note, thank goodness. So much injustice, wasted years at happiness and innocent suffering were underlying aspects of this book. Thank goodness there was a chance for a bright future for the book’s very likable main character, Junie.

  3. Thankyou BeautyandLace and Harlequin for giving me the opportunity to review’Worth Fighting For’ by Mary-Anne O’Connor.
    We read of Junie Wallace an educated eighteen year old living in idealic Braidwood in New South Wales. She has many close friends in the area including Michael Riley and his sisters, but owing to her parents, deeply bereaved because of the loss of a son, she feels obliged for their sake to marry Ernest Farthington. Her parents are in debt to the wealthy Farthington family with her future mother-in-law Constance, an unpleasant woman always being difficult to deal with.
    We see Junie at nineteen now living with Ernest in Sydney becoming a mother to Francesca (Frankie) but still in close contact with her Braidwood friends.
    The book has details of how the war affected Sydney and indeed the whole of Australia with men being signed up. We read of Pearl Harbour, Darwin and New Guinea, New Guinea being where Junie and Ernest go to fulfil his promotion, something Junie doesn’t want to do.
    The details of battles and hardship were graphic with many good Aussie sayings and humour. However it was a sad time for all and parts of the book I found touching. The descriptions of terrain and scenery were great. I found it very easy to read and towards the end I just couldn’t put the bok down I just had to keep reading!
    Of particular interest to me were the acknowledgements at the end of the book. I would have liked to have read this first as it made the characters come to life. It was a book that could have been a true story, excellently written the characters being so believable and real, a great read.

  4. Worth Fighting For by Mary-Anne O’Connor follows the story of 18 year old Junie Wallace. a country girl whose family property falls on hard times and is rescued by wealthy neighbour Ernest Farthington, but at a huge price. Junie must marry the detestable Ernest.
    The ripple effect of this last for many years.
    O’Connor describes the hardship that World War 11 has on Australia, the lengths young men will go too to enlist underage to go off to fight for their country.
    We hear about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Darwin and Sydney and the horrific battles in The Pacific Theatre, Japanese occupation of Singapore and New Guinea.
    Throughout this we learn of the Aussie mateship, courage, loyalty, love and sacrifice.
    Well written and very enjoyable with historical facts throughout the book that will appeal to many. I really enjoyed reading this book and will read O’Connor’s earlier book Gallipoli Street and keep an eye out for future works.
    The front cover of the book is a stunning photo of a young couple in 1940’s dress embracing with a backdrop of the ocean, Navy Warships and War Planes flying overhead.

  5. Worth Fighting For by Mary-Anne O’Connor.
    Thankyou for the opportunity to read this book. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys romance and historical stories.

    Junie is the main character, she has agreed to marry Ernest Farthington, although she is in love with someone else. The war has seen Junie’s family suffer with the loss of one son overseas and her 2 brothers still fighting overseas. Her Father and Mother haven’t coped and the family farm is in debt to the Farthington family. Ernest settles the debts but in exchange he wants Junie, who is extremely attractive as his wife. Desperately unhappy but out of a sense of duty to her family Junie marries Ernest. However there are secrets!!

    We get to know her true love, her childhood girlfriends, country young men who sign up to join the army, American soldiers. She makes a new friend in Sydney, which shows us the different classes of that time. All the characters lives intertwine, and keep the reader engaged as you want to know what happens to all of them!

    The story takes place from 1941 to 1949 and the war story is cleverly dealt with taking us to the bombing of Pearl Harbour, Darwin, the submarine attack in Sydney Harbour and the fighting in New Guinea. At the end of the book the author tells us she has used her own families war experiences in the story, which makes it all the more credible and appealing.

    From Junie’s point of view the story covers her decision to help her family, her love for someone else, hope, loss, acceptance of what can’t be, secrets, a friends betrayal and finding strength to seek happiness. The story has a surprise ending!

