ROSIE Gennaro and Jimmy Hailler first cross paths under the most unexpected of circumstances.
Sydneysider Rosie is in Central Queensland escaping the misery of her father’s sudden death and the realisation that his widow, her despised stepmother, is refusing to relinquish control of a house renovated years earlier by Rosie’s parents.
Jimmy is also serving a period in exile, unable to leave the Sunshine State to return to his own home in Sydney until a good-behaviour bond has been completed.
When pitching in to help a town besieged by flooding brings the pair together for a fortnight, they find comfort in each other.
Two years later, having rediscovered a mobile phone misplaced after he and Rosie parted, Jimmy retrieves 12 months’ worth of voicemail and is shocked to discover he has a son. Toto is living with Rosie at her old family home in Dalhousie Street, Haberfield – just a hop, skip and jump from the neighbourhood in which some of Jimmy’s closest friends live.
Now working as a FIFO miner Jimmy can afford to fly from Brisbane to Sydney to visit Toto and Rosie – but will he be welcome? Afraid of following his parents’ poor example and disappointing his child, he hesitates.
Rosie is struggling. Reliant on welfare payments to support herself and Toto she is confined to the upper level of her childhood residence.
The rooms downstairs are the domain of 40-something Martha, still grieving the loss of her mother and then her husband in too short a time-span. Attractive and lonely, Martha has caught the attention of former rugby league star Ewan Healy, however, a man with an equally complicated life.
The latest release from the queen of multi-generational, multicultural family fiction (most notably, Looking for Alibrandi), Dalhousie interweaves the perspectives of Australians from various cultural backgrounds in a touching tale of mixed messages and uncertainty.