Read The Great Plains by Nicole Alexander Online


Nicole Alexander, the 'heart of Australian storytelling', takes us on a captivating journey from the American Wild West to the wilds of outback Queensland, from the Civil War to the Great Depression, in an epic novel tracing one powerful but divided family.It is Dallas 1886, and the Wade Family is going from strength to strength: from a thriving newspaper and retail busineNicole Alexander, the 'heart of Australian storytelling', takes us on a captivating journey from the American Wild West to the wilds of outback Queensland, from the Civil War to the Great Depression, in an epic novel tracing one powerful but divided family.It is Dallas 1886, and the Wade Family is going from strength to strength: from a thriving newspaper and retail business in Texas to a sprawling sheep station half a world away in Queensland.Yet money and power cannot compensate for the tragedy that struck twenty-three years ago, when Joseph Wade was slaughtered and his seven-year-old daughter Philomena abducted by Apache Indians.Only her uncle, Aloysius, remains convinced that one day Philomena will return. So when news reaches him that the legendary Geronimo has been captured, and a beautiful white woman discovered with him, he believes his prayers have been answered.Little does he know that the seeds of disaster have just been sown.Over the coming years three generations of Wade men will succumb to an obsession with three generations of mixed-blood Wade women: the courageous Philomena, her hot-headed granddaughter Serena, and her gutsy great-granddaughter Abelena – a young woman destined for freedom in a distant red land. But at what price . . . ? - See more at:

Title : The Great Plains
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781742759852
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 544 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Great Plains Reviews

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    2018-11-23 08:30

    A sweeping saga spanning three generations, and two continents, Nicole Alexander's fifth novel, The Great Plains, is an absorbing tale of love, loss, betrayal, belonging and freedom.The story begins in Dallas, Texas in 1886, before moving to the plains of Oklahoma, and then to the Queensland bush, nearly fifty years later. It follows the trials of three generations of beautiful and strong willed women, Philomena Wade, abducted and raised by Apache Indians, her granddaughter Serena, claimed by her wealthy uncle, successful Texan business man Aloysius Wade, and Serena's eldest daughter, Abelena, whose fates are inextricably entwined with the obsessions of three generations of Wade men.The Great Plains is a multi-layered novel with complex characters believable for both their virtues and their flaws. The major theme of the novel is the notion of belonging with Alexander exploring the bonds created by family, and within that the debate of 'nature versus nurture', the spiritual attachment to the land felt so deeply by the indigenous peoples in both North America and Australia, and finally the idea of belonging to oneself.The story references some of the historical events of the time including the development of the Wild West, the abolition of slavery, the Great Depression and World War 1, as well as key figures, most notably the legendary Apache Indian, Geronimo. Alexander also explores several social issues and beliefs raised by both time and place. The Great Plains is grand and involving fiction blending history and family drama, skillfully crafted by a consummate storyteller.

  • Karen O'Brien-Hall
    2018-11-27 09:12

    How long do you think it takes to write your first book? A lifetime, a few days or somewhere in between?Nicole Alexander admitted her first novel The Bark Cutters took eight years to write! Seems excessive, but when you learn she simultaneously managed her family’s grazing property and completed a Master of Letters in creative writing, you wonder how it only took 8 years. Since publishing her first novel in 2011, Nicole has released four more; A Changing Land (March 2012); Absolution Creek (March 2013), Sunset Ridge (September 2013) and now The Great Plains. (Note: Karen’s review of Sunset Ridge for Starts at Sixty can be found here: )I had the great pleasure of meeting Nicole this week when she spoke at Carindale Library. Such a pleasure to find that someone who tells such a great story on paper, tells a great story in person. She spoke to us for about 45 minutes, without notes, and her absolute passion for what we city people call “The Bush” shines through, no doubt prompting The Courier Mail’s remark “Alexander writes [with] a deep love of the land”.Bearing these comments in mind, it was a bit surprising to read in the publishers note to The Great Plains: “From the American Wild West to the wilds of outback Queensland, from the Civil War to the Depression of the 1930s, The Great Plains is an epic story about two conflicting cultures and one divided family.” On the surface these locations, the American West, specifically the state of Oklahoma, and outback Queensland appeared to be poles apart. It was fascinating to hear Nicole speak about constructing her novel and how she wanted to show the similarities between displaced First Peoples such as Australia’s Indigenous People and the American Native People. Love for the land is not unique to Australians; it is a universal love. To add reality to her extensive research and to put the American story into context, Nicole, accompanied by her mother, travelled to Oklahoma and did a road trip around the state. Her trip encompassed the Great Plains and the Salt Pan as seen in many western movies, though to the greener eastern part of the state. Along the way she even found the prototype of the family mansion. As a fourth generation grazier, Nicole’s description of the Australian property and the surrounding country are wonderfully authentic; her travels in Oklahoma give this same authenticity to that state’s countryside.Seven year old Philomena Wade is the only survivor of the slaughter of her family. It is believed by the Wade family that she was abducted by Apache Indians. Philomena’s mother Ginny was a woman of outstanding beauty and both Joseph and his brother Aloysius loved her, but she chose Joseph. Aloysius Wade cannot give up hope that Philomena will be found; so when it is reported that Geronimo is a prisoner of war at Fort Sill, accompanied by a beautiful white woman, he believes his niece has been found and will soon take her rightful place in the family. Can a person living a subsistence life return happily to the indulgences of a wealthy life? Can a soft bed and plentiful food compensate for the loss of the freedom to come and go as you please? Is nature or nurture dominant in forming the adult? Ginny, daughter Philomena, her mixed-blood great-granddaughter Serena and great-great-granddaughter Abelena are loved by generations of Wade men, but with what consequences? Will Australia make, or finally break, these feisty courageous women?I read this family saga in a little over 2 days; not because I’m a very fast reader, but because I didn’t want to put it down. The last 50 pages I read slowly, trying to make the story last; sleep was the least of my concerns. As difficult as it is to read some of the naive and ignorant descriptions and generalities applied to the first peoples of both continents, they are true to their time and add depth to the story. They are used factually, not for shock value, and without judgment.When I reviewed Sunset Ridge I called Nicole Alexander a story teller, a title further confirmed by The Great Plains. Through place and character, she weaves an enjoyable, involving, thoroughly readable story. Highly recommended with sincere thanks to Random House Australia for my ARC and to Nicole Alexander for sharing her valuable time on tour.This review is published on Starts at Sixty, link

