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December 1, 2022


#AusReadingMonth2022 Brenda Niall (…last minute!)

by NancyElin


Friends and Rivals, Four Great Australian Writers by Brenda Niall by Brenda Niall (no photo)


Genre: non-fiction
Rating: D
Review: Friends and Rivals (ISBN:9781922268594)


Quick Scan:

O-29%: Ethel Turner….not very interesting….kept falling asleep.
30-47%: Barbara Baynton…insights into a now forgotten writer.
48-70%: H.H. Richardson…this was the best section…there was more depth in the writing.
71-91%: Nettie Palmer…complete unknown writer for me before reading this book.


Good news:  I read this book because I KNOW Brenda Niall is a great writer…


Bad news:

  1. …but this time I felt she “phoned in” the  manuscript.
  2. There was no “buzz” in her writing and it is just my opinion
  3. ...the writing showed low enthusiasm or effort.
  4. Much of what I learned about these women writers I could have found on
  5. Wikipedia and other websites on the internet.



  1. The book was informative…just textbook dull.
  2.  I’ve read H.H.Richardson’s The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney and
  3. …it was a great book…worth your reading time!
  4. After reading about  Ms Turner, Baynton and Palmer I feel no urge to
  5. explore their writings.
  6. There are so many other Australian women to read!
Read more from Uncategorized
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dec 1 2022

    Yes! I read this last year and was less than impressed. The links were tenuious, she didn’t pull together the idea in any cogent way, and I felt like she lifted a lot of the bio material straight from their autobiographies and letters without any real analysis or questioning or research.

    • Dec 1 2022

      I was disappointed b/c I KNOW Ms Niall is a great writer.
      Have you read any of her books? I only read Mannix and I was blown away about the connection of a poor priest from Ireland and how he could become such a “power-broker” in Australia. Any Niall recommendations?

      • Dec 1 2022

        No I haven’t and this one has put me off I bit I just admit. Except so many people love her earlier bio’s…🤷🏼‍♀️

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