#Bookreview – The Thorn Birds

Book reviews

What Amazon says

“Beautiful….Compelling entertainment.”
New York Times

“A heart-rending epic…truly marvelous.”
Chicago Tribune
One of the most beloved novels of all time, The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough’s sweeping family saga of dreams, titanic struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian Outback, returns to enthrall a new generation.

My review

The Thorn Birds is a book from my past, a sweeping story about the frailty of human lives and relationships. Set on the fictional sheep farm of Drogheda, in the Australian Outback, it features the loves of three generations of the Cleary family and covers the period from 1915 to 1969.

Meghann “Meggie” Cleary is the only daughter of Paddy, a poor sheep shearer living in New Zealand, and Fee, from an aristocratic and wealthy background. When we are introduced to Meggie, her parent’s already have five other children, all boys, and her overworked mother has little time for her. As the story starts to unfold, Fee’s devotion to her oldest son, Frank, who looks nothing like her other children, and her distant attitude towards her husband and other children, particularly, her daughter, become apparent and the reader guesses there is more to Fee’s story than meets the eye in the initial pages of the book.

Patrick Cleary’s older sister, Mary Carson, is an enormously wealthy widow who owns a sheep farm in the Australian Outback and who has no children, asks him to move with his family to Drogheda with a view to his inheriting the property on her death. Patrick is delighted to have his financial woes resolved in this manner and his family moves. When they finally arrive at the train station in the closest town, after a long and trying journey, they are met by Father Ralph de Bricassart, a man with ambition who has made the mistake of upsetting a powerful person in the Catholic Church, with the result that he has been sent away to this small town in Australia. Father Ralph is an extraordinarily good looking and dashing man and he sweeps all the ladies, including Mary Carson, off their feet. Father Ralph befriends the lonely, but difficult, Mary Carson in the hope that she will change his fortune in the future by bequeathing a part of her wealth to the church. Father Ralph is immediately taken with Meggie and befriends the lonely and neglected girl.

The relationship between Meggie and Father Ralph gradually grows into one of mutual love and desire, but Ralph is ambitious and wants to climb the hierarchy within the church. When offered the choice by Mary Carson to attain power and standing within the church or let Paddy’s family inherit what was rightfully theirs and stay in Australia with Meggie, he chooses the church. This fateful decision effectively destroys his life as it creates a legacy of mental torment. It also damages Meggie’s life as she marries a selfish man because he strongly physically resembles Father Ralph. I am not saying it destroyed her life as she had a lovely daughter, Justine, with her husband, Luke O’Neil, and also has a love child with Father Ralph, although the identify of Dane’s father is her secret for many years and he is generally believed to be Luke’s son.

This is a story of how the wrong choices and selfish desires can destroy a man’s life and the lives of those around him. It is a sad tale, but not tragic, as Meggie does have her children.

It was interesting to re-read this book at this particular time when fires are rampaging through Australia. This book describes a terrible bush fire which claims the lives of both Meggie’s father and one of her brothers. There are other losses experiences by Fee and Meggie as they both loose Meggie’s younger brother, Hal, who dies of a respiratory ailment as a small child. His loss devastates Meggie who has been his primary caregiver. Fee looses her son, Frank, for most of the book, but he does return to her towards the end. Meggie also suffers other losses, but you will need to read this book for yourself to discover what those are.

The losses suffered by both Fee and Meggie are redeemed in the end through the culmination of a love affair between her daughter and the man she loves so the book ends on a happy note.

Purchase The Thorn Birds


Through the Nethergate is going a book tour starting today. Here are the tour details if you would like to learn a bit more about this book:



January 15 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

January 16 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT 

January 16 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST 

January 16 – This Is My Truth Now – REVIEW

January 17 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 17 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

January 18 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST

January 18 – Reading Authors – REVIEW

January 19 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – eBook addicts – REVIEW

January 20 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Ruff Drafts – REVIEW

January 21 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW

January 22 – Readeropolis – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 23 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 23 – Diane Reviews Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

January 24 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

47 thoughts on “#Bookreview – The Thorn Birds

  1. This is one I’ve often meant to read but it’s slipped through my TBR pile for some reason. It’s now back on 🙂
    Good luck with your book tour Robbie! If you ever want another ‘stop off’ on the way, my blog is open 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’ve never read the book, but my (now ex-) wife did, many years ago, and she really enjoyed it. It was made into a tv mini-series, which we watched and I enjoyed (along with being given a running commentary on how it compared to the book) 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I read this book decades ago. I also remember the mini series with Richard Chamberlain in Father Ralph’s role. In an odd twist, I was just thinking of this book over the weekend. Probably because of the wild fires in Australia. I don’t think I could read it again, but it was definitely a book that held me engrossed at the time. There were so many sweeping, epic books in those days.

    Wishing you all the best with your tour as well, Robbie.

    Liked by 1 person

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