'On a balmy midsummer's evening in 1923, a young woman - foreign, dishevelled and heavily pregnant - is found unconscious just off the railway tracks in the tiny logging community of Woody Creek.
The town midwife, Gertrude Foote, is roused from her bed when the woman is brought to her door. Try as she might, Gertrude is unable to save her, but the baby lives.
When no relatives come forth to claim the infant, Gertrude's daughter Amber - who has recently lost a son in childbirth - and her husband Norman take the child in. In the ensuing weeks, Norman becomes convinced that God has sent the baby to their door, and in an act of reckless compassion and lonely desperation, he names the baby Jennifer and registers her in place of his son.
Loved by some but scorned by more, including her stepmother and sister, Jenny survives her childhood and grows into an exquisite and talented young woman. But who were her parents?
Spanning two momentous decades and capturing rural Australia's complex and mysterious heart, Pearl in a Cage is the unputdownable new novel by one of our most talented storytellers.' (From the publisher's website.)
'The second sensational instalment in Joy Dettman's epic new Woody Creek series. Pearl in a Cage ended in May 1939 when, just fifteen years old, Jenny Morrison fled Woody Creek for a new life in Melbourne. She left behind a dysfunctional family, a town of small-minded gossips and, most tragically, a newborn baby - the product of a vicious rape. Mustering all her strength, she resolved to put her past behind her, reclaim her identity and pursue her dream of becoming a famous singer...
'Yet just months later she is back - wiser and with an expensive new wardrobe - but with a second child growing in her belly.
'Cruelly labelled the "town slut", she finds refuge in Gertrude, her kind-hearted, dependable granny and Woody Creek's indomitable midwife, and settles into a routine in the ever-expanding household. Exactly how Vern Cooper - the one man Gertrude truly loves - fits into this family of misfits is something that Gertrude will have to grapple with.
'Jenny thrives and, daring once again to dream, leaves Woody Creek for a second time and moves to Sydney, where at last it seems that the beautiful young songstress may find happiness...
'But can the past ever truly be buried? And will Jenny Morrison ever fulfil her destiny?' (From the publisher's website.)
'In Moth to the Flame, Joy Dettmann returns with another dazzling tale of the unforgettable characters of Woody Creek.
'The year is 1946. The war ended five months ago. Jim Hooper, Jenny Morrison's only love, was lost to that war. And if not for Jenny, he would never have gone.
'"An eye for an eye," Vern Hooper says. An unforgiving man, Vern wants custody of Jenny's son, his only grandson, and is quietly planning his day in court.
'Then Jenny's father Archie Foote swoops back into town. Archie offers Jenny a tantalising chance at fame and fortune; one way or another he is determined to play a part in her life.
'Is Jenny's luck about to change, or is she drawn to trouble like a moth is drawn to a flame?' (From the publisher's website.)
'The wind is whispering in Woody Creek... Change is in the air.
'It's 1958 and Woody Creek is being dragged - kicking and screaming - into the swinging sixties.
'Jenny's daughters, Cara and Georgie, are now young women. They have inherited their mother's hands, but that is where their similarity ends. Raised separately, they have never met.
'A mistake from Cara's teenage years looms over her future, but she believes emphatically in the white wedding and happily ever after myth. Georgie has seen enough of marriage and motherhood. She plans to live her life as her grandmother did, independent of a man.
'But life for the Morrison girls has never been easy, and once the sisters are in each other's lives, long-buried secrets are bound to be unearthed, the dramatic consequences of which no-one could have predicted...' (From the publisher's website.)
'Georgie - Independent and spirited, Georgie is her mother's daughter through and through. But after a house fire both takes the life of her sister, Margot, and burns her home to the ground, Georgie is lost. She flees town with nothing but a cardboard box and the determination to be somebody,anybody, else.
'Cara - After almost losing her adopted daughter, Cara's view of the world has radically shifted. She's decided that life is to be lived and love is to be cherished, even when that means crossing boundaries she'd never dreamed of. But is any love great enough to overcome an unimaginable burden of guilt and shame?
'Jim - The war that's continued in Jim's head for years finally threatens to destroy him. As he becomes more and more withdrawn, Jenny becomes increasingly desperate to unearth the young man she fell in love with. But does that Jim even exist anymore, and if so, does he wish to be found?
'Jenny - With her nest empty and Jim so unreachable, Jenny is more lonely than ever. Rattling around her big old house with too much time to think, she's left to wonder: should her secrets stay buried forever or will revealing the truth set her free?' (Publisher's blurb)