Australian author Jesse Blackadder, whose award-winning work ranged from historical fiction to books for children, has died aged 56 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
- Robert Moran, Sydney Morning Herald June 12, 2020
I met Jesse at a Gold Coast Writers Literary Luncheon several years ago. She was a warm and engaging person with generous advice for authors and writing admirers.
At the time she presented her book, The Raven’s Heart, to a Gold Coast Writers meeting.
I had seen her posts about being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was shocked to see the world had lost this talented individual. This year has been a year of hurdles for us all.
I’ll share a few reviews of the books she wrote that I’ve read and reviewed. As you can see she was able to give the world a variety of styles of books, from her own quest to find her origins of the Blackadder family, adult alternative lifestyle dramas and young adults.
The Raven’s Heart: A Story of a Quest, a Castle and Mary Queen of Scots
This is Jesse Blackadder going to the source of her own family heritage and weaving a delightful tale.
Alison Blackadder is the strong main character. She is a driven young girl doing whatever she can to win the favour of a young Mary Queen of Scots so that she could win back the Blackadder castle her birthright. With her flair for disguise, she becomes the Queens valued confidante and spy. There is danger at every turn, going to town to find out what the real folk think of the Queen’s return from exile she gains knowledge of plots while befriending some who become untrustworthy. Life in the Royal court is dangerous, but, her need to will back the Blackadder castle that was cruelly stolen from their family by a murderous clan a generation before is all-encompassing.
An embellished historic epic tale of the turbulent times of the young Queen of Scots the suspicion and plots to undermine her rule very close. Would Queen Mary really have disguised herself as a man and gone to town with her maidservants attired the same way to hear the local gossip? It’s an intriguing what if.
When Alison finds love and has her heartbroken, her trust tried and misplaced, her journey offering a hope that she would indeed regain the Blackadder castle, then the opportunity slipping away.
This is a great book that is certainly an enjoyable read worth keeping on the bookshelf for a second or third reading.
‘Black Dragon’ is a feng shui consultant and hosting a party for her group of eccentric friends, it’s early December in Byron Bay. This would be a night that changed lives.
Zac the successful photographer is there. He nearly chokes but Black Dragon thumps the obstruction out. He has been to see Kate, but she has other ideas. They had been together for a while. Madeline was there with Kate. The hospital is crowded and they see an overdosed girl on a trolley. When Zac gets back to Black Dragons house, he takes her car for a drive down to Broken Heart Beach. He gets out and runs into the water thinking of Kate.
Dominique escapes the hospital next morning to escape questions about her overdose, it was just bad luck. Her boyfriend Sean had disappeared. Dom has been running all her life, she can keep going.
Madeline goes back to Black Dragon’s. She is shaken up seeing Zac at Kate’s, so Black Dragon takes her to see Byron Bay on a pushbike. Madeline wonders about her own life. ‘Leap of Faith’ the window cleaning business she and Rob had set up in Sydney is a world away.
After the party, Black Dragon gets a call from her dad; she goes away for three days to help him clean out his rubbish and his life. When she returns her car is still missing with Zac.
Zac’s townhouse in Balmain is empty. People are starting to look for him. Zac’s father hires a private detective because he’s getting nowhere with the police.
Black Dragon likes to be alone at Christmas. She doesn’t want to bring back memories of her past. Then she meets Dom and the past starts catching up with her.
I won’t say more about where the investigation goes. Jesse Blackadder has inter-twined the Byron Bay culture into the story and the ending is a perfect culmination of the lives she’s created. You will have to read it to get the answers to the many questions raised ‘after the party.’
Book Review by Jill Smith©Jun20
Title: Storm (Dream Riders #2)
Author: Jesse Blackadder & Laura Bloom
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Storm lives with her hippy alternate living parents and siblings. She is competing in an archery contest at the local show as part of their Medieval Fair. A distraction comes in the form of a magnificent dappled horse who charges across from the jousting event in the next paddock. The horse is the one she dreamed about the night before.
This thirteen-year-old has an overwhelming urge to see the horse again, to own it. Thou art mine, is her one thought. This thought drives Storm to want to ride, although she’s never been on a horse. She joins the Dream Riders pony club so she can prove to Morning Mists owner that she can ride the horse. This group becomes a diversion from the chores at home where they live a barter existence, washing is done by hand and takes days to complete.
Storm new friends from Dream Riders help her learn more about a world outside her sheltered life. Can she ever raise the money to by Mist? Will the horse of her dreams really want her to be part of her life? Will Storm be able to prove her capability at the next Show competition?
The confrontation of the two lifestyles ends in a compromise. Storm’s grandfather offers to help her by letting her live part-time with him so she can earn money filling shelves in the local supermarket. Her family don’t go into supermarkets, so that is also a culture shock for Storm. Her friends come together and help with a crowdfunding project. The internet is another mystery to her, she can’t understand how people can offer to help her buy her dream horse.
Just before the show competition Storm plans to display how well she can ride, the owner of Morning Mist tells her she’s sold the horse. Storm is devastated, her dreams are dashed.
The conclusion is a wonderful coming together of her family and friends and fusing of lifestyles.
This is a delightful read about self-discovery and coming of age. I’m looking forward to giving this to my granddaughter.
Jessica Blackadder will be sadly missed by all her writing friends and followers.