Native Companions

Dreamtime Mysteries

Fiction - Mythology
331 Pages
Reviewed on 01/23/2020
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Author Biography

“I was born in South Australia to an English mother and 5th generation pioneering South Australian farmer and soldier. Following my college graduation, majoring in history, science and the arts, I entered the nursing profession.
After marrying a farmer, we raised four children together before moving to Queensland, where I embarked on studies in traditional medicine, becoming a naturopath and acupuncturist.
In more recent years I took up creative writing, intending to start with junior fiction, but my intuitive spirit guided me on a path into the Australian bush, where I stood under a gigantic gumtree.
Under that very tree, at White patch, Bribie Island—looking out across Pumicestone Passage at the Glass House Mountains—I was inspired to write pre-colonial Aboriginal historic fiction. I have since became so involved in my new occupation, I retired from my health practise to write full time. I am now introducing my third book in the Dreamtime Mysteries trilogy, Return to Eternity.”

Jenni Barnett

With ‘Native Companions’ now under-screen writing and Along the Waterways winning an international award, Jenni is confident book three, Return to Eternity, her dream- vision, will fulfill her ambitions, of raising more international awareness on the plight of Australia’s First Nation’s People.
Jenni and her husband Ron live in Mackay in beautiful North Queensland, where they embrace the magnificent lifestyle and climate while Jenni takes time to enjoy writing and drawing, as well as gardening and involvement in the preservation of wildlife and the environment.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite

Native Companions is the first book in the Dreamtime Mysteries by Jenni Barnett. This extraordinary historical tale is set in Australia and follows two timelines: modern-day Rex Graham, a mixed-race Indigenous anthropology student, and the stories about his Aboriginal grandmother’s people. Rex, who suffered in childhood from racism and bullying, inherited a high level of intuition. As he struggles to write a university thesis, he seeks inspiration at a sacred tree. The stories revealed to him aren’t a retelling of traditional myths or legends but fictional narratives inspired by Aboriginal culture. The narrative is divided into six “books” accompanied by illustrations. Story characters and their family and clan relationships are identified at the start of each book. A glossary of language and an index of character names is also included.

Having first read Book 2 in the Dreamtime Mysteries, I was eager to see how Book 1 compared. I wasn’t disappointed. While this book serves as a basis for the second, the two are easily read independently. The presentation of the mythical stories set in pre-European times within Rex’s storyline makes them a bridge between history and today. Barnett is a consummate storyteller who displays great respect for the people who inspire her creativity. The settings are vivid. While the family connections can seem complex at first, you’re quickly at ease with them as you immerse yourself in the well-paced, imaginative, and highly descriptive narrative. There is so much to appreciate in these wonderful fables. Whether you like all things Australian, Aboriginal culture, magic, myths, or just good historical fiction, Native Companions is an utterly enjoyable read.