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The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (Butterfly Hunter) (Volume 3) Paperback – October 31, 2014
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
About the Author
I was born in England, and lived most of my life in Australia, before returning to the UK a few years ago; my dual nationality means that I am often a bit too cheeky, but will always apologise for it. I have been writing fiction for almost thirty years, mostly for the enjoyment of me and my friends, but writing is my love and my vocation, so of course that’s where my dreams and ambitions are. In the meantime, technical writing (mostly CBT) helps to pay the mortgage, while I also have fun with web design, reading, watching movies and television, and knitting.
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The second in the series was ok. We get Dave in England to find, be with Nicholas, but is is like an intermission in a way, not what I was looking for; though we see Nicholas on his home turf, and his family, who are wonderful and what I imagine a large, titled family, maybe not eccentric but a different one of them can be loved and cared for, and maybe how Nicholas is so himself. Julie writes in a way that is so pleasurable to read, I have been on the Easter weekend reading all three books, and did not skip book 2.
This book, however, answers a few of my questions from the first book.....and the final chapter was a readers blessing, in that my (emotional to me) question had a definitive answer. Not that we don't know because it is mention several times (sorry to seem obtuse, just trying not to spoil). But the last chapter is fully that, and it is careful, but full, and it brings tears to my eyes just writing this. Some things in this world are special, and somethings can be shared. What is secret in the dance and Dreaming I do not know, but it was pretty powerful for me as it was. So, then I finished the book, and went back to the start of this chapter and read it again, more slowly this time, putting myself in that space....and being lushly there if that makes sense.
What a wonderful finale for The Butterfly Hunter!
Highly recommended, read all of them. xx
Of course the writer has to focus on the couple's beloved waterhole, filled with mystique and magic. After all the waterhole, with its enchanted pool, wattle and blue butterflies, was where it all started for Dave and Nicholas. A sense of urgency permeats the plot when the discovery of iron threatens its survival. There is a touch of mysticism and enchantment in the story as the song lines worked its magic to deliver a fitting resolution to the fate of their beloved waterhole. But most importantly Dave and Nicholas have their love which is even more precious and irreplaceable. Love the writing.
The domestic bliss however does get a small hiatus when Robin, Nicholas’s nephew, comes to stay for a while before starting Uni. Robin adores his Uncle Nick and because he’s staying with his two Guncles then this means that Nicholas and Dave have to be on best behaviour – lol!
I just loved the character of Robin, eighteen years old, young and possibly a little naïve and like most teenagers is connected to his smart phone via an umbilical cord. I found him absolutely adorable to be honest. Always optimistic, ready for fun and gets a real panic when there is no mobile internet. – lol! However, he hits his Uncle Nicholas and Dave with a bit of a surprise when he announces to them that he’s asexual: love but no sex. My immediate reaction was, seriously? He’s eighteen! His hormones should be coursing through his veins at the speed of light and any eighteen year old male teenager I have never known is usually horny 24/7 – lol! So Robin gets the same sort of reaction from his Uncles as I had initially, but they try to be understanding while probably thinking he’ll grow out of it. I liked this whole idea that two gay men, who also look for acceptance and tolerance in others, are now confronted with something out of their area of understanding and can find it as just as difficult to understand someone else’s lifestyle. This did have me grinning a lot to be honest. I don’t know if this was a deliberate plot bunny, but it did work exceedingly well. Also the British / AUstralian humour is ever present and had me chuckling to myself too. I mean how can you write a book series based in Australia and the UK and not have that wonderful humour that is all prevading in these cultures.
Anyway, they all take a trip out to the waterhole, stopping in Cunnamulla to meet and pick up Charlie and while in the bar Dave gets the feeling that something strange is going down and one person appears to be a little suspicious. Only a feeling, like a sixth sense, but Dave picks up on it immediately. Well, I loved the way this left me feeling, got me all interested and wondering what is going down here. Is Nicholas’s and Dave’s perfect little world about to be turned upside down? Hhhmmm? When the four of them arrive at the waterhole - OMG - the way Julie writes about this place is just as perfect and dreamy as it was in the first book. I loved and fell in love with the whole idea about this undiscovered waterhole they found with the very rare blue butterflies as if this was a piece of Nicholas and Dave heaven only known too them and of course now they take Charlie and Robin with them. I felt this was such a great honour that these two men wanted to share the place with others even if only family and friends, the magical place that brought them together.