    I enjoyed this book and will be reading Mary-Anne O’Connor’s first novel Gallipoli Street!

  6. Thank you for the chance to read and review Worth Fighting For, Beauty and Lace.
    Worth Fighting For is set in Braidwood. It follows the story of Junie whom has agreed to marry Earnest almost through bribe as Earnest’s family helped out with Junie’s families debt.
    Junie is not in love with the egotistical Earnest but doesn’t want to hurt her families feelings by putting the farm in danger. Junie has her sights set on country boy Michael. Where will the spark between them lead?

    Within the first chapter I had images in my head of what the characters looked like, how they felt and how torn they were! It also offers up a bit of an insight into growing up in the war era. Teenagers these days would have no idea how tough it was.

    I would recommend this book to anyone interested in romance and a bit of history, it’s a gripping story, worth a read over summer!

  7. I just want to say firstly that Mary-Anne O’Connor has written a great story about the war in this book. My dad fought in WWII and had put his age up because all he wanted to do was go to war and fight for his country. I also grew up listening to stories my dad told me and throughout this book, I am taken back to those days. My dad was in the 35th Battalion and for all we know, he may have known this Jack Clancy whom Mary has based her story on through the character of Michael.

    I love how Mary starts off in Braidwood where most of the characters have hailed from. It’s a beautiful country town where I have visited and know quite well. She has captured the story of heartache, love and dreaded fear throughout the book.

    I found this book a fantastic read from the 1st chapter and it’s not hard to fall in love with Michael Riley’s character. There are a lot of twists and turns to keep you entertained and wondering what will happen next.

    Of course, you need a plot in this story and the character of Ernest will make your skin crawl.

    This book takes you too many areas of where WWII went. It just doesn’t deal with Australia. Reading the story of Pearl Harbour made me tear up again as I have just recently come from being there and Mary-Anne has captured in her writing the bombing of Pearl Harbour. I was able to visualise it all through her writing.

    The main character of Junie is impeccable. She comes across as young in the beginning but as time goes on, she becomes a very smart lady.

    This book is such a memorable read and I could not put it down, I just had to keep reading. There are a few tense chapters for the character of Junie and also Michael. If you are like me with sentimental words and sentences, a tissue or two will be needed.

    As I finished the last page I felt sadness, relief and also happy tears.

    I read the Acknowledgements and we are shown photos of real people that have been used as characters in the book. This has made the story seem very personal and one that I will hold in my heart for a long time.

    I want to thank Mary-Anne O’Connor for this novel that she has written. It has bought back stories and places that my dad visited and mentioned to me when travelling. He always told me about the submarine attack in Sydney, the places at Nelsons Bay, his fighting in New Guinea which was no picnic back in those days.

    Thank you to B&L and Harlequin for the pleasure of reading this novel. I absolutely loved reading this book and highly recommend others to read. You won’t be disappointed plus you learn about WWII.

  8. Worth Fighting For is set in Australia and the Pacific during WW2.

    Young Junie agrees to marry obnoxious Ernest to save her family farm from financial disaster when her parents cannot cope with the death of their son in the war. Ernest has political ambitions, and he needs a pretty sensible wife at his side, so it is a marriage of convenience. This sees Junie leaving the country and moving to Sydney.

    The story follows Junie’s true love, Michael, as he joins the army and is trained in an Elite Regiment before being posted overseas. He is heartbroken that Junie agrees to marry Ernest. The author allows us to see the difference between the life of the “social set” in Sydney in the 1940’s, against the horrors our young servicemen are experiencing fighting in Papua New Guinea.

    The Aussie solders are portrayed as loveable larrikins, much to the confusion of the Americans. The language and sayings are very “ocker” and easy to read, and bring mateship to the fore.

