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.