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Synopsis

'This is not a romance - I have too often faced the music of life to the tune of hardship to waste time in snivelling and gushing over fancies and dreams; neither is it a novel, but simply a yarn - a real yarn. Oh!'

First published in 1901, this Australian classic is the candid tale of the aspirations and frustrations of sixteen-year-old Sybylla Melvin, a headstrong country girl constrained by middle-class social arrangements, especially the pressure to marry.

Trapped on her parents' outback farm, Sybylla simultaneously loves bush life and hates the physical burdens it imposes. She longs for a more refined lifestyle - to read, to think, to sing - but most of all to do great things. Suddenly her life is transformed when she is whisked away to live on her grandmother's gracious property. There Sybylla falls under the eye of the rich and handsome Harry Beecham. Soon she finds herself choosing between everything a conventional life offers and her own plans for a 'brilliant career'.

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