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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
The Europeans: A Saga of Settlement Down Under is a sharp work of cross-cultural fiction penned by author Gerry Burke. Set around the middle of the twentieth century to begin with, in this story we are witness to the arrival of Bing McKeon, from Scottish heritage, as Australia is invaded by droves of European people seeking out a better life in a foretold land of hope and glory. As Greek and Irish families arrive too, led by Peter Papadopoulos and Matthew O’Gorman, cultures collide with the native landscape of Northern Victoria, and their lives unfold with a plethora of complications and some very violent consequences. Amid all this, a young woman, Lydia, captivates everyone whose eyes fall upon her.
Author Gerry Burke has captured a unique time and place with his authentic research and strong narrative skills. Setting the tale amid such a rich melting pot with a large, diverse cast of characters gives readers plenty to chew on through this lengthy and complex work, but a kind of ‘road map’ of the families is provided at the start to aid this. I loved the authentic transportation of culture from one place to another, and how the older generation tries to hold it up whilst the younger people adapt and find their own way in their new world. The dialogue is also very well-penned to inform characters and build atmosphere, particularly in tense moments. Overall, The Europeans: A Saga of Settlement Down Under is an accomplished work of drama penned with a keen cultural eye.