Book Reviews

Cry to the Wind

I was delighted to find a historical novel that’s written from the first person perspective, as so many writers tend to stick to the traditional omniscient literary narration. Due to this, Dell Brand’s characters really won me over and I felt that I knew them well, and loved them despite their numerous flaws. Cry to the Wind doesn’t shy away from torturing its heroes with disaster after disaster, but there are also moments of true sentiment, both romantic and familial. I was fascinated by the very well-researched detail and history of the piece, as it is a part of Australian history that I knew absolutely nothing about until now. Overall, history fans will agree that Cry to the Wind is a very human story of survival set amidst a vivid and interesting period.

5 star review by KC Finn for Readers’ Favourite

Imagine travelling across a wilderness by horse with two young sons in an era when it was not only dangerous to travel because of the possibility of sickness, but also attacks and theft by natives of the land and by bushrangers. Recently widowed, Adam Cobb conquered all his anxieties and fears and set out on this journey from Sydney to Melbourne. Leaving his two sons in the care of an old friend after completing the odyssey, he ventures on another journey of self-discovery in the hope of mending his broken heart. Upon returning a second time, Adam enters the busy and successful world of Ms. Joey Gower.

A Cry to the Wind by Dell Brand is a historical fiction touching on the themes of success, grief, chaos, peace, and an ultimate change in society as a whole, through individual stories of people living during the Victorian Gold Rush. The author has created a fantastic story filled with enough action, adventure, and romance to entice the curiosity of readers from many different genres. She does not disappoint with very descriptive scenes of nature, horse and coach travel and towns, as many new stores, hotels, and other establishments were being built to accommodate the economic boom of the Gold Rush era. There were not many successful and powerful women in the 1800s and the author really piqued my interest as a reader of historical fiction by concentrating her story around a very successful young woman. Dell Brand enables readers to thoroughly enjoy the roller coaster of raw emotions, intense situations, and exciting adventures Joey Gower brings to her table and all who are seated at it.

5 star review by Michelle Robertson for Readers’ Favorite

In this dramatic sequel to A Voice to be Heard, Cry to the Wind by Dell Brand continues the saga of the Gower sisters amid the years of the Victorian gold rush. Set in Melbourne, Australia, during the mid-19th century, Cry to the Wind focuses on Joey’s story and is told from three points of view.
Cry to the Wind is an engaging, fast-paced historical drama. Much like A Voice to be Heard, I found myself drawn in by Brand’s meticulously researched family saga. As someone who isn’t Australian, learning about the country’s history was really fascinating, especially when it came to frontier life. Much of it reminded me of the Californian Gold Rush, which occurred around the same time. As usual, Joey’s headstrong independence shines throughout, running counter to other novels hemmed in by simpering damsels in distress. While Joey still harbours some of the views of her time, she nonetheless manages to make for an intriguing character, and I wanted to know where her journey would finally lead her.

4 star review by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers’ Favourite

Cry to the Wind by Dell Brand is a historical novel chock-full of intrigue, suspense and romance, set within the years of the Victorian gold rush. It is an enthralling tale of love and loss, tragedy and hope. Dell Brand has created an intricate world of characters, intertwining their lives in a series of events which are believable and memorable. Adam’s bouts of depression, or ‘melancholia’ really give the reader a sense of what it must have been like in those days, suffering from mental illness when there were no medications to help. Joey is loyal and loving, but refreshing as a female lead who doesn’t stop living her dreams to settle down as a contented housewife once she gets married. Their tale contains both wondrous and heart-wrenching moments, making it realistic and enjoyable to read.

5 star review by Michelle Mollohan for Readers’ Favourite

Although a very sad book in many ways, no doubt these sort of things did happen and it has a wonderful lot of interactive plots that keep your interest and make it a book you can’t put down. Keep it up, Dell.