    Although an excellent read of war time activities in PNG, I was disappointed at the lack of information about the bombing of Darwin, especially as some of the characters are based there in the story. I felt that the story could have included so much more background of the devastation that Darwin experienced, and the shock waves it sent through the whole country. I feel that the writer has also skipped over the ending of the war, which I feel should have been a significant part of the book. In fact, I thought I must have missed a chapter, as it jumped to a different time.

    However, the authors personal insights into her own family’s war experiences at the end of the book were interesting, and added to the truth of the novel.

    This is a long read at almost 450 pages. I really wanted to learn about the people of Darwin and how that city, and the rest of Australia was affected by the bombings, but I was left unfulfilled,

    Thank you Beauty and Lace, and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read Mary-Anne O’Connor’s Worth Waiting For.

  9. Worth Fighting For is set during World War Two.
    The main character is 18-year-old Junie Wallace, who finds herself in the unfortunate position of having to marry a man that she doesn’t love or care for, Ernest Farthington.
    Ernest is a man who is selfish, egotistical, and inconsiderate of Junie’s feelings.
    With two of her brothers away fighting in the war, and her third brother recently killed in action, her family’s fallen on hard times.
    They are indebted to Ernest, so it is up to Junie to help save her family’s farm.
    Sadly, the only way she can do that is by becoming Mrs Farthington.
    What makes this even more upsetting for Junie is that she is in love with a drover by the name of Michael Riley.
    Michael is a real gentleman, and I liked his character very much.
    When Michael makes the decision to enlist, Junie has one last opportunity to spend time with him, and what plays out will change both of their lives forever..

    The beginning of the book is set in Junie’s hometown of Braidwood in New South Wales, but as the story progresses, we get to visit Darwin, Hawaii, Port Moresby, and Papua New Guinea.
    The story spans from 1941 – 1949, and it is quite a saga, at over 400 pages.
    I don’t usually read this genre of fiction, but I did like the way Mary-Anne O’Connor describes the settings and surroundings throughout the story.
    Two additional things I like are the captivating front cover, and the author’s acknowledgments, as we discover Mary-Anne’s own family wartime experience. She even named characters in the book after her family members, which I thought was so sweet!
    I would’ve enjoyed the story more if there was a greater focus on the romance element, as opposed to the main attention being on war, but that is just my personal taste.
    Overall, I would recommend this book if you like historical/romance war novels.

  10. Worth Fighting For…..

    This is a beautiful read about deception, love, war and loss. From the moment i sat down to read this book i was captivated in the beautiful descriptive writing and the settings the story took place in. I love the characters of both Junie and Michael. My heart gores out to them.
    Primarily the theme was about war but i lit bit more romance would have topped it off.
    If you love war time books , this is the one for you.
    I hope you enjoy it as much as i did.

  11. I am extremely grateful to get to read “Worth Fighting For” A very well written and researched book weaving truth and fiction.

    From the moment I started reading, I enjoyed the way it was written, the characters and even the ending. Nothing was left to question, it just was and I find that very rare in a book. When reading a book, I actually imagine being at the places and create images of the characters in my mind if I can, of what they would appear to me and in this book, they were vivid and real.

    I especially liked at the end how the author explained how she created characters around true life people in her life and wove them into the story and closely mirrored them how their character was represented in the story.

    Junie is an exceptionally character of that particular time period. Of course she had to grow up quickly as did most during war but she was lucky. The best bit is that she was not only courageous at a time when women where still consider inferior but she also showed true strength of character. I admire that she proved that you are stronger than you believe and this overcomes many things in life, love and personal development.

    Of her first novel, Gallipoli Street I will be hunting down and reading at the first chance I get and thats saying something as I dont normally like war themes. Heres hoping it is similar written and gets a strong emotional reaction as well.

    Many thanks Beauty and Lace for the chance and to the author Mary-Anne OConnor

  12. Firstly, I just wanted to thank B&L and Harlequin Aus for the opportunity to read Worth Fighting For; and secondly to put it straight right from the get-go I thoroughly enjoyed the novel by Mary-Anne O’Connor and I recommend it to anybody who likes romance and is interested in reading some Australian work.

