Empire Day, 1948. A back street in Bondi is transformed as the fireworks of Cracker Night cast a magical glow over its humble cottages. But Australia as a whole is being transformed in this postwar era and the people of Wattle Street know that life will never be the same again. The 'reffos' have moved in, and their strange ways are threatening the comfortable world of salt-of-the-earth locals like Pop Wilson, deserted mum Kath and sharp-tongued Maude McNulty.
With suspicious and disapproving eyes, the Australians observe their new neighbours -- mysterious Mr Emil, fragile young Lilija and all the other Europeans starting their lives afresh. Mistrust and misunderstandings abound on both sides. To Hania, an angry teenager struggling to cope with her hysterical mother, and to Sala, an unhappily married woman trying to blot out her traumatic wartime past, the Australians appear enviably carefree.
But behind closed doors, Old as well as New Australians suffer secret heartaches. As the smoke of fires past and present gradually disperses and the lives of the two groups entwine, unexpected relationships form that bring passion and tragedy for some, and forgiveness and resolution for others.
Praise for Empire Day
This book makes me proud to be Australian – Armstrong has perfectly captured the spirit of Australia. It’s a heartwarming read with great characters, and very well researched
Empire Day is a worthy successor to Armstrong’s previous works and is yet another gemstone in the mosaic which she has skilfully created, a picture of knowledge to tell us who we are, and where we came from.
Empire Day is the engrossing story of the residents of Wattle Street, Bondi Junction in 1948.
Like Maeve Binchy, but with tremendous gravitas, Armstrong’s talent is to make each of this suburban community a friend about whom we deeply care. Armstrong provides a thoroughly entertaining multi-strand novel
A cleverly observed, well-written slice of post-war life in Bondi.
A pacy mix of mystery, crime thriller and romance, this historical saga looks at the fallout of war from a different angle.
A captivating story with a host of interesting characters. Armstrong weaves a multi-strand novel that explores the clash of old and new Australians
Armstrong brings to life a bygone Sydney, generating real wonder and delight…seamlessly created. The lives within Empire Day are fascinating, full of drama and pathos.