Staff love for Goodwood by Holly Throsby

Here at Allen & Unwin, all our books are our favourites. We grow them, nurture them and then send them out into the big wide world to be found by the reading public… All our books are special in their own unique way. But every now and then, a book comes along that reaches into every department, is universally loved, and makes us all very excited. Goodwood, the debut novel from Holly Throsby, is that kind of book.

It’s not out in book stores until October, but we can’t wait that long to tell you how we feel about this one, and also give you a chance to enjoy it yourself by winning an advance copy. First up, Holly’s publisher Annette shares her excitement:


I fell into this story wholeheartedly when I turned the first page of this manuscript. Holly’s writing is wonderful, her characterisation perfect, and the sense of menace and mystery is leavened by the warm-hearted and funny residents of Goodwood. With complexity and a depth of observation, Goodwood is a stunning novel and Holly a born storyteller.
– Annette Barlow, Publisher of Goodwood

Annette was not the only publisher to be impressed, those across the company were enthralled by Goodwood:

I blame Holly Throsby and her utterly true-to-life teenage protagonist Jean Brown for my losing a night’s sleep recently. I simply could not put Goodwood down after I started it. I needed to know what became of Rosie and Bart and the good buergers of the sleepy country town I feel I now know so well.
– Jane Morrow, Publisher – Murdoch Books

Goodwood is a charming portrait of a country town in which the tension subtly builds to a gripping finale.
– Elizabeth Weiss, Academic and Digital Publishing Director


Thoroughly enjoyable and utterly absorbing, Goodwood held me spellbound from start to finish.
– Eva Mills, Publishing Director – Books for Children & YA

Even our chairman Patrick was grabbed by this one:

Can you write a big, sprawling book about a small town?  Well, Holly Throsby has in this big-hearted, rumbustious yet perfectly observed novel that invites you into Goodwood’s world and once you’re settled grips you by the throat.
– Patrick Gallagher, Chairman

Wildly entertaining and endearing characters

The one thing that kept on popping up again and again in the staff reviews was how much everyone loved the characters in Goodwood.

I just loved Goodwood – a small community brought to such vivid life, with each character so exquisitely drawn, I feel like I knew it (and them) personally. A book you’ll want everyone you know to read and share.
– Karen, Marketing Director

I love everything about Holly Throsby’s debut novel Goodwood – the nostalgic setting, eccentric small-town characters, intriguing mystery, and the charming narrator Jean Brown. Holly Throsby is a real talent and it feels like she has written an Australian classic in the vein of Jasper Jones that will be read by book-lovers of many ages for years to come.
– Lillian, National Account Manager

My favourite Australian book this year, Holly Throsby has blown me away. Goodwood has a fantastic cast of characters that you are completely beguiled by, set in a place that is unique and strange in its own way, yet warmly and nostalgically familiar. Once I started I couldn’t put it down, and neither will you.
– Matt, Sales and Marketing Director – Murdoch Books

Goodwood had me hooked from the very first page with its unique blend of mystery and humour, lightness and menace. It’s a story full of wildly entertaining and endearing characters and, like the people of Goodwood, I found myself trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of Rosie and Bart. There’s so much richness and heart to this story. I loved Goodwood and I can’t wait for everyone else to discover this gem of a book.
– Jane, Marketing Coordinator

Goodwood is a gorgeously written, whimsical and entertaining novel with a dark mystery at its core that captivates the reader and keeps you turning pages late into the night. The characterisation is wonderful and draws you into the well-drawn small town life of Goodwood, capturing the struggles that ripple under the surface of a supposedly idyllic close knit community. Best of all is our teenage narrator who must unravel the complexities in her own life, as well as those surrounding her town at a time of upheaval. A captivating coming-of-age story, wrapped up in delightful humour, make this a must read for all ages.
– Andrew, Online Community Manager

Of all the books distributed among staff, Goodwood has been my clear favourite. Throsby has a singular talent for imparting the quotidian with profound significance, and treats her characters with respect by eschewing lazy stereotypes. As complete a vignette of small-town life in Australia as you will read.
– Byron, International Agencies Coordinator – Murdoch Books

I just finished this over the long weekend.  I love the feeling of going back in time to the early 90’s to a country town where everyone knows everyone and their secrets are hard to hide.  The reference to “Fosseys” certainly brought back memories!
– Justine, NSW Sales Representative

Delightfully drawn local characters with a dark undertow of violence.
– Sarah, Communications Manager – Faber Writing Academy

From songwriter to novel writer…

Others were impressed, though not surprised, by how well musician and songwriter Holly Throsby made the leap from song writing to writing her debut novel.


Holly Throsby was always going to write a cracking novel. She has been telling stories through her beautiful songs for years so it’s no surprise that Goodwood is such a perfectly formed gem. I love these characters and I love its Australian-ness. Lots of books have been compared to Jasper Jones but Goodwood is the real deal. The mystery at its heart will keep you tuning pages well into the night and its beautiful, direct prose is a joy to read.
– Andy Palmer, Publicity Director

I guess it didn’t surprise me that Holly Throsby could write fiction, I’m just surprised that she writes it so naturally and so well. There is an effortless charm to this writing, an almost innocent voice that creeps up on you as the novel rolls out a mystery that’s compelling and tragic. She builds up layer upon layer of seemingly simple observations to create a complex web of small town lives. Goodwood captures small town life beautifully. It’s authentic and there’s a real affection for the characters, quirks and all. In small towns everyone’s lives are out in the open, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t secrets. Goodwood has them in spades.
– Belinda, Senior Editor

Holly Throsby writes beautifully. From the opening line I was transported into the town of Goodwood and felt like a fly on the wall watching the lives of the townsfolk unfold. I read this in one sitting and you will too!
– Georgia, International Agencies Coordinator

Following Holly Throsby’s narrative prose in Goodwood, is like listening to a skillful story teller next to a crackling fire in winter. Goodwood is a distillation of artful characterisation against a snapshot of small country town living. Couldn’t put it down.
– Katharine, Digital Sales Coordinator

And finally, a very personal endorsement from a member of our Sales Team:

I am a little bit in love with Goodwood and it is my favourite read this year.

Holly’s writing is lyrical, her characters recognisable and her sense of place second to none.

I’ve lived in small country communities and Goodwood is one of them.

There are so many beautifully simple yet profound passages in the novel that I regret not highlighting them to share at times like now or at sell-in.  Holly’s writing is at times wise and at others as wicked as a reader could hope for.

Don’t even get me started on the characters – they were so real – so perfectly flawed or not as the need was at the time. I just want to talk about them to people who have read the book.

My daughter and I both felt we were teenagers again so there is a multi-generational age range appeal happening. Caroline is about the same age as Holly and so everything was of her time. I’m finding that her generation is loving reading their stories.

Caroline loved the book so much she is being quite tardy about handing her proof back to me so I can get someone else reading. She doesn’t want to be parted from it.
– Deb Stevens, Sales Agent – ACT

WIN an advance copy of Goodwood

Don’t just take our word for it, we’ve advance 100 copies of Goodwood to giveaway to lucky readers who can’t wait until October to read this wonderful novel!

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