Book Review: Goodwood by Holly Throsby is a sharp, well written and charming novel

Holly Throsby is an Australian singer songwriter (and now novelist) who has five albums under her repertoire as a solo artist. Holly has now thrown her voice out and her thoughts in, to showcase her new debut novel, Goodwood.

Goodwood is a story not about musicians or anything related to the musical world; it’s a story about a small town that up until now only had bad rumours (and the odd weird person). But then two people go missing, not one, but two. What secrets does the small town hold?

Small towns are known to be some of the friendliest places to live. The ‘everyone knows everything’ type of place. Goodwood (set in 1992) seems like that too, until two people go missing and then no one seems to known anything.

The storyline, described through the observant eyes of  17 year old Jean, a naive and innocent small town girl, unfolds in a sharp, well written way and has a plot, which kept me interested throughout. It’s an easy read and you’ll love the characters, especially Nan and Pop, who make me wish I had grandparents like these two. I found it interesting that a 17 year old would hang out at the pub with their mum and grandparents and other family members and eat dinner most nights at home, and not too many teenagers would let their mum walk into the bathroom whilst they were having a bath, to grab something and even have quick chat. I guess that is what makes this novel charming.

The novel is full of great sentences like; ‘Mack looked through the windscreen at the dark road, and saw the raindrops like pencil lines in his head lights’, lines like these kept me interested, and then ‘his footsteps bled away’ – you just gotta love sentences written this way!

Although the book can be dark in nature, thinking about the missing people and the secrets that some people have and struggle with and never mention, there is also a multitude of colour underlining the paragraphs, and there’s even a love story mixed in with the drama that is sweet and innocent. Without giving too much away, the book builds to an ending that reflects the underlying issues of small towns and reveals that all is not what it seems in the town of Goodwood.

I’m really loving that a musician is writing a novel, their songs reflect a story – a three minute story, and I can think of a few songs I’d like to see put into novels (‘Brother, My Cup is Empty’ by Nick Cave and ‘This Is Not the Way Home’ by The Cruel Sea and no doubt you’ve just conjured up many in your minds). I digress however, as this book isn’t a song made into a novel, but it made me realise how appropriate songwriters are to take the step into publishing stories.

Hopefully you’ll be as charmed by the book as I am. I’ll leave you with this from the book ‘Loss is like a magnifying glass. It enlarges people’.

Goodwood is available now through Allen & Unwin

Holly Throsby is currently touring the novel around Australia. Visit her website for more information.