Book Reviews


Congratulations! I have just finished reading your book on our great grandmother and was absolutely fascinated from start to finish. Your research and efforts are to be commended. I only ever knew that our family name was originally Carlberg and was changed to Miller at some stage but I never knew why. I did know however that she had been married four times. One of the reasons I never enquired further was that my own mother’s family history on her father’s side was somewhat dark and was always hushed up and so I felt that the Carlberg/Miller story might have had some sinister history also and so thought it best to let sleeping dogs lie. How wrong I was! What a life that remarkable woman led!

Many of your references throughout the book were of particular interest to me; names like Peapes Taylor, Dymocks Books, various street names, Queen Victoria Building (which I always loved), all brought back fond memories. Not so fond was the description of the badge making process at GA Miller & Sons for I worked there every school holidays from the time I was 8 years old painting that enamel; dad was so short staffed at that time. And many a tennis tournament I had to pull out of on a week-end when dad would bring home on Friday evening, thousands of badges to be painted by Monday morning. I should mention I did get paid 3d per 100.

And yet more memories were stirred with your reference to the Bottle-O man, Ice-Man etc. But you left out the Watkins man who used to deliver liniments, ointments, vanilla extracts etc. Originally from Minnesota in the U.S., these products became very popular in Australia and were only ever sold door to door. Many older people would be fascinated to be reminded of them because they made a movie on the Watkins Man and it became very popular. Nowadays, Walmart and some pharmacies still carry Watkins products and I, myself today, am never without Petro Carbo Salve, the most magical healing ointment.

I like your title of STINA. She was such a remarkable person and needs front cover attention.
Anyway, once again, congratulations! And I look to the future for more great stories.

Wendy McGrath

I am enthralled with “Stina” and am thoroughly loving reading it (Erik has just died). Your background research is wonderful.

Sue Bulbrook.

Once again thanks you for sending a copy of ‘Stina”. I enjoyed reading it, especially the part relevant to Tempe. She certainly had an interesting life.

Laurel Horton
Tempe and St Peters Historical Society

I thoroughly enjoyed “Stina”.  As a lover of family I found the story engaging with the wonderful research of the family woven into an enjoyable book.  I would recommend this book as a great read as it takes you right into the story. The book was very appealing, with all the research Dell has put into the facts added to the book and the way the story was weaved around it.

I would thoroughly recommend it as a great read.

Thanks Dell for another well-written tale.

Marian Hardy.

What a wonderful read is your story ‘Stina ‘. Sorry to have taken so long to read it but one advantage to Covid-19 was the time to finish things I have been wanting to do for a while. I really enjoyed the depiction of Stina, it was such a truthful image of a young woman who faced so much sadness and loss in her life. Your research was great and I stayed with her until the end. Such a strong woman and ahead of her time. You are lucky to have her DNA and so are our children and grandchildren. Thank you for the great read. Kind regards.

Deb Carlbergg.

I finally downloaded STINA onto my Kindle and have not long finished it.  I think I enjoyed it even more the second time.  I was glad you changed the title Dell and also thank you for including the Watkins Man and a little bit about G.A. Miller & Sons.

Wendy McGrath.

I can find good information from this book.

Jaquelin Ulric Brooks.

This is a really interesting book. You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your WordPress feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful posts. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

Merrilee Mischa Basset.

What a nice discovery I experienced reading your book. You have a wonderful teaching spirit so that most people reading it can very easily fully understand the history of the time. You actually exceeded my expectations. Many thanks for delivering this edifying, not to mention well-written, piece of work.

Brigida Rockwell Carothers.

This ‘Australian Story’ is a great portrayal of the hardships of growing up in the early years of the 20th Century. It is written from a family-tree lineage but resonates with any ‘baby boomer’ reader with reference to their grandparents’ and great grandparents’ era. The large families and the complications of childbirth back in the day are well documented, as are the lack of medicines and medical facilities available. The roles and social lives of the working-class people make this book a very emotional read but is avidly balanced with the courage, grit and determination of this young maturing lady – Stina – to make a ‘go of it’.

Pam Middlebrook.



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.
An epic story of life and death amid the turbulent years of the Victorian gold rush, narrated by the three main characters, Adam, Joey and Tom.
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.
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.