Holding On and Letting Go

Lisa’s perfectly controlled existence is turning to shit. The university where she is employed expects her to work herself to death, her only parent has left to join the grey nomads, and her stay-at-home husband, Michael, is becoming besties with another mum. As Lisa struggles to cope with sexism in the education system, she enters a battle with her daughter’s primary school who refuse to add shorts to their girls’ uniform. The more the school fixates on pretty girls in dresses, the more Lisa feels judged by the other mothers and finds solace at the bottom of a bottle.

Michael’s life would be simpler if his wife could learn to let things lie. He has loved being a stay-at-home dad and spending most of his day cooking curries and making dumplings. Yet he is restless now that their daughter has started school. His desire to be the available parent conflicts with his desire to return to work.

In middle age, Lisa and Michael begin to unravel as they struggle to overcome childhood wounds and rigid gender stereotypes. Lisa’s spiralling thoughts lead her to dark places. Can she find the courage to hold on to what matters while relinquishing control? Will Michael learn to speak up and challenge his wife so he can lead his family to calmer waters?

Holding On and Letting Go is a domestic fiction novel aimed at women, academics and stay at home fathers. Set in Brisbane in 2017, this novel examines human vulnerabilities within a toxic, increasingly commodified education industry.

Persistent Echo

Mabel is twenty-one, studying psychology and pissed off. Being abandoned by her mother as a five-year-old ruined her life. And now that amorphous yet intimate stranger is staying with Mabel for two whole weeks. Her judgemental mother assumes their biology makes them close, but Mabel wants her mother to understand how crippling it was to grow up unloved.

When Mabel learns of her mother’s abusive past, the family stories her father fed her come crashing down. Her willingness to consider her mother’s version of events leads to explosive tension. Her sister calls her a traitor and demands she sends their mother away, while her father gaslights her by insisting he never tried to turn her against her mother. Drawing on her psychological study, Mabel interrogates her family relationships and how these connect to the violence inflicted upon her by her ex-boyfriend and her self-harming behaviours. As her long-held assumptions crumble, Mabel glimpses a future where she writes her own truth. Can she be lovable? And can she rework her identity so that maternal abandonment and male violence do not define her? 

Persistent Echo is a domestic-fiction coming-of-age novel aimed at young woman and mothers. Set in Brisbane in the late 1990s, Mabel is empowered by higher education and aware that her mother was not offered this opportunity. Against a backdrop of women’s rights and a growing awareness of domestic violence, Mabel and her mother attempt to undo the damage men caused them over generations. This novel interrogates themes of maternal abandonment, intergenerational trauma, and the transformative power of education.