The thing is it is really only ever Dave who can seem to find the place, not to be found on any charted map, GPS doesn’t work here for some reason, like a place that has been lost for a million years just waiting for Dave to find it. Charlie had been trying to find it for years and didn’t even manage it as a native Australian. This is the part I loved about the whole serious. The whole dreamy, dreamtime Aboriginal culture that Julie brings into this series. Charlie has chosen Dave to pass the dreaming songs onto and they have to perform the ceremony together. You could just feel how Dave loves his country and the nature found there, how bound up and invested he is in protecting these things just got me all warm inside. A real eco-warrior our Dave with a heart! Of course Nicholas feels the same way too, but Dave is so in touch with nature it feels he is a part of the whole.
This is where the story starts to takes on a turn of events and the race is on to save the waterhole. Even I was sitting on the edge of wherever I was sitting and desperate too not to see this place lost due industrial interests. Dave’s suspicions are confirmed and it seems that the land is rich in a certain kind of iron ore called hematite because it doesn’t need to be refined first. Well, you can all probably now guess what these strangers want and what kind of company they are from. Thing is they can’t really find it and the waterhole so they start to track Dave and use intimidation tactics to bring him to show them where this area is. Dave remains so cool and meets with the Aboriginal elders and it’s now on his shoulders to find a solution. OMG! I was sweating too, thinking, noooooo they can’t destroy this beautiful place in the name of industry and natural resources. My heart was aching for the native Australians always being pushed aside in the name of progress. However, Dave can also understand that for many living in the outback, it’ll mean jobs, improvements in the infrastructure, etc. so a suitable solution has to be found for both sides. this is another quality that not only Nicholas but myself adore in Dave. He always sees the good on everyone and tries to find a solution for everything. Poor Dave, I would not have wanted to be in his shoes at all. Talk about the pressure is on. But he dealt with in my opinion so admirably who couldn’t fall in love with the man. I just loved the stories about taking his clients on trips and through this we get to learn and feel all about the Australian bush. I have never been to Australia, but reading Julie’s books so want to make me pay visit.
Anyway, as you think it can’t get any worse then Julie took me on Dave’s emotional and harrowing journey with her. The medical condition that Nicholas has takes a turn for the worse and OMG, I was left numb from worry myself. Thank goodness for friends, Denise and Vittorio remain a pillar of strength for Dave during what I can only describe as one of the most heart wrenching, gut wrenching, moments that these two have ever been through. My HEART ACHED! Yes, the tissues were nearly out, but in these situations as Denise puts it, “we need to remain cautiously optimistic.” Very wise woman. That is exactly the advice I took for myself at that moment. Come on Mark, chin up and let’s hope for the best. So with all this now happening along with the waterhole I was admiring Dave even more. The man is rock solid! However, while this was all going on due to a sudden flash of inspiration he has his epiphany and realises how he can rescue the waterhole. PHEW! I was so relieved and I would never have thought of this myself, especially after almost every channel had been explored from native land rights, to extending the boundaries of the Aboriginal reservation. Nothing had worked. But now through Nicholas he now sees what he has to do.
I must admit you are left right up until the very last minute waiting to find out whether or not there can be a solution to all of this. But then when it comes it is so beautiful. An truly magnificent ending which weaves local folklore, beliefs and the belief once again that everyone potentially carries within them. Dave uses this and due to his dreaming he sees the way to the waterhole that ancestors had taken thousands upon thousands of years before him. Yes, Charlie, the ancestors and Old Man Grunter was right in choosing Dave to protect this piece of pure heaven on earth.
Julie’s writing is poetic, dreamy and makes you want to escape to this magical waterhole yourself. However, with just the right amount of gritty reality thrown in makes it the perfect balance between the everyday trials and tribulations and a place where we can all dream of , a place that is worry free, full of love and respect ~ that is the waterhole! I have been totally awed with this series from the beginning to end. A story where two MCs have grown on me in such a way they now have a piece of my heart that will be only theirs every time I look back on Nicholas’s and Dave’s Journey.