Sunday #Book #Review – The Thorn Birds

Book reviews

Today’s Sunday book review is on one of my all-time favorite books and movies, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. Often I find a book is always so much better than a movie, but this book (almost 800 pages) became a lengthy mini series back in 1983, the second highest rated mini series ever.  I loved it so much that after the series finished, I rented the whole boxed set (VCR days) and binge watched it over an entire weekend, glued to the screen.


The story takes place on a sheep farm in a fictional place in the Australian outback where the Cleary family moves there to live with the matriarch, Mary Carson (played by Barbra Stanwyck). The main character, Meggie Cleary is only 5 when she’s uprooted from New Zealand to Australia to live with her stern aunt, and her unhappiness is cleared only whenever the town priest, Ralph de Bricassart (played by the debonair Richard Chamberlain, Dr. Kildare anyone?) comes to visit.

The Cleary story spans 3 generations, and throughout the series, from childhood through womanhood, Meggie’s love for the priest only grows to the point of forbidden love, heartbreak, and loss as she matures into an older woman.

The scenery is beautiful, the storyline is captivating, and if you love a heart-wrenching love story (like I do) you will definitely want to read this book.




Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, THE THORN BIRDS  is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story’s heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican…but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life.


5 Stars My Review 

One of my all time favorites! A long book and a great read! A most beautiful story set in Australia about forbidden love. Little Meggie Cleary grows up with the influence of the local Priest and the years pass into her womanhood as her childhood admiration for the Priest turns into a mutual love between the two of them. I will not spoil what happens as the book spans over decades with these characters. Oh yes, one more thing, bring Kleenex for this beautiful read!


Get this book on Amazon HERE And while you’re there, pick up the now available DVD like I’m going to do.


*Note – After the book was a hit, over a decade later, to capitalize on the original movie’s fame, a second movie came out which wasn’t a sequel but more like some ‘bonus’ story told while Father Ralph was on his mission in Rome. I didn’t watch this because I didn’t want to taint the memory I already had of the series and book. As it turns out if you look up the reviews on Amazon, the majority of Thorn Bird lovers were angry and disappointed in the movie, wishing they’d never watched it. Glad I took a pass.

18 thoughts on “Sunday #Book #Review – The Thorn Birds

  1. That is a nice review but what caught my eye is 800 pages!! What about Kindle edition!! Thanks for the kleenex advice!

    The biggest, the thickest and the lengthiest novel I was obliged to read as a student of literature was Tom Jones and I confess I didn’t understand a word of it at that time and don’t remember anything except its painful reading journey!!

    What I detested as a young student of literature has slowly become my passion. I didn’t like D.H. Lawrence and wondered what was there in his novels to get the ban on some of them but I just finished reading The Rainbow (banned after it was published) and thoroughly enjoyed the lyrical prose and theme (much ahead of his times.)


  2. I read the book (I think!) and saw the movie. After all, it was so long ago, back in the 1980s. Although the details are fuzzy, I remember how the book made me FEEL, one way to gauge a book’s success. I agree with the 5-Stars, for sure!


  3. I did this the other way around, Debby – read the book first the still a child ad then saw the TV series – oh, just loved both! I had no idea there had been a second movie of the book and just as well by the sounds of it! Thanks for the review and bringing back fun memories!?


  4. I remember the series very well. It was shown in Spain too and yes, it was a hit. I am not sure if I ever read the novel (it was often the case that novels such series had been based on would be translated later if they were not available at the time. I remember reading the novels Rich Man, Poor Man or The Jewel of the Crown (actually 4 novels) were based on. I don’t think I’ve watched it since but I believe I did watch the other series you mention (I definitely remember seeing father Ralph in Rome), but it hasn’t left a lasting memory. Thanks for the reminder, Debby. One to look out for.


    1. Thanks for sharing that Olga. And Rich Man Poor Man was another favorite mini series, I don’t recall reading the book though. NO doubt, Father Ralph in Rome didn’t leave a lasting memory based on reviews. 🙂


  5. Oh Deb, I remember so well being absolutely glued to the TV when The Thorn Birds ran, nursing a major crush on Richard Chamberlain (and I was a young mum at the time, lol!). But the story, so moving and yes, requiring plenty of kleenex, truly an epic. I’m pretty sure I did read the book, as being typically obsessed that is something I would have done, but strangely, I don’t remember doing so. I know I defninitely didn’t watch the second movie for exactly the same reason as you…and again, like you, so glad I didn’t! Thank you so much for this great reminder of a fantastic book/TV series my friend! ❤ xoxo


    1. Why am I not surprised you loved it like me???? Lol, wow, I”d love to watch it again with you and a few boxes of Kleenex Sher! Yes, many women fell in love with Richard Chamberlain as Dr. Kildare back in the day. And the series, you couldn’t help but love a man like that, no surprise Megan couldn’t help herself. Thanks for going down memory lane with me. 🙂 xoxo ❤


      1. Oh I would love that Deb, I was thinking just the same thing!! I love walking down memory lane with you…and this particular walk was wonderful… 🙂 xoxox


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