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Cedar by Kim Winter is a historical and emotionally moving story. It’s set in Australia in the early 1900s and in Europe during World War 1. The story tells of family, love and loss, relationships, mateship, resilience and tragedy. 

The artwork on the cover is wonderful, truly depicting the essence of the story.

Matthew lives a carefree life on a sheep and cattle station some hours from Bourke with his parents Eliza and Thomas Watson. There has been a drought for seven years and eight-year-old Matty is excited as the long-awaited rains arrive. The knowledge of the Aboriginal stockmen and women helped the family to survive the drought.

The rains have caused the river to flood and a man has drowned. His eight-year-old son Jack survives.

Matty’s family take Jack to live with them. 

Sammy, the stockman’s son is the same age. The three boys are inseparable and consider themselves brothers. Eliza includes Sammy in the schooling with Matty and Jack.  Sammy is taught in the traditional way of his people and shares his skills.

Together they have lots of adventures as kids around the station. As young men, they are involved in the running of the property.

Their carefree life ends when World War 1 breaks out. Jack enlists first, his father was from England and he wants to honour him.

Matty secretly follows, hoping to find Jack. Matty takes his beloved horse Cedar with him and enlists in the 12th Light Horse.

Sammy follows and enlists in the infantry and they hope to find each other.

They may have enlisted as boys, but they quickly grow up as their eyes are opened to the horrors of war.

The war years are told in their letters to each other and letters to home. Those who return carry the horror of their experiences. It is hard to return to life as it was.

The historical research is excellent. Covering life on a remote station and how lonely it is for Eliza. Showing how life was at that time for Aboriginal families and World War 1 is portrayed with stories from Egypt and the trenches of Gallipoli and France.

I loved this emotionally moving story. There are parts that will make you laugh and parts where you will cry. The family are lovely and you feel like you would like to be friends with them. The writing style makes the book easy to read. There is plenty of action to keep you engaged as you follow the lives of Matty, Jack and Sammy.

Thoroughly recommend this book.

A selection of our members are reading Cedar by Kim Winter. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

One thought on “BOOK CLUB: Cedar

  1. Oh how I loved Cedar! As I read, the story unfolded like a movie. When the boys were younger, It reminded me of a 1950s movie, Smiley that I recently saw, and the antics that they got up to.
    Cedar was so full of life and as an animal lover, Cedar pulled at all the heart strings. Be prepared for the emotions .

    Very well written, researched, and describes life in the outback very well, engaging the reader vividly.

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