book reviews

Book Review: The Rarest Thing


The Rarest Thing
: Deborah O’Brien
Published: 2016
Publisher: Lomandra Press
Pages: 254
My Rating: 4/5

Deborah O’Brien is an Australian author best known to date, for novels such as Mr Chen’s Emporium and The Trivia Man. Deborah’s latest release The Rarest Thing, published through her own imprint Lomandra Press, is an intriguing story about vulnerability, self-discovery, and love.

The story, set in 1966, revolves around thirty-year-old Dr. Katharine Wynter a shy, but curious paleontologist who is excited by the recent discovery of a rare mountain pygmy possum in the Victorian High Country – a species thought to be long extinct. Katharine embarks on a trip to visit the possum in its natural habitat, although reluctantly, as she is accompanying Scott King, an international wildlife photographer. A man she is intimidated by, but also strangely intrigued by at the same time. The journey sets them both on a path to self-discovery to find the rarest things – both in the bush and within themselves.

The Rarest Thing isn’t usually a book I would pick up* out of curiosity, but it being set in the Victorian High Country, a setting I’m quite familiar with, and the fact it was penned by Deborah, that I found myself interested to see what the story entailed. And I’m glad I did.

Deborah has a wonderful way with characters. She is able to draw her characters with perfect visuals that provide the reader not only with physical attributes but detailed characteristics of their persona, that creates a bond between reader and character. It doesn’t take long for you to be drawn into Katharine’s story, where you are curious to find out her secrets, and hope dearly for her future. I found myself really rooting for Katharine to make peace with herself and find the strength that you could tell was inside her, if only she had the courage to look.

The other thing with this novel is of course the setting. You can tell Deborah has a passion for for the high country, and has spent time there. Her descriptions covered all five-senses and if you closed your eyes you could envisage Katharine and Scott hiking through the scenic landscape.

I also loved Deborah’s ability to tie in the story of the little pygmy possum with the themes of trust, courage, and personal relationships that are at the heart of this book.

Deborah has pulled together not only an intriguing and interesting story, but a story that is full of life and heart. A story that will wrap around you and make you smile. A story that will stick with you long after reading the final words.


The Rarest Thing (signed gift edition paperback or ebook) is available direct from Lomandra Press:


*Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book from Deborah for review purposes but it in no way has influenced my thoughts on the book.

Have you read any of Deborah’s books?