Previously Published Book
Jane Breckener, from Sydney, receives her first teaching appointment at a high school in a small town on the north coast of NSW. Here she falls in love with Mark McMillan, an ambitious young dairy farmer who shows no interest in her except as a friend. She is devastated when he becomes infatuated with her best friend and flatmate. But the affair does not last, and suddenly, at a time when Jane is facing a major crisis in her life, Mark asks her to marry him. Jane accepts his proposal, but she takes into the marriage all her doubts and worries about Mark, and her obsessive dependence on him. The resulting problems, combined with other setbacks and difficulties, eventually become insurmountable. After many years, during which Jane makes a new life for herself and in the process gains independence, confidence and peace of mind, she finally learns the truth about Mark and her marriage. She is then faced with a decision harder than any other she has ever had to make. This epic story, with its authentically Australian setting, traces Jane’s life from the time she was a child growing up in Sydney in the 1950s to her retirement from teaching at the beginning of this century. Against a background of some of the main social changes that took place during this time, it evokes strong emotions as it explores issues such as attitudes to pre-marital sex and pregnancy, the work/child rearing bind faced by women, and dealing with adolescents in the new “permissive age.” Running like a thread through all the years are the main themes of marriage, separation and abiding love.