When she is five, Anne Gorman’s family disintegrates. After thirteen pregnancies and the death of two children, her devout Catholic mother has a breakdown and Anne and her younger sisters are placed in a convent. Struggling to survive a childhood marred by fear and uncertainty, Anne sees education as her lifeline to freedom. After graduating from university, she’s set to take on the world.
But her plans come unstuck when she falls in love. Marrying a farmer and becoming a mother of five was a life she never imagined. Yet in this alien landscape she finds love and a sense of belonging. When her husband becomes gravely ill, Anne has to find the courage to keep the farm and her family afloat.
Against a backdrop of dramatic historic change, from the shadow of war to the rise of feminism, an uncertain young girl grows into a woman of substance.
Here’s part of a recent review of the book:
The Country Wife, Anne Gorman, tells a great Australian story; by Shaunagh O’Connor
in The Weekly Times, March 04, 2015 12:00AM
OF all the life stories ever written down in homes across Australia, it takes a special one to catch the eye of a publisher. Anne Gorman’s memoir is one of the lucky ones to reach publication and The Country Wife is a story worth sharing.
Gorman, born in 1934, doesn’t tell of fame, fortune or outrageous misfortune but rather a simple life story of the joys and hardships that are part of the human condition and how she navigated them. Born the 11th child of a loving and comfortable family of 13 siblings in Sydney, Gorman’s childhood world fell apart when she went away to a convent boarding school at the age of five after the breakdown of her mother, who had experienced the death of two of those children.
Gorman was rescued from the regimented, loveless institution after her mother’s recovery, but at the same time experienced the death of her beloved father.
Gorman writes honestly and thoughtfully of life during World War II and being evacuated to the Blue Mountains to escape the Japanese invasion of Sydney. She tells of repeated sexual assault at the hands of her teenage brother six years older than her, and of her inability to tell anyone what was happening, of studying social work at university where she graduated as a social worker and then a meeting with a farmer in his 30s, Bruce Gorman, from Yerong Creek, south of Wagga Wagga. The Gorman romance led to marriage, five children, a life on the family property and involvement in all aspects of rural community life.
When her husband is diagnosed with stomach cancer she enters the realm of carer and the roller-coaster of hope offered by second opinions and drugs and the despair of a progressive illness.
After Bruce’s death Gorman decides it is up to her to continue work on the farm while raising her children, all still at school. A worthy tale of city girl turned accomplished country resident.
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