BOOK CLUB: Salt River Road

Click to rate this book!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

Salt River Road by Australian author Molly Schmidt is a heart-warming fiction story that features love and loss, a journey towards compassion, and the incredible power of human connectedness. 

Set in Western Australia in the late 1970s, the Tetley family are not only grieving their mother and wife Elana’s death from cancer but also the possibility of losing the family sheep farm when it comes to a standstill. Father Eddie is numb with grief and his five children are left to take care of themselves.

As the family deals with the loss, we follow teenage siblings Rose and Frank struggling with their mother’s death in diverse ways. Rose leaves to avoid the misery of home; she meets Elders Patsy and Herbert who guide her through her pain and share knowledge passed on and the strength you find in community. 

The original and compelling characters are strongly defined by the author, which makes it easier to envision the family as it unravels and the steps they take in their grieving process.

The plot is clever and well-constructed and the narrative is exceptionally easy to read. The main story focuses on challenging struggles, grief, healing and reconciliation against a backdrop of cultural traditions, spirituality, and an orderly culture with defined roles. 

Schmidt has used the small rural town setting to show the rich history of the Menang, Goreng Noongar people, the traditional custodians of the region. The landscape sweeps through the pages and comes to life it is as if you have popped into the outback of southern Western Australia. 

For her debut novel, Molly Schmidt is a gifted storyteller; she writes with her heart and soul. She draws from her own personal experience with losing someone special. Grief is different for everyone; it is an individual journey. Understanding this concept, Schmidt pens characters, young and old, all grieving, each in a different place in their personal journey.

The prose poetry throughout the book was wonderful. I found myself re-reading the meaningful passages, it highlights the talent the author has.

The book cover art “Quandongs” by Glenda Williams, Noongar Elder defies the visual expectations for a coming-of-age story. It exudes a vibrant colour palette that is so effective giving it an abundance of energy and warmth. The text on the cover does not detract from the Quandong illustration. It is a cover that will stand out on a bookshelf and catch your eye, it is stunning.

Salt River Road will certainly make you cry but also give you a reason to smile. I highly recommend it. 

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Fremantle Press, for the opportunity to read and review.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Salt River Road by Molly Schmidt. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

4 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Salt River Road

  1. Salt River Road is a story on how one family grieved the loss of a family member. Each had a story to tell as they all grieved differently but also together. A family nearly thrown apart but came together when close to losing their rented farm and income.
    Set in Western Australia where they struggled to maintain day to day living initially and past mistakes haunt them.
    Sad but inspiring and shows a lot of respect to Goreng Nyoongar people. I am glad I was chosen to read this unique story.

  2. Wow…

    This book made me cry multiple times, the story line, the grief, the characters journey through that. Pulled at my heart strings. Reminded me of losing my own mother and how easy it is to get lost in the grief and drown. It also highlights how your friends, your family, your community rally around you. Trying to make sure you stay afloat.

    The Tetley siblings relationship with eachother made me wish I had more. You could really feel the love and loyalty in Molly Schmidt’s writing.

    I loved that the story had the poetry in it to break it up. The book was very emotionally heavy for me, the poetry helped lighten it.

    Noongar Elders Patsy and Herbert were so beautiful, so loving, so caring. Schmidt’s portrayal of their relationship with the land, the culture, it warmed my heart.

    This book was beautiful. But heavy on my heart.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Magazine for allowing me the privilege of reading this

  3. Salt River Road by Molly Schmidt is a compelling novel that delves into the profound journey of grief and healing.

    The story is told through the eyes of sweet Rose and troubled Frank, two siblings who grapple with the devastating impact of their mother’s battle with cancer.

    With racism at the core, this is a beautiful story of reconciliation showcasing both sorrow and warmth at the same time. The author has written an outstanding novel that honours Noongar Elders, featuring two endearing characters, Patsy and Herbert. I also enjoyed the snippets of poetry throughout the novel that enhances its depth and character.

    Thank you very much Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this beautifully written novel.

  4. Salt River Road by Molly Schmidt.
    All I can say is wow what a magnificent book.
    I was captured from the beginning to the end such a powerful story of grief and passion.
    The story is based about the Tetley family who lose there beautiful mum and wife . There are 5 siblings and Rose being the main character and telling the story from her heart. I love the poems she writes .
    What a brilliant story of love,grief and loss.
    Thankyou beauty and lace and Fremantle Press for the opportunity to read an award winning story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *