Anzac Day – Recommended Reads

Vietnam War Memorial Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 30th May 2015

Me on Anzac Parade, the huge, memorial-lined road that leads up to the museum.

Today is Anzac Day, Australia and new Zealand’s biggest day for our war veterans. The national ceremony at the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra is televised, and before that there’s a dawn service (which I have never been to, despite coming from a family of veterans, but I always hear the neighbours getting up at about 4am!).


We usually drop by the War Memorial a little later in the day and spend some time at the Vietnam War section.

I was trying to think of romance and suspense reads that involve Australian military or veterans, and came up with a few authors.

Hélène Young writes suspense books with some romance, and featuring Australian military characters.


Barbara Hannay’s The Secret Years is set half in the Second World War and half in the present, and I really enjoyed it. The woman in the WW2 part is posted to the consulate in Canberra.

The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

Sarah Mayberry has a really good book about a female veteran.

More Than One Night by Sarah Mayberry

Joan Kilby’s Protecting her Son involves an Australian Special Forces veteran, and has a scene at the end set at the War Memorial above!

Protecting Her Son

Fiona Greene’s Home For Christmas – well, the cover and title tell you what you need to know!

Home For Christmas by Fiona Greene

Karly Lane writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, with some themes involving veterans.


And, for Kiwi veteran heroes, there is Karina Bliss’ New Zealand Special Forces series, beginning with Here Comes the Groom.


Christmas Reads: Home For Christmas by Fiona Greene

Home For Christmas by Fiona Greene

What began as an impersonal-but-cheerful holiday gift for a soldier far from home becomes so much more…

Sergeant Tate McAuliffe, stationed in Afghanistan, opens his Christmas care package from Australia and is stunned by both its contents and the sender.

Fun-loving Christmas tree designer Layla Preston is a breath of fresh air for loner Tate. Although they’ve never met, their email friendship quickly develops and their feelings for each other deepen.

But Layla knows the heartache that loving a soldier can bring and when Tate is injured, her deep-seated fear drives them apart. With their relationship in tatters, can Layla and Tate work through their differences, so Layla can welcome Tate home for Christmas?

Home For Christmas by Fiona Greene

This was a nice little contemporary romance without any Christmas cheese! I liked a lot of things about it, including the gradual and sensible way hero and heroine fell in love – over long distance email no less. I really like a well-written contemporary with Australian characters. I don’t know whether it’s familiarity that makes it seem more “real” to me than many books, or if it’s true what some people say and that Australian/Kiwi authors just generally do a good job with this genre.

Home For Christmas is a fairly quick read, but I didn’t feel like the story was rushed. There was quite a lot of angst in the characters’ backstories, but that’s quite common these days. Also, I thought it was handled much better than it usually is. Nobody was overly tragic and melodramatic – a pet hate of mine!

Silly, but something I didn’t like was how the 7th of January was repeatedly referred to as “Orthodox Christmas”. It’s NOT. What is it is the date people who follow the old calendar celebrate. I’m Ukrainian Catholic, and as with millions of people like me, have spent my whole life explaining that no, I’m not Orthodox just because I celebrate Christmas and Easter on different dates!

However, that’s a really silly thing to complain about, and a teeny tiny part of the story.

This is another one of those contemporary romances you read at Christmastime if you’re not sure you like Christmas-themed romances. Not cheesy, not featuring clichéd characters. Not any of those things.

I thought it was well done.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.