"It came one morning with the milk, and it seemed - at first - almost as innocent..."
When Roberta "Bertie" Lightfoot is struck down with polio, her world collapses. But Mama doesn't tolerate self-pity, and Bertie is nobody if not her mother's daughter - until she sets her heart on becoming an artist. Through drawing, the gifted and perceptive Bertie gives form and voice to the reality of the people and the world around her. While her father is happy enough to indulge Bertie's driving passion, her mother will not let art get in the way of the future she wishes for her only daughter.
In 1955 the family moves to post-colonial Port Moresby, a sometimes violent frontier town, where Bertie, determined to be the master of her own life canvas, rebels against her mother's strict control. In this tropical landscape, Bertie thrives amid the lush pallette of colours and abundance, secretly learning the techniques of drawing and painting under the tutelage of her mother's arch rival. But Roberta is not the only one deceiving her family. As secrets come to light, the domestic varnish starts to crack, and jealousy and passion threaten to forever mar the relationship between mother and daughter.Tender and witty, The Beloved is a moving debut novel which paints a vivid portrait of both the beauty and the burden of unconditional love.
'A beautifully crafted novel and a masterclass in drawing, painting and the art of living.’ The West Australian
‘This is a coming-of-age novel that also paints a portrait of the artist as a young woman and follows the fallout when parental will tries to stymie individual self-expression. Written in the voice of Bertie, The Beloved presents a strong and wilful narrator, a good match for her equally pugnacious mother.’
The Weekend Australian
‘It speaks to Faulkner’s talent for character that, despite a mother-daughter friction many readers may find so familiar as to be almost cliché, both Roberta and Lily-May emerge fully fleshed, authentic. …'
The Griffith Review Full Review
'The Beloved’s characters leap off the page with their warmth, humanity and vital intensity: Faulkner creates a portrait in words that vividly evoke the painterly vision its protagonist pursues.' Dr Brigid Rooney
The Kibble Award
‘Vivid and stylish domestic drama, enlivened by a strong gift for metaphor and the wisdom to use it sparingly.’
Sydney Morning Herald
‘..highly charged and gripping… But the greatest triumph of this novel is the voice of a sceptical, passionate, bright, rebellious child who has an understanding beyond her years, and the bravery and intensity of her struggle to be herself.’
Australian Book Review