#20BacklistIn2020 · #aww2020 · 2020 Reviews · Australian · Backlist Book Challenge 2020 · contemporary fiction

#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Amber and Alice by Janette Paul

2020 backlist challenge graphic

In a desperate bid to reduce the books that are collecting dust on my TBR shelves, I have decided to collaborate with another avid reader and fellow book reviewer, Nicole from Certified Book Addicts. The #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge is a self paced challenge hosted by Jaylamm.ReadsReading and Sunshine, and Cassidys.Bookshelf. The overall goal of this challenge is to read 20 titles from the backlist books that are currently sitting on your TBR pile. For this challenge I will be reading non review books and taking my selections directly from my chock-a-block TBR bookcases (there are two shelved back to back). I will be publishing my reviews of these books on my blog and social media sites on the first and third Tuesday of the month.

Book #6 in the #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge

Estimated TBR Shelf Life: 2 years

Bridget Jones meets Thelma and Louise in this fresh and very funny romantic comedy, asamber and alice small one woman finds the answers she needs (plus a little love) on a trip into the stunning Australian desert.

Take a hilarious road trip into the Australian outback in this witty romantic comedy, with an enticing family mystery thrown in!

When Amber Jones wakes up in her sister Sage’s speeding car, with no idea how she got there (though the hangover is a clue), all she wants to do is go home. But Sage is convinced a road trip to Alice Springs will finally answer the burning question: who is Amber’s father? Because nine months before Amber’s birth, her late mother Goldie made the same trip . . .

Armed with just a name and Goldie’s diaries, Amber agrees to search for a man she’s never met in one of the world’s biggest deserts.

And that means spending two weeks in a convoy of four-wheel-driving tourists and camping in freezing desert nights. To make matters worse, her fellow travellers hate her and the handsome tour leader Tom thinks she’s an alcoholic.

But slowly the desert starts to reveal its secrets – and Amber must decide which horizon to follow . . .


The vibrant Australian outback comes to life via a road trip with a difference for Amber, Janette Paul’s lead protagonist in her 2017 Penguin Random House publication, Amber and Alice. Funny, light, life affirming and full of eclectic characters, Amber and Alice is a family drama, with just a touch of romance.

Taking a step back from her crime and thriller titles, which are penned under the name of Jaye Ford, Janette Paul presents a different style of novel in Amber and Alice. A romantic comedy, a life lit title, a family drama, along with a road trip adventure defines Amber and Alice. The story revolves around Amber Jones, a woman who wakes up in a strange set of circumstances when her sister Sage hijacks her and takes her on a road trip to Alice Springs. On this fateful road trip, Sage hopes to help her sister finally uncover the identity of her father. In undertaking this journey, the sisters travel in the same footsteps their mother took before Amber’s birth. With only a few trace clues to help guide her, Amber’s quest to find her father proves to be quite a challenge. In making her way to destination Alice Springs, Amber follows a colourful crew of fellow travellers, tourists, and campers. Along the way Amber makes friends, foes and a possible love interest in her quest to find her father.

I really admire authors such as Janette Paul,  who are able to switch genres. In Amber and Alice we see Janette Paul successfully move from suspenseful crime thrillers to a romantic comedy title. It is a bold act, but it works in this instance. Amber and Alice is audience pleaser. It has a summer read vibe, making it the perfect choice perfect for some relaxing poolside, or beach time reading.

Amber and Alice introduces two sisters, who are poles apart.  Sage is the crazy, spontaneous and annoying sister of the two. Unfortunately I didn’t warm to Sage at all. Amber is much more grounded, but she has some mysteries about her life, as well as some uncertainties that she unlocks as the book progresses. There are a few side characters that appear in this novel and Paul ensures that they all are interesting, along with well presented. We get also get a very good glimpse into the travelling world, with the book featuring a good bunch of seasoned campers, tourists and backpackers. We also meet a charming tour leader, who provides a serve of romance for our heroine.

Not only is Amber and Alice a fun filled road trip it is also a family drama. Paul explores sibling relationships, parental tensions, family politics, secrets and birthright within her novel. Paul’s novel leans towards light touch rather than emotionally heart wrenching and after quite an eventful journey, a satisfying conclusion is reached.

Extra points go to Paul for her landscape descriptions. Amber and Alice truly is a beautiful ode to NSW, SA and the NT.  There is a strong outback feel to this novel that I enjoyed. I loved the references to the towns I would just love to visit one day, if only I had the time and money I would be compiling my travel itinerary to these stunning parts of Australia, ASAP!

Take an eventful trip with Amber Jones and company as she negotiates a cross country adventure filled with friendship, love, spectacular scenery, positivity, disclosures, semblance and understanding. Amber and Alice is feel good Australian infused contemporary fiction.

*** 3.5 stars

Amber to Alice by Janette Paul was published on 29th May 2017 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Amber to Alice, Janette Paul, visit here.

Amber and Alice is book #27 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge


7 thoughts on “#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Amber and Alice by Janette Paul

  1. Love your backlist book choice, Amanda! I know I’m going to love this book as I have a weekness for any book that has to do with a road trip across or around Australia. I can’t wait to read this book, I was going to add Amber and Alice to my backlist book pile but I don’t want to read it yet because… you know, once it’s read well, that’s it isn’t it, it’s read! Lol

    That cover is just so gorgeous and so Aussie it’s giving me itchy feet. I so wish we could explore this wide open country this very minute. Alas, our caravan is being repaired as it got damaged, again, in Caloundra when the huge hail storm hit. We were in Brisbane for the day and had gorgeous weather, Caloundra is only a little over an hour from Brisbane. It has to be completed re-skinned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is definitely down your book alley! A good road trip books is always fun to lose yourself in, especially in these crazy times right now!

      I agree, a very vibrant cover indeed! What a shame it lingered on my pile for too long. It actually came via my stepmum who bought it back in 2017 when it released, its been on my shelves since a little after then. I get your itchy feet feeling. I hope you can get the caravan fixed and travel away very soon. Looking forward to hearing about your next adventure!


  2. I really enjoyed this one, I read it back when it came out. I’m glad you’ve crossed another backlist book off your list. I’m reading a backlist one atm. It feels good to mark another one off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear Claire! A shame it lingered for too long on the shelves! Thank you, I finished this one last month to get ahead as I had a feeling I would be super busy right now, work is crazy at the moment. I’m glad you are enjoying a backlist title, I look forward to seeing what you chose. Ticking it off feels amazing!


  3. I have wanted to read this one for a while I really need to get it, as for my backlist challenge I am way behind I have only read two so far, but there are so many new books arriving 🙂 I need to get on with this challenge

    Great reciew

    Have Fun


    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you want to read this one, hopefully i have encouraged you to pick this one up in the near future! Yes I am so far behind too, so many books to read and they are coming in daily! Good luck with your goals and happy reading 🙂


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