by Belinda Scott
SONG for Emilia is the final book in Julia Osborne's coming-of-age trilogy, which began with The Midnight Pianist and continued with Playing with Keys.
Set in the sheep stations, country towns and Sydney city of the 1960s, the three books follow Sandra and her friend as they make their way from bobby socks to beehive hairdos through teenage crushes, emotional storms, family crises, accidents, illness and a changing society.
For anyone who remembers the 1960s it's a trip down memory lane through gracious country homesteads to Sydney's bohemian Rowe St; from the Beatles to the Vietnam War, as well as revisiting the disastrous drought which kept the countryside in its iron grip for years.
Song for Emilia reunites Sandra with her two best mates, her former schoolmate Emilia, now a stunning Greek beauty and the country boy Nick, battling family tradition and his father's wishes to forge his own path.
Music is the thread that weaves through each of these books, as Sandra struggles to find her own voice as a musician, a composer and a woman.
Nambucca Heads based author Julia Osborne lived through those years and her memories lend authenticity to the background of this story, while her own knowledge and love of music deepens the emotional tone.
Osborne's characters are drawn with a light touch, but a clear eye. Sandra is talented but mean to her sister; her friend is bubbly and beautiful but can't resist lying to her and Harry's failure to look outside his narrow obsessions will end in disaster and scar Nick for life.
Love and friendship help them to find new happiness.
Song for Emilia, launched at the recent inaugural Bowraville Writers Expo, is published by ETT Imprint in association with Paper Horse. All three books in the trilogy are available through bookshops. RRP $18.95 ea.