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  • Writer's pictureMaya Linnell

Barbara Hannay on movie options, World Vision sponsorship and Anne of Green Gables

The Sister's Gift is being released by Penguin Random House on August 4 and as a keen Barbara Hannay fan I had no trouble sinking my teeth into this fabulous read! Set on the gorgeous Magnetic Island in Far North Queensland, the story focuses on two sisters whose relationship has never been the same since Freya acted as a surrogate for Pearl.

They've done a great job of remaining aloof for most of their adult lives, but when Freya finds herself at rock bottom, and Pearl's daughter Billie returns home heartbroken and needing help, the family is forced back together again. I loved meeting old flames, new loves and was quickly swept up in Barbara's warm-hearted story. An award-winning and best-selling author, Barbara's writing style is seamless and the result is a beautifully free-flowing novel that will touch your heart and make you smile.

WIN! See the link at the bottom of the page for your chance to win a copy, thanks to Penguin Books Australia.


Author spotlight

Five fast minutes with Barbara

Do you have a good luck charm or a special token that sits on your desk/in your office?

I’m lucky enough to have several charms actually – little things that have been given to me by friends or family, specifically to please my muse. A heart-shaped glass paper weight, and a nut intricately engraved with American Indigenous art are just two examples.

Favourite exercise to help ward off author’s bum?

Walking, walking walking… these days I have a choice of walks by the sea, which is just lovely. (Note from Maya - me too Barb! Very lucky to have the ocean for those brainstorming sessions!)

What’s your go-to weekday dinner dish?

Salmon baked with shallots, cherry tomatoes and broccolini, drizzled with soy sauce and sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds and chilli flakes. Mega easy, low carb and totally delicious!

Which career would you choose if money wasn’t a factor and writing wasn’t an option?

I’d probably go back to previous career of teaching high school English, although I do wish I’d tried my hand at journalism.

Favourite book from your childhood?

Anne of Green Gables – by a whisker. I had so many I loved.

Which jelly bean do you eat first, and which do you leave until last?

Definitely black first and probably purple last.

Have you done anything special with any of your advances?

When I was first published twenty years ago, I used to take on a new World Vision child with each new contract and advance. I couldn’t keep that up for another fifty plus books, but I felt so lucky I wanted to give back.

Which of your books would you love to see converted to TV or a movie, and who would play the leads?

I’ve actually had the thrill of a Harlequin Romance being optioned for a movie. It was called Molly Cooper’s Dream Date and I’ve seen the script and the filming was planned, but I think Covid has put an end to that.

Another of my novels that I think could make a great movie is The Secret Years. There are two stories interwoven, but for George (Georgina) and Harry, whose story is set in London and New Guinea during WW2, I think I’m going to totally show my age, as I’m not up to speed with young actors – and choose Cate Blanchette and Bryan Brown.

You’re snowed in on the side of the Swiss Alps with access to only one novel and one electronic device. Which do you choose? 

I’d choose my iPad and – oh, dear, probably Rosamunde Pilcher’s Winter Solstice, even though I practically know it by heart.

Favourite Aussie book so far for 2020?

Sally Hepworth’s The Mother-in-Law

Best one-line sentence from one of your book reviews?

‘It’s a pleasure to follow an author who gets better with every book.’ Apple iBooks ‘Best Books of the Month’.


The Sister's Gift

Two sisters, one baby and the best of intentions...

As a vibrant, young woman with a lifetime of possibilities ahead of her, Freya grants her sister, Pearl, the ultimate gift of motherhood. However, this comes at a hefty price – an unexpected rift in her family and the loss of the man she loves.

Decades later, Freya is divorced, childless and homeless, at rock bottom after losing everything she's worked for. When her estranged niece, Billie, offers sanctuary, managing the family restaurant on beautiful Magnetic Island, Freya can hardly refuse.

Billie has never understood the tension between her mother and her aunt and now, with a newly broken heart, she is nursing a family secret of her own. All three women come together under the tropical Queensland skies, but can they let go of past regrets, or will old tensions tear them further apart?

By the bestselling author of Meet Me in Venice, this is a moving and inspiring novel in a stunning setting about choices and consequences and the redemptive power of love.



Apple iBooks


Follow Barbara online



Click HERE for your chance to win a copy of The Sister's Gift by Barbara Hannay. Contest closes August 9, Australian entries only please. Thanks to Penguin Random House for the review and competition copy.


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