Facing The Flame Matilda Saga Book By Jackie French: Book's Review and Summary

Facing the Flame (The Matilda Saga, #7) by Jackie French – Great Escape


Facing the Flame by Jackie French: A Review

Facing the Flame, the seventh installment in Jackie French’s Matilda Saga, takes readers on a journey through the Australian outback in the early 1900s. French, known for her extensive work as a historian and author, has crafted a tale that explores themes of resilience, family, and community in the face of hardship.

The novel centers around Jed Kelly, a young woman who returns to her hometown of Gibber’s Creek after time spent abroad. Jed finds herself confronted with the aftermath of a devastating fire that has destroyed much of the town and left its residents struggling to rebuild their lives. As Jed works to help her community recover, she must also grapple with personal challenges and the secrets of her past. French weaves together multiple storylines in a way that is both captivating and informative.

Main Themes and Ideas

One of the central themes of Facing the Flame is the resilience of the human spirit. French’s characters face numerous obstacles throughout the novel, from natural disasters to personal tragedies, yet they persist in their efforts to rebuild and move forward. The importance of family and community is another key theme, as characters rely on each other for support in difficult times. French also addresses issues of gender inequality, highlighting the ways in which women in this time period were often limited in their options and opportunities.

Critical Evaluation

French’s writing style is engaging and vivid, immersing readers in the world of Gibber’s Creek and its inhabitants. She skillfully blends historical detail with fictional storytelling, creating a narrative that is both informative and entertaining. The multiple storylines can be somewhat overwhelming at times, but overall they add depth and complexity to the novel. In terms of weaknesses, some readers may find the pacing slow in certain parts of the book, but this is a minor criticism in the context of the overall story.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Facing the Flame is a strong addition to French’s Matilda Saga, continuing the series’ exploration of Australian history and culture. The novel’s themes of resilience and community are particularly resonant in today’s uncertain times. One weakness of the book is that it may be difficult for readers who are not familiar with the previous installments in the series to fully appreciate the nuances of the characters and plot. However, this is a minor issue that can be remedied by starting with earlier books in the series.

Comparison to Other Works

French’s Matilda Saga is a unique blend of historical fiction and family saga, with a focus on Australian history and culture. In terms of style and themes, it bears some similarities to other authors such as Colleen McCullough and Bryce Courtenay. However, French’s extensive research and attention to detail make her work stand out as a singular achievement.

Overall Impression and Recommendation

Overall, Facing the Flame is a powerful and moving novel that provides insight into the history and culture of Australia. French’s writing is engaging and informative, and her characters are richly drawn and memorable. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction, family sagas, or Australian literature.


Can I read Facing the Flame as a standalone novel, or do I need to read the previous books in the series?

While it is possible to read Facing the Flame as a standalone novel, readers who are not familiar with the previous installments in the Matilda Saga may find it difficult to fully appreciate the characters and their relationships. It is recommended that readers start with the first book in the series, A Waltz for Matilda, and work their way through the other books in order.

What age group is this book suitable for?

Facing the Flame is suitable for readers of all ages, although some of the more mature themes and content may be better appreciated by older readers. Young adult readers who are interested in historical fiction or Australian literature may find this book particularly engaging.

What is the historical context of the novel?

Facing the Flame takes place in the early 1900s in rural Australia. The novel explores themes of resilience and community in the aftermath of natural disasters such as bushfires and floods, as well as the ways in which women and Indigenous Australians were marginalized during this time period.

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