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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant?

What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Inside the walls of their old cottage, they make music, and in the garden they grow (and sometimes kill, everything they need for sustenance. 

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother's secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake. 

Unsettled Ground is a heart-stopping novel of betrayal and resilience, love and survival. It is a portrait of life on the fringes of society that explores with dazzling emotional power how we can build our lives on broken foundations and spin light from darkness.

©2021 Claire Fuller (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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  • Kit
  • 29-03-2021

Brilliant

Every story Claire Fuller writes is so different. I couldn’t wait for this to come out and I was not disappointed. The grit of country life, being bottom of the pack, and the brutality of the thoughtless is balanced by the natural kindness of others. I could have been in that caravan or cottage and understood the characters and now it’s finished I will miss it snd their stories.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 29-03-2021

unsettled ground

a slow burn of a story. the story of 51 year old twins who at the start of the book live at home with their mother who dies in the first few pages and then their story unfolds. such a beautiful story that had me hooked from the start.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-03-2021

The lies some mothers tell

A beautiful book and the narration is excellent I listened whilst running and was transported. A sad tale but also uplifting and the hidden strength of the main protagonist shines through. I look forward to reading the book and our group discussion in May.

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  • a.hopewell
  • 07-04-2021

A must read!

loved the storyline, the characters and the twists and turns. kept me engrossed the whole way through. Must read mote by this author.

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  • Mrs R.
  • 02-04-2021

Wonderful

This book is absolutely amazing and I strongly recommend it. The story is completely gripping and for the first time in an audible book I really smiled and really cried. It’s a really original story with excellent characters with whom I was completely involved. The narration is frankly brilliant and I could not fault it. Don’t miss out by not listening to this wonderful book.

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  • W o o d r u f f
  • 31-03-2021

Interesting idea but characters can be frustrating

I listened to this in a whole day, having heard it reviewed on the radio. The idea intrigued me, but I found characters frustrating at times, especially Bridget. some of the reasons for deceptions didn't seem to tie up in a plausible way to me. Relieved it has a slightly positive end as I found it a quite depressing.

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  • Em19
  • 13-04-2021

Very enjoyable listen

I really enjoyed this book and it is beautifully read. The lives of the characters and the poverty that they live with are described so well that you can really imagine what it is like for them. It's quite a sad book but with little glimpses of hope and I would highly recommend.

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  • Rachel Redford
  • 02-04-2021

Burying and Unearthing

Jeanie and Julius are 51 year-old twins who are still living with their mother Dot in rural poverty in a delapidated old country cottage, making a scant living from selling produce from the garden. When Dot dies during the night, her 'children' have no money so secretly bury her with dignity in the garden she loved. It's only after her death that all kinds of secrets come out like insects from behind skirting boards. Dot had been in debt and worse than that, it seems that Julius and Jeanie must pay back rent for the cottage which they believed was theirs rent-free under an agreement with the owner Mr Rawson. When Dot's husband had been killed in a tractor accident, the twins had been told Rawson's carelessness with the tractor maintenance had caused their father's death. Jeannie was kept at home because of her heart condition caused by rheumatic fever - she'd missed so much school she can't really read or write, and she'd never been allowed to run and jump. But what this true? Julius has never been able to make a relationship with another woman, so tightly had his mother bound him to her. Slowly they find out Dot's secrets, including why she sometimes left her wedding ring on the kitchen ledge when she went out and the truth about their father's death. She was not the mother they had believed her to be.
The story slowly builds up the totally convincing and real country life of scrimping off the land (recalling Claire Fuller's striking first novel in 2015 Our Endless Un-numbered Days), the daily reality of being marginalised, powerless and impoverished, and the cruelties and passions which can be carried out beneath the veneer of country life. It gathers pace as the secrets emerge and cause dreadful damage.
This makes it sound a rather depressing tale, but it's so subtle and sensitive that it's strangely uplifting and it has a happy ending (of sorts) - positive at least. Claire Fuller's characters live in hauntingly different, intriguing, idiosyncratic scenarios. Nothing can ever really be buried - it will always be unearthed.
The narration is in tune with the shifting moods and contrasting voices and is pleasant to listen to.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.