For Hattie, the cafe has been her refuge for the last fifty years – her second chance at a happy ending after her dreams of being a star were shattered. For Alice, the cafe is her livelihood. After Hattie took her in as a teenager, Alice has slowly forged a quiet life as the cafe’s manager (and chief cupcake baker). For Becca, a teenager in trouble, the cafe could be the new start she yearns for. That is, if she can be persuaded to stop running from her secrets.
One small town. Three lost women. And a lifetime of secrets. Welcome to the Kookaburra Creek Café.
Discussion points and questions:
- The Kookaburra Creek Café is told from the perspectives of three very different women. How did using these three perspectives help, or hinder, the telling of the story?
- Was Alice right to keep Tammy a secret from Dean? Have you ever kept something important from someone for ‘their own good’?
- Were Louise’s reasons for keeping Alice’s letter from Dean justified? How far would you go to protect your own relationship?
- After Becca’s ‘stepdad’ visits, Alice is worried Becca will run. Do you think she will?
- Joey says he thought Alice wasn’t able to forgive him all these years. Do you think he has forgiven himself?
- Alice sees Becca’s arrival as a second chance at a life stolen from her. Is Becca Alice’s second chance? Is there any danger in Alice feeling this way?
- Hattie abandons her dreams of stardom after Genevieve’s accident. Do you think she has any regrets?
- When Hattie finds a young Alice in the café, she offers her a job that doesn’t exist. Why do you think she does this?
- When reviewing The Kookaburra Creek Café, Theresa Smith said, ‘She deals Alice a rough hand, more than once, but this is what life is like. Tragedy and heartache isn’t an evenly allocated deal.’ Do you agree, or do you feel the author put too much on Alice’s shoulders?
- Hattie, Alice and Becca all have substantial tragedy in their lives, yet the novel is considered life-affirming and uplifting. How has the author achieved this?
- The book is in many ways quintessentially 'Australian', do you think the story and characters would transfer across to other countries/cultures? Similarly would it work if the setting was an urban one rather than a rural one?
- ‘Funny how ‘home’ could sneak up on you like that, a place where you never meant to stay, with people you never meant to love.’ What does ‘home’ mean to you?