This is a book my mother has wanted me to read for a long long time. It is one of her favourite books and naturally she fancies Richard Chamberlain, from the 1980's mini-series.
The story itself is not something that wholly interested me at all, but McCullough has a talent for getting under your skin with these characters. In some parts, it feels almost impersonal in the way she tells this story. It is not as if you are there amongst the Cleary's, it is as if she is there guiding you through it. I do not know if this is the norm for Colleen McCullough as this is the first one of hers I have read.
The Thorn Birds is the saga of the Cleary family - centring around the life and love of Meggie Cleary. It begins in 1915 and spans a time of fifty years. I don't generally like family sagas they tend to sweep over too much time. Sometimes, with merely a sentence or a paragraph she will sweep over times, often nothing more then a 'by the way, this happened whilst you were away...' but she does so with ease and authority I found it perfectly easy to accept.
The endless description about the heat and the dryness, although well written, really started to tire me after a while it happened almost every other page! I'm not very good in the heat, I do not think I'll be going to Australia any time soon!
Many of the characters left me angry and exasperated with them. I wish they would realise that they were not fated to be thorn birds - yet always they seemed to think they were already fated and could not turn back.
McCullough however writes such wonderful characters - in nothing more then a few words you feel as if you already know them and can already picture them. I loved that.
Overall though, I really liked it very much and I am looking forward to reading more of McCullough's books - which I think I will enjoy even more considering the story of The Thorn Birds far from excited me as a whole.