#aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · Better Reading Preview · historical fiction · new release

Better Reading Preview: Desire Lines by Felicity Volk

Title: Desire Linesdesire lines small

Author: Felicity Volk

Published: February 25th 2020

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Pages: 448

Genres: Fiction, Historical

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 5 stars

An epic story of love and the lies we tell ourselves, from an extraordinary Australian literary talent

Are you still a liar? The crafting of those five words, even without dispatch, left her chilled.

Arctic Circle, 2012. On a lightless day at the end of the polar winter, landscape architect Evie Waddell finds herself exhuming the past as she buries Australian seeds in a frozen mountain vault – insurance against catastrophe.

Molong, 1953. Catastrophe is all seven-year-old Paddy O’Connor has known. Shipped from institutional care in London to an Australian farm school, his world is a shadowy place where lies scaffold fragile truths and painful memories. To Paddy’s south in Canberra, young Evie is safe in her family’s embrace, yet soon learns there are some paths from which you can’t turn back; impulses and threats that she only half understands but seems to have known forever.

Blue Mountains, 1962. From their first meeting as teenagers at a country market, Paddy and Evie grow a compulsive, unconventional love that spans decades, taking them in directions neither could have foreseen.

Set against the uneasy relationship society has with its own truth-telling in history, war and politics, DESIRE LINES is an epic story of love and the lies we tell ourselves to survive – and a reminder that even truths which seem lost forever can find their way home.


‘There was no right life and there was no wrong one either. There was just life. You did the best you could. You made the best decisions possible with what you knew at the time. It didn’t mean you lived without regrets, but it was necessary to keep these in tolerable proportion, to be prepared to let them go after they had served their purpose.’

Felicity Volk, an Australian author with a background in foreign policy, presents Desire Lines, which follows the release of her previous novel, Lightning in 2013. Desire Lines is the story of two individuals, Paddy and Evie, who we follow from childhood to adulthood. Each has troubled lives, but Paddy’s story is particularly bleak, truthful and utterly heartbreaking. The leads seem to spin around each other, but they also manage to come together for a time, only to be pulled apart again. The love between the leads traverses place, time, circumstance, position and life’s punishing setbacks. This union left a stain on my heart. Desire Lines is punctuated by poetic prose, which is tempered by strong imagery. I was able to absorb each perfectly formed word supplied by Volk, who is a true literary scholar. Desire Lines issues the reader with insightful references to botany, architecture, government policy, history and world events. I was visibly moved by the themes presented in Volk’s book, from family violence, poverty, parentage, abandonment, child migration, abuse, trauma, infidelity, lust, longing, trust, belief and most importantly, the keynote motif of desire. A few sleepless nights went with my experience of reading Desire Lines, it was haunting, yet deeply profound.

Desire Lines by Felicity Volk is published by Hachette Australia on February 25th 2020. $32.99.


To learn more about the author of Desire Lines, Felicity Volk, visit here.

*Thanks is extended to Better Reading/Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Desire Lines is book #17 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge


6 thoughts on “Better Reading Preview: Desire Lines by Felicity Volk

  1. Great review Amanda. How much of the Arctic Circle is mentioned in the book? If it’s a fair amount I would love to read it, as I mentioned in the comment of your review on Goodreads we had a chance to fly across the Arctic Circle when we were staying in Fairbanks but me, the big chicken that I am was too scared to get in a 6 seater plane, so missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sue, I really loved this book. I found it so hard to stick to the 200 word limit set on the reviews of Better Reading Preview, which is where I received this book from.

      The Arctic part are at the beginning and end of the book. With some set in the UK and the bulk in Australia. Wow, that sounds like quite a trip, I can understand your reservations about flying though, its not for everyone!


      1. I was wondering what Better Reading Preview was about, I thought it was another different type of blog post just like your Book Broadcast blog. I’d be so happy with a 200 word limit lol. Imagine how many more books you’d get to read if you shortened your reviews to 200 words, you’d get through two books a day LOL.
        Thanks for letting me know, I’m always looking for books set in Alaska, I have a few on my Kindle app and really itching to get into them, the only book set in Alaska I’ve read so far was the one by Rosamund Lupton and having been to Alaska I want to get my hands on as many that are set there as I can, it’s the most amazing place on earth.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Sue, yes the Better Reading Preview is through the website Better Reading, do you get their weekly emails? They have great recommendations, podcasts and interviews. Also opportunities such as this to review a book within 200 words to a timeframe. I was lucky to get three recently, but they have changed the way you apply for them recently, so anyone can sign up and go in the draw to win a copy. Believe it or not, I struggle to stick to the 200 words, I always go over then have to spend time cutting back, so it’s just as time consuming as a regular review on my site!

        Yes Alaskan books are rare, but I will look out for any if I came across one for you. it sure is an intriguing locale! I enjoyed Rosamund’s book too. I have her new one sat here to read!


  2. Lucky you having her new one, love her books so much I must look for Rosamund’s new one. Thanks for keeping a lookout for Alaskan books for me ❣
    No I don’t get their emails but I do have Better Reading come through my newsfeed, love their stuff. I read their conditions on entering to review books I was nearly tempted to apply but I have too many challenges I’m dealing with right now 📚📚📚
    Oh, if that’s the case then you are better off writing your longer reviews. One or two lines are just perfect for me 😁 but I do love reading other people’s long/longer reviews including your lovely ones 📃💚


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s