Paula Xiberras

It’s lovely catching up with Fiona McArthur again this time to discuss her novel ‘Heart of the sky’. As is usually the case the title says it all, this is a novel with real heart, whether with the friendships between the majority female characters or through the care of Tess Daley for her patients.

The novel, Fiona tells me was inspired by the work of The McGrath Foundation and its breast care nurses that are located the breadth of Australia providing all patients no matter where they live with the best of care and support.

In a novel about healing in its many forms our protagonist Tess is seeking her own healing after losing her husband Victor and so she joins The Flying Doctors working out of Mica Ridge.

The novel is also the continuing story of the female protagonists we met in ‘The Homestead Girls’ although this novel can be read as a stand-alone book. Fiona has cleverly given us women of different stages of life each bringing with them the hopes and aspirations for love and happiness. Joining Tess as a new border at the homestead is Charlie, who as the resident male has his own connected story to play out.

Fiona is passionate about highlighting women’s health, whether it be as a midwife, tackling domestic violence or in this case the role of breast care nurses, Fiona tells me she wanted to show the patients in the novel as making informed choices for their treatment. For rural women there are additional difficult choices of whether they can leave their farm for a variety of different treatment options. Fiona doesn’t stress a right or wrong decision but wants to see the patients given control in a situation that can leave them feeling they don’t have any.

‘Heart of the Sky’ is out now published by Penguin