    At first I wasn’t sure how I would enjoy this book. O’Connors’ writing style is a little different to the usual novels I read, and it took me a few chapters to get into the storyline and wrap my head around the many characters’ names and the way O’Connors’ would jump between each characters’ storyline. Once I started to get used to the flow of her writing I could no longer put the book down, and finished most of the book in a single evening.

    Her main character Junie is someone I found myself wishing to be; beautiful, intelligent and spirited. Painstakingly, Junie found herself in an unfortunate run of events that led her to marry the easily despised Earnest because of family debts and with it giving up on her lover Michael Riley. I knew how I wanted the story to end and I desperately kept reading hoping for the best case scenario ending for Junie where they could be together; but I don’t really want to give away any spoilers.

    Another massive drawcard for this book to me is that it is set in the historical period of WW2 and I have always wanted to read books based around the era, but have been too worried that they’d be too dry to read. If that is a concern for you as well do not even worry about it! The way the author wrote about Pearl Harbour, Darwin and Papua New Guinea really built up a vivid scenery for me and has left me wanting to learn more about Australia’s’ history and involvement in the war, so I think it’s become a segue into the genre for me, and I hope to find more books alike this one!

    The acknowledgements at the end where Mary-Anne wrote about her family’s history were such a beautiful section to include in her book, it was lovely to learn about the people she had found inspiration from and their histories. I will definitely be reading her other novel Gallipoli Street as soon as I get the chance!

  13. Thanks for the opportunity to read this fascinating book Worth Fighting For

    Although I don’t like the idea of war I find the history of war quite enthralling as to why these things happen to what end & find that Mary-Anne O’Connor has described the events very well.

    The storyline based around Junie was deep & a bit heavy going at some times but also compelling describing what most people would do for their family & the sacrifices they make to keep them safe.I agree that Ernest was a most obnoxious man but this only shows how well the author wrote his character

    Fascinating book which I really enjoyed so once again thanks for the chance to read it.

  14. What a fantastic yet unpredictable book, I could not see what was coming towards the end and wondered what Marlon had to do with the story as soon as he was in it. This took me on a rollercoaster of emotions and how hard it was for Junie to be lost and find her way eventually. I was a bit heartbroken at the end as I felt a sense of bittersweet and wanting for more of the story to carry on like…..what went on with her daughter? did Ernest still try to manipulate her?, how Michael`s family reacted when they heard the news about both him and their unknown granddaughter? I would love there to be a sequel as it really left me wanting more but I guess I liked it that much,I didn`t want it to end.
    I think there was a spelling mistake on page 169, if you go to the second line where it reads `of silk curtains, and chaise longues`……… was that supposed to be chaise lounges? just a thought 🙂
    All in all I did totallt love and embrace this book with my heart and soul and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a great read and I will be now searching for Mary-anne O`Connors other book called Gallipoli Street thats for sure.
    Thanks so much Harlequin and B&Lace as I have now come across a book yet that I havent liked.
    Thankyou Mary-Anne O`Connor for your wonderful writing talents 🙂

  15. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to add another Aussie author to my list of faves. I’m a huge fan of romance war time novels and this one was up there for me with my ultimate favourite by JoJo Moyes.

    From the beginning, I felt extremely connected to the main character Junie and was invested in her life throughout the novel. I loved how we experienced war from the perspective of family and those left behind rather than just those in battle. Many times it was confronting, and emotionally draining to read, however such real representations of life during world war 2 is important education for us today and essential in ensuring we remember and honour those who fought for us.

    O’Connor proved she is a master in unpredictability and I loved that this book never went in the direction I imagined it would. I’ve already added her other novel to my Xmas wish list and highly recommend this read.

