About the book
Australia, 1914. The world is erupting in war. Jobs are scarce and immigrants unwelcome. For young Catholic Mary O’Donnell, this is not the new life she imagined.
When one foolish night of passion leads to an unexpected pregnancy and a loveless marriage, Mary’s reluctant husband Liam escapes to the trenches. With her overbearing mother attempting to control her every decision, Mary flees to Melbourne determined to build a life for herself and her child. There, she forms an unlikely friendship with Protestant army reject Tom Robbins.
But as a shattering betrayal is revealed, Mary must make an impossible choice. Does she embrace the path fate has set for her, or follow the one she longs to take?
From the harshness of a pit village in Scotland to the upheaval of wartime Australia, No Small Shame tells the moving story of love and duty, loyalty and betrayal, and confronting the past before you can seek a future.
- Publisher: Ventura Press
- Available: April 2020
- Pages: 400
- ISBN: 1920727892, 9781920727895
Praise for No Small Shame
Christine Bell’s No Small Shame is impossible to put down. Her writing is wonderful, wise and empathetic. No Small Shame is a masterful debut novel, and an excellent addition to Australia’s historical fiction genre. Full review.
Bell’s evocation of setting is an outstanding feature of the novel. Her social and physical landscapes of the years 1909 to 1919 are vivid with sensory and historical colour. Full Review.
Once I started reading No Small Shame, I could not stop. I was utterly swept up by Mary’s story and her refusal to settle for the life she is expected to lead.
This is a novel of darkness and hope, full of insight, and written beautifully, with intelligence and sensitivity. A wonderful debut … Full review.
Be prepared to be transported into the past, to be caught up in a slice of Aussie history but, mostly, swept away in a completely relatable and beautifully told tale that will move and, in the end, fill you. Outstanding. Full review.
An absorbing, convincing and heartbreaking picture of a woman trapped in an impossible marriage. I ached for Mary and grew to love the defiant spirit shining through her doubts and fears.
Mary O’Donnell’s journey to self-awareness will have you turning the pages until the heartbreaking climax.
Mary’s compelling journey and her indomitable spirit are heartbreaking, moving and inspirational. This novel is a well-researched examination of the roles and rights of women at that time, the struggles and discrimination they faced, the hardships they were expected to endure and the small victories they celebrated, often silently. Full review.
No Small Shame is a beautiful and inspiring story about female power. Christine Bell gives us a brilliant story of female heroism and shows us that women are capable of much more than we could ever really know. Full review.
Compelling and addictive. … a rich and absorbing experience. Full Review.
What distinguishes the novel is its rich characterization. Each character in this carefully drawn work lifts off the page, evoking our enduring interest and empathy.
An epic tale of a woman who finds her voice and ultimately, her agency. Meticulously researched, ambitious in scope and compelling in realisation.
My heart hurt, my heart soared, and I was left thinking about the amazing women who paved the way for women today. Full review.
No Small Shame is an important reminder of how far we have come in Australia … and how much we need to protect. It is a story crafted with great empathy – and immense believability. Full Review.
No Small Shame is an exquisitely written, absorbing and intelligent story of love, betrayal and the painful journey to self-awareness.