Local author Glenna Thompson has written an intriguing novel based in Benalla, which explores the often complex relationship of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
Ms Thompson moved to Strathbogie with her husband 15 years ago and decided to give writing a try after their children grew up and moved out.
That attempt was so successful that she was given a two-book deal with Penguin Publishing, the second of which — Stella and Margie — will include many places familiar to locals.
‘‘The book is based in Benalla, it is also based on our farm, but the town referenced throughout the book is Benalla,’’ Ms Thompson said.
‘‘One of the characters, Stella, she is into community theatre and I based the book in Benalla because of the beautiful old theatre at the town hall.’’
The book, which will be launched at Benalla Library on February 2 at 6pm, also mentions several local businesses and organisations.
‘‘The characters go shopping in Benalla, the secondhand book shop is mentioned, all the street art is mentioned, the library and the local picture framer.
‘‘Because of that link the launch will be held at Benalla Library and $5 of every book sold that night will go to the Wall to Wall Committee to support Benalla’s wonderful street art.’’
The book explores an age-old relationship and taps into the many modern interactions many women face with their close relatives.
In Australia about one in 10 elderly parents lives with their adult children, becoming reliant on the very people they once cared for.
This shift in relationship, from carer to dependant, can be difficult to navigate.
Stella and her mother-in-law Margie are two very different women.
Compassionate and kind, Stella dreams of an exciting future.
Haunted by past regrets, Margie is prickly and demanding.
When Margie is injured and forced to return to what was once her matrimonial home, where Stella is now in charge, suddenly these two women must learn to work together.
Through its stirring exploration of heart-warming relationships across generations, Stella and Margie reminds us all of our vulnerabilities and need to feel valued.
As the relationship between Stella and her mother-in-law Margie deepens, their understanding of each other grows and they realise that despite their differences, in age or otherwise, each wants the same thing: to feel they belong.
Once more Ms Thompson draws upon her own life experiences to write in a strikingly honest manner about the expectations for a woman in today’s world — from being caught between the demands of parents and children to being a woman haunted by her past regrets and on to the vulnerabilities women can face in all aspects of their lives.
Stella and Margie also examines the reality of ageing for women and its resultant feelings of invisibility, a powerful yet rarely-discussed issue.
Piercingly insightful, Stella and Margie is a novel about the acceptance, reconciliation and a touching friendship that crosses the generations.