  16. Set in World War II, in Australia, PNG and Hawaii this novel centres around a strong minded young woman called Junie. Being a country girl, I enjoyed this from the start. I was slightly confused initially as it jumped from character to character. This soon fell in to place, and I was then hooked, reading the last third of the tale well into the wee hours.
    This is a story of love, of sacrifice, of a woman who made her choices, even when they weren’t in her best interests
    It also tells of mateship, of young men making the extreme sacrifice during wartime. The author takes you to Pearl Harbour, to Darwin and to PNG with her descriptive narratives of the people and the scenery
    I really enjoyed this book, and will certainly seek out other works by Mary-Anne O’Connor

  17. Right from the start of “Worth Fighting For’ I was hooked. Junie Wallace is an engaging character and following the highs and lows of her life was intriguing, tragic, dramatic and bittersweet. Indeed I was emotionally exhausted by the end of the book! I really loved the book’s exploration of WWII from an insider’s perspective, especially Pearl Harbor. Mary O’Connor skilfully creates a personal experience of these historic world events to bring their impact to an individual level.

    I also enjoyed the theme of indigenous peoples woven through the story via Marlon, Marri, Putz and Joseph.

    The contrasts of city vs country, upper class vs working class, and women vs men were quite skilfully explored and while certainly some improvements have been made since sadly not all inequalities have yet been resolved. The book covers a vast amount of material and while I would have liked to hear more about Junie’s future and her daughter among other things, perhaps a sequel may be on the cards…?

    I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Worth Fighting For’ and will recommend to anyone who’d like to learn more about WWII from a more personal perspective. It really does bring home how lucky we are.

    Thanks to Beauty & Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review this fabulous new book.

  18. Worth Fighting For a novel by Mary-Anne O’Connor is a story which starts in Bairdswood, New South Wales and the main character Junie Wallace a young 18 year old woman who loves life on the family farm. Her brothers are away fighting the war, her parents are struggling to keep the farm afloat as her father has a drinking problem. Junie attracts the attention of Ernest Farthington who offers to keep the farm going but at what cost. The cost is marrying the unscrupulous Ernest and forgoing the love she has for Michael. Once married to Ernest we find that he doesn’t really care for Junie but only for himself and how he can keep climbing the social ladder for the betterment of himself.

    As the years go by and living a lie with Ernest, Junie wants to start learning again and attends the Sydney University to study law and thus qualifies as a Lawyer. Ernest then convinces Junie to move to PNG for a period of two years to advance his career, leaving behind their 6 year old daughter in boarding school which Junie is not happy about, but unfortunately she has not choice about Ernest’s decision as he is always threatening her with what he can do to her family. Whilst in PNG Junie discovers evidence that Michael maybe there, he was taken down in a plane during duty in the War in 1943. Now she embarks on an expedition to seek the truth but unfortunately discovers that Michael really does not want to be discovered, and is the damaged shell of a man she once loved and now knows that she has to leave him behind. She now has to make the decision to let her life move forward. She does eventually ask Ernest for a divorce, thus allowing herself the opportunity to give herself the opportunity for happiness with an pilot Marlon also known to her from her past.
    The story spans from 1941 to 1949 and goes into details of how the war affected Sydney with men being enlisted and just how many were underage. We read of Pearl Harbour, Darwin and New Guinea during this period. We also learnt of mateship, courage, love, loyalty and how many scarified themselves for Australia.

    I found this story to be very well written and descriptions of the settings and surroundings were very descriptive and gave me a real insight as to what it would have been like being there. Mary-Anne O’Connor is to be congratulated on opening my eyes to a new genre as I do not usually read books about the war but I do love a book that involves romance and this had that as well.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read this novel and I would highly recommend to everyone.

  19. This is the first book I have read by Mary-Anne O’conner and I loved it!
    War can be a hard topic to read, but from the first page this book had me sucked me in.

    This book takes you back in time, while you are reading it. It’s very descriptive, so you have a really good feel as to what the author was imagining and feeling at the time of writing it.

