A Waltz for Matilda: Jackie French REVIEW TIME


A Waltz For Matilda by Jackie French. Number 1 in the Matilda saga.
Read December 26th 2016.      5 // 5 stars.

Jackie French held the place of my favourite author for a very long time, perhaps the longest out of anyone. An Australian writer, she mainly writes Historical fiction and emphasises the imagery and glory of Australia throughout all her books. I think that if you weren’t Australian you would think this country an absolute paradise from her books, but they did a lot for me by crafting an appreciation for this great land, that I still have and will  (hopefully) never lose.

A Waltz For Matilda, the first in the Matilda saga, is a slow book packed with imagery and drought and the realness of humanity in the face of despair. Matilda, a girl from the slums, leaves to find her father in the ‘middle of nowhere’. The book itself spans from when she was twelve to thirty three, and is gloriously full of everything needed for a good hearty Australian story – a farm and sheep and sun and rain and historical accuracy and forbidden love and kangaroos.

I’ve read this book … five (? something like that) times now, and though I do have a few nitpicks, on the whole it has never failed to make me smile, and appreciate this lovely brown-and-green land that I live in.

what i liked.

  • Forgiveness. It plays a huge part in this book and it’s not something that pops up often in this age of paybacks. As such, I appreciated its presence and was awed at its power. It made the book for me, I think.
  • Matilda. She is stubborn and awesome, just like this land. And can I just say that I love her obsession with sheep? Because I do.
  • Its historical value. I remember reading this for the first time when I was twelve, and I was so intrigued by it that I went and researched the late nineteenth century! That’s the best type of book; books that subtly encourage you to learn.
  • It’s pretty much an all-ages book. There are themes in there that will only be picked up by an older audience, but I am quite sure that a ten year old could read this book and enjoy it!
  • The parts where annoying characters got told off by gruff old men. It’s hilarious, I’m telling you now.

what i didn’t like.

  • The realism of a thirteen year old running a farm. I know she had loving people to help her, but it was just a leetle hard to believe. I only noticed it on this read through, however.
  • Matilda’s character was hard to discern. This is something that runs through all of Jackie French’s writing, I think – it can sometimes be hard to find the traits of a specific character, to make him/her different from the rest. By the end of the book I understood her more, but there were parts where she felt a little like cardboard – a standard character, but nothing more. HOWEVER this may just be me – knowing my reading style, I could have brushed over the most important paragraph of the book and missed a huge plot development!

All in all, then, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book and one that I highly recommend to anyone, of any age!

Have you read this book?

Keep smiling,

–Emmeline 🙂


5 thoughts on “A Waltz for Matilda: Jackie French REVIEW TIME

  1. I have read this one!! Although it was absolutely years ago and I barely remember anything about it.😂 Which clearly means I’m due for a reread right!?? And I heard it was a series too so I want to read the rest! Jackie French is all the amazing. And I love how I get to learn historical things AND read an interesting story. And, of course, ‘Straya mate. I love reading books set here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMMENTING!! And you should definitely read it again, though it is awfully slow going. Honestly though, the series just gets better! SO MANY FEELS. She so is! I think I may have read all of her books … XD I have a slight obsession! The historical value is definitely a huge reason of why I love her. And I love reading books set here too, though I rarely can find good ones! It’s terrible! (Though to be fair, I haven’t really looked. I think that should be a goal this year – support more Aussie writers.)


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