Margaret River Press

You make the best choices you can at the time Beth, knowing you’ll never have to live this life again.’ Val shakes her head, her voice cracks. ‘You’d never want to.’

Thirty-one-year-old Beth, who’s grown up in Western Australia’s wheatbelt, is running from her past when she heads to an island in Papua New Guinea. Interwoven with Beth’s narrative about the joys and brutalities of island life is the story of her parents' passionate, tender love for each other. But Clem and Rose’s union is beset with tragedy, forever marking the lives of those around them.

Bloodlines is a layered novel with shifting settings, times and voices. At its heart it is a story about love – love found and love lost – and the choices that shape us. If offers insight into the complexities of daily life in Papua New Guinea and how it feels to be an outsider in our closest neighbour’s land. It is also a story about family, exploring the bonds that tie us to our clan – specifically, the changing relationship between father and daughter as a young girl grows into a woman; the grief, and acceptance required.  On many levels, it is a novel about letting go of the past and forgiveness of self, of saving and being saved. Above all, Bloodlines asks us to consider what it means to make a home, and what we might owe to those who dwell in it.

The major achievement of this deftly written novel lies in its balancing of dual narratives, as they are revealed in the past and present. Shifting between the perspectives of five memorable characters, this ambitious, big-hearted, and at times confronting novel, heralds an exciting new voice in Australian literature.

Nicole Sinclair’s short fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the Review of Australian Fiction, Westerlyindigo Journal and Award Winning Australian Writing, and also forms part of the artworks along Busselton Jetty. Her short stories have won the Katharine Susannah Prichard Short Fiction Award and the Down South Writers Competition. Bloodlines is Nicole’s first novel and was shortlisted for the 2014 TAG Hungerford Award. Nicole has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea and now lives in the south-west of Western Australia with her husband and two (very young) daughters.

Bloodlines by Nicole Sinclair

You make the best choices you can at the time Beth, knowing you’ll never have to live this life again.’ Val shakes her head, her voice cracks. ‘You’d never want to.’

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Publication Year
March 2017
Margaret River Press

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Reviews & Press

In our first review for our forthcoming title, Bloodlines by Nicole Sinclair receives four stars from Jessica Slade reviewing for Books + Publishing Reviews.

Thirty-one-year-old Beth is lost in her current life in Western Australia’s wheat belt and running from a past that haunts her. She seeks refuge on an island in Papua New Guinea and throws herself into her work teaching at a local school, making new friends and learning the sometimes-harsh ways of the small community. Interwoven with Beth’s narrative is that of her parents’—the story of their love, life and loss is one that has significant impact on those around them. The differences between the unknown terrain of Papua New Guinea and the familiarity of home in Western Australia make the island setting an ideal backdrop for Beth to compare her old life with the new, and discover what it means to live an authentic and happy life. She learns that more often than not, home is about the people you choose to surround yourself with, and that everyone has a past they carry with them. Though this is a work of realistic fiction, it explores similar themes to travel memoirs—using a new geographical setting to trigger the protagonist’s inner journey. Nicole Sinclair was shortlisted for the TAG Hungerford Award for this book, and it is a thoughtful, heartfelt work with a well-executed use of multiple narratives and varying perspectives. This enjoyable read marks the emergence of a sincere and refreshing new voice in the Australian literary world

Jessica Slade is a former bookseller with Abbey’s Bookshop in Sydney

'This is the kind of novel I like: the more I reflect on it, the more there is to think about.' says Lisa Hill in her review of Bloodlines.  Read Lisa's full review on her blog ANZ LitLovers LitBlog.

'Bloodlines is a quiet, peaceful book, beautifully written, filled with humour and warmth.' - Louise Allan

"In many ways, Bloodlines is about connection: connection to the past, connection to place, connection to others." 2, 2 and 2 by Amanda Curtin. 

"The inclusion of the story of Beth's parents' courtship is an interesting stylistic choice, and one which works very well.  Clem and Rose's romance, while following less of a literary bent than the rest of the book, softens what could otherwise be quite a solemn and introspective narrative, and builds on the character of Beth by hinting at the kind of home life she has had and the kind of people who raised her." Review by writer Emily Paull.

"Bloodlines is an amazing debut novel, deftly weaving the entwined stories of Beth and her mother, in settings as vivid as they are disparate." - Sally Murphy, for Aussie Reviews.

"This is a hugely satisfying book that deals with real people in diverse cultures with fairness and honesty." - Ian Lipke for Queensland Reviewers Collective.

"It made feel all warm and fuzzy. It was certainly very touching." - Interview by Claire Nichols for ABC Radio National

Tasmania Times chats to Nicole,


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