Perhaps the first thing you might do after picking up Kathleen Jennings’ fantasy novella is pull out the map and look for Inglewell somewhere between the Coral Sea and the Indian Ocean. Does it exist? Is it real?
In this former mining town, full of withering things, there is a house with the prettiest front garden on Upper Spicer Street. There, 19-year-old Bettina Scott lives with her sickly mother, Nerida, who over the years has quieted Bettina’s curiosities about the mysterious disappearance of her father and her two older brothers.
But when an unexpected note makes an appearance in the mailbox, Bettina finds it hard to resist the urge to seek the truth about her family. She reluctantly turns to Gary Damson and Trish Aberdeen, two formerly inseparable best friends who’ve had a bad falling out. But much like everything else in this old town, they, too, are strangely connected to the riddle Bettina is trying to solve. Together, they embark in Gary’s old beaten truck to chase tales of cursed creatures, bewitched vines and desert monsters, all of which seem as much part of their past as Inglewell’s.
Jennings grew up on fairy tales on a cattle station in Western Queensland, Australia, and worked as a translator and lawyer before completing a master of philosophy in creative writing. Jennings is also an illustrator, and the cover design and chapter illustrations are her own. Part ghost story, part murder mystery and part fairy tale, Flyaway feels like a perfect combination of all Jennings’ experiences and imagination.