Feel-good fiction sometimes gets a raw deal as being ‘light-weight’ or an ‘easy’ read, but an easy read simply means it is a page turner. And while feel-good fiction may leave us, as the name suggests, feeling good at the end, it doesn’t mean it can’t deal with some fairly heavy issues. And for me this is where the beauty and power of feel-good fiction lies.
Across my novels I have explored issues of racism, losing a child, emotional abuse, misogyny, alcoholism, class barriers… none of which are light topics. Yet, my novels are often described as heart-warming and uplifting. And that’s because, when you explore such issues within the pages of a novel where they are an element of the characters’ broader lives, and you show how the characters navigate their lives and loves while dealing with such deep burdens, you create a safe place for readers to escape to.
When the characters are mums, or single twenty-somethings, or someone running the local café, or renovating their house, or juggling family and career after a relationship breakdown, instead of a highly trained assassin working for a secret conglomerate of rich and powerful clones, then the stories are something each one of us can relate to. We can see ourselves in Alice’s struggle to find happiness after devastating loss in The Kookaburra Creek Café. We recognise our friend in Nicole trying to rebuild her life after a less than ideal relationship in The Cottage At Rosella Cove. We are able to wonder what we would do in Laura’s shoes when the truth of her grandmother’s past is finally revealed in The Banksia Bay Beach Shack. Because they are us.
Within a feel-good novel we can find ourselves – all our good bits, and messy bits, and ugly bits, and dreamy bits – wrapped in the words of a story that may well have darker issues embedded into its pages, but where we also know our heart and soul will be looked after, and as we close the cover of the book our faith in love and life and ourselves is restored.
Because at its heart, feel-good fiction can transport us from our own worries and remind us that there is hope. It leaves us feeling that love will prevail. That with friends by our side we can cope with anything. That life is a joyous gift to cherish. Feel-good fiction can take us away from our own problems, snuggle us up in a warm literary hug, and remind us that no matter what’s going on, there is promise. Promise that we will find our way through.
At a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges not only on a personal scale, but globally, the need to be reminded of the good in humanity, the beauty within our own lives, the love that exists between partners, or friends, or families, is tangible. Now, more than ever, we want the power of feel-good fiction to transform our hearts and souls with hope. And it absolutely has that power.
The Banksia Bay Beach Shack
A year is a long time in the memory of a small town. Stories get twisted, truths become warped, history is rewritten.
When Laura discovers an old photo of her grandmother, Lillian, with an intriguing inscription on the back, she heads to the sleepy seaside town of Banksia Bay to learn the truth of Lillian’s past. But when she arrives, Laura finds a community where everyone seems to be hiding something.
Virginia, owner of the iconic Beach Shack café, has kept her past buried for sixty years. As Laura slowly uncovers the tragic fragments of that summer so long ago, Virginia must decide whether to hold on to her secrets or set the truth free.
Young Gigi and Lily come from different worlds but forge an unbreakable bond – the ‘Sisters of Summer’. But in 1961 a chain of events is set off that reaches far into the future. One lie told. One lie to set someone free. One lie that changes the course of so many lives.
Welcome to the Banksia Bay Beach Shack, where first love is found and last chances are taken.
A moving and heartfelt story by the bestselling author of The Kookaburra Creek Café and The Cottage At Rosella Cove.
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
About the Author:
Sandie Docker grew up in Coffs Harbour, and first fell in love with reading when her father introduced her to fantasy books as a teenager. Her love of fiction began when she first read Jane Austen for the HSC, but it wasn’t until she was taking a translation course at university that her Mandarin lecturer suggested she might have a knack for writing – a seed of an idea that sat quietly in the back of her mind while she lived overseas and travelled the world. Sandie first decided to put pen to paper (yes, she writes everything the old-fashioned way before hitting a keyboard) when living in London. Now back in Sydney with her husband and daughter, she writes every day.