AustLit logo
Deborah O'Brien Deborah O'Brien i(A146036 works by)
Born: Established: Sydney, New South Wales, ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Works By

Preview all
1 1 y separately published work icon The Rarest Thing The Rarest Thing : A High Country Love Story Deborah O'Brien , Oatley : Lomandra Press , 2016 10475413 2016 single work novel romance

'It’s 1966, and a mountain pygmy possum – a species that scientists considered to be long-extinct – is discovered in the Victorian High Country and transported to Melbourne where newspapers dub it ‘the world’s rarest creature’.

'Thirty-year-old Dr Katharine Wynter is a palaeontologist who’s more comfortable with ancient bones than live human beings, particularly men - an exotic species of which she has little personal experience, apart from a predatory professor who has made her working life hell.

'Having studied the tiny possum in fossil form, Katharine is curious to see it in the flesh, but her much anticipated visit is disrupted by the presence of wildlife photographer, Scott King, taking pictures for an international magazine.

'Before long, Katharine finds herself thrown together with Scott on a quest to locate the miniature marsupials in their habitat - the rugged Australian Alps. Along the way, the timid scientist discovers a side to her character she never knew existed, while the dashing photographer abandons his bravado and confronts memories he's hidden for decades.

'As for the elusive possums, the cute little creatures lead their pursuers on a merry chase... ' (Publication summary)

1 1 y separately published work icon The Trivia Man Deborah O'Brien , Sydney : Bantam Australia , 2015 8534959 2015 single work novel

'Dubbed ‘brainbox' by his peers and ‘weirdo' by his sister, Kevin Dwyer is a middle-aged forensic accountant who has never had a real friend, other than his eight-year-old nephew Patrick. When Kevin joins the Clifton Heights Sports Club trivia competition as a one-man team, and convincingly wins the first round, he is headhunted by the other contestants. But Kevin would prefer to be on his own. That is, until he meets Maggie Taylor . . .

'Maggie is a Latin teacher and movie buff, who's good at her job but unlucky in love. In fact, she's still besotted with the man who dumped her years ago. Nagged by her friend Carole about getting out and meeting people, Maggie reluctantly joins the trivia team founded by Carole's husband, Edward.

'Over a season of trivia nights, Kevin, Maggie and her team will experience arguments and crises, friendships and romances, heartbreaks and new beginnings. And maybe, just maybe, Kevin will find his happy ever after . . .' (Publication summary)

1 y separately published work icon A Place of Her Own Deborah O'Brien , North Sydney : Random House Australia , 2014 7206828 2014 single work novel

'A compelling novel of starting over from the author of Mr Chen's Emporium. Eighteen months ago Angie Wallace thought her world had ended. Now she's fighting off suitors – and facing a crisis she never saw coming . . .

'‘Unrequited love hurt like hell – whether you were fifteen or fifty-something.'

'Following the death of her beloved husband Phil, Angie has made a new life for herself in the enchanting gold rush town of Millbrooke. The proud proprietor of the Old Manse B&B and a fierce protector of local history, her transition from ‘blow-in' to bona fide Millbrooker is complete.

'She's even fallen for the erudite but scruffy Richard Scott, owner of Millerbrooke House.

But just as the relationship between Angie and Richard seems to be blossoming, a woman from his past arrives back in town '– and turns their world upside down.

'Because Diana Goodmann isn't all she seems, and when Angie vows to unearth the truth about her rival she finds herself a long way from home - and in very grave danger.' (Publication abstract)

1 y separately published work icon Surrender to Summer 2 Alison L. Booth , Susan Duncan , Deborah O'Brien , North Sydney : Random House Australia , 2013 9532013 2013 selected work novel
1 y separately published work icon The Jade Widow Deborah O'Brien , North Sydney : Random House , 2013 6029203 2013 single work novel historical fiction

'A captivating historical novel of pioneering Australian women finding their way in a man's world, from the author of the bestselling Mr Chen's Emporium.'

It is 1885, and Amy Chen is still in black, more than a decade after the death of her beloved husband Charles. But her widow's weeds belie a determined 'young woman with a big ambition: Amy is going to build the grandest rural hotel in the colony of New South Wales, complete with its very own ‘ascending cabinet'.'

'Meanwhile, her best friend, Eliza Miller, has dreams of her own - to become one of Australia's first female doctors. However when she returns to Millbrooke from her medical studies at the Sorbonne, she finds the job she thought was hers has been taken … by a man.'

'Over the course of two turbulent years both women will face difficult choices – love or duty? Career or marriage? Is it possible to have it all …?'

2 y separately published work icon Mr Chen's Emporium Deborah O'Brien , North Sydney : Bantam Australia , 2012 6934579 2012 single work novel historical fiction

'In 1872, seventeen-year-old Amy Duncan arrives in the Gold Rush town of Millbrooke, having spent the coach journey daydreaming about glittering pavilions and gilded steeples. What she finds is a dusty main street lined with ramshackle buildings.

'That is until she walks through the doors of Mr Chen's Emporium, a veritable Aladdin's cave, and her life changes forever. Though banned from the store by her dour clergyman father, Amy is entranced by its handsome owner, Charles Chen . . .

'In present-day Millbrooke, recently widowed artist Angie Wallace has rented the Old Manse where Amy once lived. When her landlord produces an antique trunk containing Amy's intriguingly diverse keepsakes – both Oriental and European – Angie resolves to learn more about this mysterious girl from the past.

'And it's not long before the lives of two very different women, born a century apart, become connected in the most poignant and timeless ways.

'Deborah O'Brien's fiction debut is a mesmerising story of forbidden love and following one's heart . . .'

1 Child of Chernobyl Deborah O'Brien , 2010 single work short story
— Appears in: Under One Sky : Writing the Wet Tropics 2010; (p. 83-87)