Author(s): Alison Gibbs
It's the summer of 1976, and the winds of change are blowing through the small town of Repentance on the edge of the Great Dividing Range. The old families cut timber, but the new settlers have a different perspective on the natural order and humankind's place in the scheme of things. Linda Curtis is the latest blow-in to the old Parmenter farm, where the hippies have gathered and a protest is being planned. She's new to the district, but she shares a past with the protestors' militant leader. Yet not all their secrets are shared. From behind the counter of her father's shop, thirteen-year-old Joanne Parmenter struggles to make sense of what's happening to her town. Assigned to work on a local-history project with one of the hippie kids, she has chosen to avoid anything contentious and research the dying dairy industry, while her mother succumbs to cancer in the house behind her. Sandy Mitchell runs the sawmill that employs half the town. His son and heir is being lured to the city, and his first grandchild is on the way. In the story he learnt as a boy and has never sought to question, he now finds himself cast as the bad man. The bush keeps its own rhythms, but soon everything will be disturbed. Either the old growth is coming down or the loggers have to be stopped. And although not everyone agrees on tactics, no one will escape being drawn into the coming confrontation.