Facing the Flame

Facing the Flame 1

by Jackie French and Jackie French

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 20/11/2017

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $29.99 $25.49

There have been fires before, but not like this.

In 1978, as the hot wind howls and the grass dries, all who live at Gibber's Creek know their land can burn. But when you love your land, you fight for it.

For Jed Kelly, an even more menacing danger looms: a man from her past determined to destroy her. Finding herself alone, trapped and desperate to save her unborn child, Jed's only choice is to flee into the flames.

Heartbreaking and powerful, Facing the Flame celebrates the triumph of courage and community, and a love for the land so deep that not even bushfire can erode it.

Historical fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
The Matilda Saga
HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Country of origin:
Dimensions (mm):
Jackie French

Jackie was the Australian Children's Laureate for 2014/15 and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. She is also an historian, ecologist, dyslexic, and a passionate worker for literacy, the right of all children to be able to read, and the power of books.

Jackie's writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.

Her books range from provocative historical fiction such as Hitler’s Daughter and They Came on Viking Ships to the hilarious international bestseller, Diary of a Wombat with Bruce Whatley, as well as many nonfiction titles such as The Fascinating History of Your Lunch, and To the Moon and Back (with Bryan Sullivan), the history of Australia’s Honeysuckle Creek and man’s journey to the moon.

In 2000, Hitler’s Daughter was awarded the CBC Younger Readers’ Award. To the Moon and Back won the Eve Pownall Award in 2005. Macbeth and Son, and Josephine Wants to Dance were both shortlisted for the 2007 CBC Awards.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • A fire like the area has never seen

    by on

    Jackie French is a prolific Australian author talented across a number of genres, a number of very different genres. I haven’t read a lot of her work but hers is certainly a name that I know well.

    Facing The Flame is a story targeted to both teens and adults. I thought this was a stand alone genre crossover novel set in the late 1970s. It turns out that it is a book connected to the Matilda Saga, I think the next in the series, but I don’t think that is going to matter. I haven’t read the Matlida Saga, though I have read book four which we book clubbed back in 2015; To Love A Sunburnt Country was set in 1942, in the midst of a war. The books in the Matilda Saga take a look at Australia’s history and are named for iconic songs. The last book was supposed to be the last of the series so this may well be a stand alone book featuring the places and the characters of the Matilda Saga.

    I truly believe that Facing the Flame is going to stand convincingly regardless of how familiar you are with the series.

    Facing The Flame is a story of strong and courageous characters that feel a deep connection to their community, their family, their friends and the land. They are in touch with their history and are connected to the land through teachings passed down through the generations. The characters have faced hardship, some will always have to work harder than most to achieve their dreams, and they come from a very multi-cultural background. We only find out what French tells us about the characters so on more than one occasion we got almost halfway through the book before we discovered the racial heritage of a character; sometimes that is because we are coming in at the end of the series but I think I found it the same in To Love a Sunburnt Country. I think I loved this about the writing style because it showed that French didn’t allow her characters to be defined by their racial history. In a time in history that race was an important defining factor of people and what they could achieve French chooses to write characters that aren’t defined by their race.

    The stories are fiction but I’m sure that French has kept the characters historically accurate in what they could achieve while still downplaying their race. It is very late so I apologise if this is a little rambly, I can’t quite find the words to explain what I’m trying to say so perhaps I will just move along.

    Gibber’s Creek 1977 and 1978, the land is dry and those with a deep connection can see the signs. The land is ripe for bushfire and though the area has seen fires before this is something new, this is long going to leave it’s mark.

    Jackie French has spent time fighting bushfires personally and spent a lot of time talking to people in the wake of the Canberra fires in 2003. French’s characters have seen their share of fires and the older generations have watched the land come back rejuvenated after fire but none have seen anything like the fires that threaten their homes, their quiet valleys and their loved ones in the summer of ’78.

    Gibber’s Creek is a collector of special souls from all over; characters with drive and determination. There is a home that was begun to as a facility to help with those affected by polio but now it caters to all sorts of people who need rehabilitation. River View is a facility that offers a future to people who don’t feel like they have one and when it is threatened by flames it’s a hard loss to comtemplate.

    French has written her characters beautifully, and they aren’t all human. There is a beautiful dog who is a character in her own right but the most intriguing character was that of the fire itself, written with personality and a life of its own.

    Facing The Flame is a story of courage and determination; a story of community and refusing to give up. It’s certainly appropriate for both a teen and adult audience, and my 14yr old has her eye on this one to pick up next.