Andrea Mayes was born in the north of England in 1955 and emigrated to Melbourne in 1976. She has written stories and poetry since she was a child. Her writing has won awards and commendations and has been published in literary magazines, anthologies, newspapers, and broadcast by the ABC. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Rose Notes (Penguin 2005), interweaving the stories of two families in a fictional southern Riverina landscape, is listed for VCE Literature Studies 2008/9/10. Her second novel, Shearwater (Penguin 2007), tells the story of Cassie Callinan as she learns to to handle one of life's more brutal surprises with her own brand of courage and humour. Shearwater reached the Top Ten Bestsellers list nationally.
Cassie Callinan has run away from home, escaping her marriage of 28 years. On learning of her husband's affair with a younger woman she flees her old life and finds herself adrift at Shearwater, an isolated coastal village in Victoria. With no idea how long she'll stay Cassie is--reluctantly, at first--drawn into the lives of the town's eccentric inhabitants and into her own journey of self-discovery. Quirky, small-town characters abound and seem to be de rigueur in almost any novel or film set in Australia, but rather than presenting us with more paper-cut-out crazies, Mayes has drawn some well-rounded characters with sufficient mystery to keep readers interested. There is a lot of heart in this novel. Andrea Mayes writes with an assured voice. Her prose is taut, well-paced and, at times, quite poetic: 'In that place, the birds come and go in great clouds, and the season turns at the rush of grey wings.' Shearwater, Andrea Mayes's follow up to The Rose Notes, is a story of love, hope and human frailty, and will, no doubt, appeal to readers of Anita Shreve and, possibly, Kate Veitch. This is a novel for women of all ages. Deborah Crabtree is a Melbourne-based fiction writer and bookseller