30 October 2010

Hale and Hardy

by Paul Carter

Pan Macmillan Australia. Adult fiction, Australian. Paperback, rrp $34.99

Reviewed by Barbara Brown

Doctor John Hale and his wife have emigrated from the mother land to to Melbourne to escape and forget. But travelling half way around the world doesn’t help and the couple go their separate ways. Life takes a huge backwards step until one night Hale finds himself sitting in his car when he notices a sign on a run-down church ‘Unless you change direction you will end up where you are going.’

Seeing the sign as an epitaph, Dr Hale decides to leave the hustle and bustle of Melbourne and move to the slower, more relaxed lifestyle of a country doctor.

Every chapter in Hale and Hardy is a story in itself. Paul Carter is a country GP in central Victoria writing about a world he knows well - the people and animals that surround small rural communities. Although some may think that country life is slow and dull, Paul Carter has created a wonderful cast of fascinating characters. There is tragedy, love, companionship, grief, happiness all told with a delightful humour that kept me intrigued right to the last page.

I hope there will be another book continuing the story of Doctor John Hale. And if you are wondering who is Hardy, all I can say is he is a remarkable companion, listener and philosopher. Read the book. You won’t regret it.

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