    There’s nothing better than reading a book, and feeling like you are right in it.

    The book gives you a good insight into WWII, but also adding love, passion and heartbreak.

    I would highly recommend Worth Fighting For. Even if you are not a lover of war, you would love this book!

  20. Worth Fighting For, a book written by Mary-Anne O’Connor was definitely not what I was expecting. At times I loved the book and just couldn’t put it down but then I found some parts were more tedious and these I struggled with. The book was incredibly interesting and had a lot of historical facts weaved into the story and although I found this fascinating for the most part I also found some of this hard to follow as I admit I don’t understand a lot of the war terminology. I really did love reading about times back then as I never got to learn much about WWII in history so was happy to stick it out and glad I did. The story definitely had me in suspense with quite a few unexpected twists. The characters were easy to love and hate, Junie was a lovely lead character and although I would get annoyed with some of her decisions or actions I reminded myself that things were different back then and how she acted was actually incredibly brave and it suited well for the time period. I was very upset about Michael and I also felt that maybe there could have been a bit more to the ending, it seemed to wrap up a bit too quickly however, this is a minor detail. I loved the acknowledgements at the end also and thought it was so touching that the author named characters after members of her family and was able to base parts of the novel on their real life experiences.
    I thought this would be a light romantic read that I would finish quickly however, it was so much more than that. Thank you for the opportunity to read this compelling story.
    PS A very sincere and heartfelt apology on a very late review too…

  21. Worth Fighting for by Mary-Anne O’Connor had me at times unable to put it down and others where I wondered why I was bothering to continue. The story is about 18 year old Junie Wallace who tries to help her parents keep the family farm once they are in debt to the unscrupulous Ernest Farthington by agreeing to marry him even though her heart belongs to Michael Riley, a young drover.
    The book is set during World War II and brings a realistic view of the war on the youth of the day. Junie’s brothers are at war and her contribution is to marry Ernest so that the family farm is there for them to come home to. Junie is in love with Michael and she starts an affair that carries on until she becomes pregnant with Michael’s child. Michael is never aware that he and Junie have a child as she hides her condition from him and passes the child off as Ernest’s. Ernest in the meantime is having an affair with Junie’s newfound best friend, Eliza.
    Michael joins the army as an underage and after his parents realise they go after him, only for his dad to become their commanding officer and train them – Michael and his friends – to become an elite band of soldiers.
    Along the way we are also joined by Marlon – an American soldier ( I never really understood his place in the book). Marlon is first introduced to the book as having met Michael and Junie during a tryst that goes wrong. Marlon to the rescue, he then becomes enamoured by Junie thus creating a massive love square throughout the book.
    At times I was extremely and frustratingly annoyed with the slowness of the book and Junie’s constant massive indecisions. Unfortunately, it is probably reminiscent of the times as women did not have a lot of say and men’s word was law, thus saying Junie has talked Ernest into allowing her to attend university and become a lawyer – a non practising one but giving her a degree none the less. Junie ends up sending her daughter to boarding school so that she and Ernest can move to New Guinea and take up a position there. Junie meantime is missing not only her daughter but her one link to Michael her one true love……
    During the war Marlon, Junie and Michael all become friends and when Michael goes MIA during the war and is presumed dead Marlon helps Junie track the one they call Kuji deep into the jungle to find that it is Michael with a head injury. They try to bring him back to civilisation but due to his massive head injury and the fact he does not recognise anyone but has managed to carve a life out in the jungle when Michael runs off Marlon convinces Junie it is for the best – ulterior motive here me thinks.
    The book finishes up quickly after Michael returns to the jungle and Junie returns home to Port Moresby. Marlon leaves her with Ernest but it is like Junie has a light bulb moment…….she realises Ernest is having an affair with Eliza, she wants her daughter back and is suddenly in the arms of Marlon and flying off into the bright beyond to start her life.

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