About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cat on the Island by Gary Crew and Gillian Warden

Cat on the Island
 (Harper Collins, 2008)
I borrowed this picture book to read to my kids and found it quite disturbing. It's based on the true story of what happened to the wildlife on Stephens Island, New Zealand in the 1890s. The folk who came to man the lighthouse brought a cat with them. The cat had kittens, which turned feral and these killed all the little wrens that lived on the island. What is so tragic for science is that these wrens were unique because they were the only flightless wrens in the world.
   Although the subject matter is confronting, it lead to lengthy family conversations about feral cats and pet cats.
   Gillian Warden illustrated the book and the cats are depicted as red with needle sharp teeth and huge eyes. Quite frightening really.     I think this is a good book for introducing young children to conservation issues.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Kind of Eden by Amanda Smyth

I listened to this tale as a talking book and the voice of the narrator, played by Lloyd Notice, was just brilliant. I try to listen to talking books when I drive and if I like the resonance of the voice I'll keep listening through to the end (that is if the story is engaging too). Nothing makes me hit the eject button faster than if the reader has an annoying voice.

A Kind of Eden (Serpent's Tail)
So, what's this book about? Essentially it's a crime novel, but it's also full of mid-life crisis angst and the guilt that won't brush off when you betray someone. The hero, Martin, is a fifty-something ex-cop doing an expatriate stint in the Caribbean as an advisor to the Trinidad police. He has found life in Trinidad exotic and has fallen in love with a much younger local girl, Safiya.
Meanwhile Martin's wife and teenage daughter have arranged to come over to Trinidad for a holiday. Martin hides the truth from his family but a serious crime exposes all his deceptions.
Smyth describes the heady aromas of Caribbean food, the squalor of the local villages, the vivid scenery and all the frustrations of culture shock with great clarity.
Although Martin is hard to like at times, the story is engaging because the reader wants to know if justice will be done in the end.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

NZ/Samoan poet

I'm listening to an interview with NZ/Samoan poet Tusiata Avia on Radio National today. A great insight into Samoan custom. I must check out more of her poetry. Click on the hyperlink above to hear the interview.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Sea Chest


(Meditation on Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island)
 
The dead buccaneer's trunk
with salt-encrusted brass hinges
and heavy oak panelling
held a shabby pouch with a few doubloons
guineas and sovereigns  
a chart wrapped in oilskin
showed a magnified dot in the Pacific.
 
The instructions read
behold a tall tree
in the shoulder of the Spyglass

compass bearings east by north east
there lies a sea chest.

Young Hawkins and the crew
searched for Captain Flint's treasure
instead they found
sand-encrusted brass hinges broken
and oak panelling splintered.

B. Montgomery 2014 

 

 

Monday, December 8, 2014

ASSI Stories screening

If you happen to be in Brisbane this weekend, get down to The Edge on Sunday the 14th of December to see the world premiere screening of Australian South Sea Islander (ASSI) Stories. This collection of short films will be presented to the public at 3pm. There will also be speeches, music, light refreshments and an art exhibition.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Bone Tiki by David Hair

Wow! This book is amazing. It has Maori mythology, Kiwi history, suspense, humour and relentless pace. If you enjoy fantasy, thrillers or any supernatural themes, you will love this book.
   Young Matiu Douglas has a bone tiki he stole and the owner, Puarata, is out to get him. The trouble is that Puarata is no regular bad guy. He's a supernatural nasty fellow with power to call up all manner of terrifying henchmen. The Bone Tiki is like a magic lantern which can store a genie. In this story it holds a good warrior, called Wiri, whom Matiu befriends.
   The story is basically a good versus evil  plot but the setting jumps into another world where ghosts are prevalent and the history of New Zealand comes alive. Mythical creatures also inhabit this other world called Aotearoa.
   The Bone Tiki is the first in The Aotearoa Series written by David Hair. If the other books are anything like this one, I'm hooked and can't wait to read the whole series.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Robyn Harbour's book launch

Last week I was excited to attend Robyn Harbour's book launch at the Inverloch Library. Robyn has written a collection of short stories entitled Beyond the Palm Trees. Her stories were inspired by her time living in Vanuatu. Robyn and her husband were missionaries in Vanuatu for three years.
   The front cover of the book shows a delightful shot of a typical Melanesian village. I'll have to get reading all the stories so I can review her book at a later date.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Two weeks in the Solomon Islands

I was very pleased to be able to visit the Solomon Islands again for two weeks in September. Whilst there I visited friends and family and spent time in my husband's village. It was a great trip with lots of fun, laughter, red mud and hot sun. Thanks to my extended family in Tholana for making us feel very welcome.

Teaching the Wedge-tailed Eagle song to the
 Tholana kindergarten, Ysabel. Source: B. Montgomery.
On board the Uta Princess on our way to Ysabel Province.
Source: B. Montgomery.

Back at Tenaru with Modi and John,
 two of my fellow staff members in 2000.
Source: B. Montgomery

Monday, September 8, 2014

The First Voyage by Allan Baillie

The First Voyage
 (Puffin, 2014)
The First Voyage is a tale about people long ago, when the land mass known as Sahul was in existence. It is now known as New Guinea and Australia. This story is set around 30,000 years ago when the Yam tribe escape persecution from the Crocodile tribe. The main characters are teenagers Bent Beak and The Wind. There are elders and younger members of the tribe too that the reader grows to love. Unfortunately some characters die, but most of the tribe makes it off Bird Island (one day to become Timor Leste) to travel by raft across the sea to a wide red land (one day to become Australia).

I enjoyed this book, for its simplicity and endearing characters. It is a great adventure.