Rosalind Maxfield

I must congratulate you on Cry to the Wind. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it a big improvement on the first. I thought you expanded the main characters well and made them a lot more believable. I have recommended it to various friends but it’s probably more appreciated by Aussies than Canadians. One Canadian friend was somewhat overwhelmed by all the names of towns mentioned in the chapter when Adam was riding to Melbourne on horseback. But for Aussies who can follow the route in their minds it is much more interesting. It is for that reason our local library may knock it back because I don’t know if we have a large enough Australian readership to make it worth their while.

Wendy McGrath, Canada

An epic adventure! Characters are strong with lots of endearing qualities as well as foibles. I really pulled for them as they faced the tragedies and joys of family and friendships of settling in the 1800’s. I suspect many families share these same sins and secrets though they would never speak of it. A good read.

Pam Mooney 4 Stars

“Cry to the Wind” is a very compelling historical fiction, taking place in Australia during the Gold Rush era. Besides the authentic setting and multiple details that bring history to life in front of your eyes, I appreciated the author’s approach of presenting the story from three points of view: one that of Adam, a young hotelier who had just lost his beloved wife Sarah and their little daughter to a shipwreck; one that of Joey, a progressive businesswoman, who becomes his second wife but finds their family life far from the bliss that she had imagined it would be; and last, Tom, a loyal family friend and employee.
What really appealed to me in this novel was the introduction of a strong female protagonist, who refuses to submit to a traditional women’s role of that period of time and instead concentrates on building a business empire of her own. Also, the detailed description of Australian lifestyle was presented with admirable authenticity, and it’s obvious that the author invested a lot of time in research for this novel. I certainly learned a great deal about Australian history, which, together with a compelling plot and memorable characters made “Cry to the Wind” a great read for all fans of historical fiction genre.
“Cry to the Wind” really was an amazing, thoroughly researched read, and I enjoyed it immensely!

Ellie Midwood, author of ‘The Girl from Berlin’ trilogy 5 Stars

Having met you at the Bargara Beach Caravan Park and bought a couple of your books (A Voice to be Heard and Cry to the Wind), I just wanted to write and let you know how much I am enjoying them. I have completed the first and am well into the second.
It was a pleasure to meet you and thank you for signing my books.
Kind regards

Zita Campbell



Other Adult Books by Dell that you may like…

A Brummy's Backyard
As the lumbering jet swoops low over the grey, legoland housing rows that surround Heathrow Airport, the story of the author’s year of living in England begins. Recipients of a teaching exchange, Australians Dell and John are bound for schools in the West Midlands, and find that things are quite different in Brummyland.
The story of two young women determined to live outside the confines of the Victorian Age and who have a lasting impact on the fledgling town of Melbourne.
Penny Taylor, from London’s East End, finds herself part of the struggling Hapless family, living in a caravan park in the Illawarra on the south coast of New South Wales. She is kept busy with three young children, two of whom belong to Dudley Hapless, her present partner and a professional basketball player with the Hawks.
The Weif is a sweeping story of servitude and the struggle for freedom, of the law and its cruel inequities, of the privations and harshness of a rugged new land and of a brother and sister’s fragile home on life during the tumultuous early years of settlement in Australia.
Kit Markham’s world turns upside down when Jack, the boy she always believed she would marry, turns out to be her half-brother. At sixteen, feisty and headstrong, she leaves her home in Melbourne and flees to England. The year is 1855.
Stina caught the excitement spreading like wildfire amongst the passengers. The Friedeburg had anchored in Moreton Bay and the long and uneventful voyage was finally over.
A group of mates from the Sydney suburb of Botany answer the call from king and country and go away to fight in the first world war. Far from the adventure they imagined, the five years of the conflict bring challenge, fear and loss but also lighter moments and some unexpected romance.
The Northern Territory was a harsh and demanding place in 1920 when Charles Dalton becomes the new boss-man on a remote cattle station. He must work with blacks, half-castes and coloureds to get things done and his colonial attitudes risk him losing everything.