  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    2018-11-21 08:17

    Grand in scale, the Great Plains by Nicole Alexander transcends both time and place. It an unforgettable story that follows three generations of bold and brave women. The Great Plains begins its epic journey in Dallas, Texas in the age of 1886, it then moves through to Oklahoma before settling into Queensland, Australia, some 50 years later. The Great Plains offers the reader a colourful family history of the Wade family, that begins with the abduction of young Philomena Wade by native Indians after her parents are murdered. Aloysius, Philomena’s Uncle and a wealthy businessman, never gives up on the hope that his beloved niece will be found and returned to the Wade family. Many years later, Philomena and her offspring, a pregnant daughter, are found, living amongst on an Indian reservation. They both are rescued and returned to Aloysius. It soon becomes apparent that Philomena and her daughter are too accustomed to the Indian ways to assimilate back into Dallas society. Aloysius makes the painful decision to allow Philomena back to live her life out on the Indian reservation, but not before taking her young baby granddaughter Serena, promising her a fortunate life. Unfortunately, as Serena grows up under the Wade’s care, it is clear that she shares much more with her Indian ancestors than first thought. The curse of the Wade women appears to ripple through the generations. Serena’s eldest daughter Abelena also experiences similar feelings as her ancestors as she tries to forge a new life for herself in Australia.I have to hand it to Nicole Alexander, she is a very skilled storyteller. When I read the blurb for the Great Plains, I was impressed by the sheer scale of the novel. It is ambitious for an author to take on a story set in two continents, each with such a rich wealth of history and covering a time frame of over fifty years. There is no question that Alexander has undertaken a large amount of research, inserted in the novel are significant historical events and people. I greatly appreciated this aspect of the novel, it definitely kept the pages turning. The Great Plains contains a complex cast of characters, whose histories the reader cannot be helped but get swept away with. Alexander moves seamlessly through the generations of Wade men and women, each with their set of flaws for the reader to discover. There are a number of themes running through the epicentre of the Great Plains, land and belonging are key to the book. However, I also felt minor themes of family, love, loss and spiritualism, the importance of preserving indigenous culture were also aspects of the book that sprung to life for me. Alexander also provides much food for thought in the area of the considering the importance of social, emotional, environmental and cultural factors in determining success of upbringing. These aspects all come into play with Philomena and her offspring. I felt this strong aspect of the novel would make an ideal point for discussion in book clubs.A multi generational book that highlights the same issues are prevalent in two very different cultures and continents, the Great Plains is a book that calls to be read.

  • MarciaB - Book Muster Down Under
    2018-11-27 13:15

    “Genes and family may determine the foundation of the house, but time and place determine its form” – Jerome KaganIn 1863, Joseph Wade had deserted his post to travel into New Mexico to bring his children back to Fort Washita after his wife had succumbed during childbirth. Ambushed en route, Joseph and his young son died in the skirmish but his daughter, Philomena, was captured by the infamous Geronimo and his band of Apache Indians, never to be seen again.Twenty-three years later, Aloysius Wade receives news that Philomena has been sighted travelling with Geronimo to Texas and suddenly his memories of her mother Ginny start to haunt him as the burden of patriarch begins to weigh heavily on his shoulders. Familial duty and pride for his lineage equally drive him to meet with Philomena. Unfortunately, she is no longer the little girl she used to be and they part but not before he removes her newborn grand-daughter from her custody shortly after her birth – a decision that will have repercussions on his own family and the following two generations as the Wade family crosses two continents in an attempt to eradicate a culture.Amidst a family who has lied to her about her birth-right and the white culture of the day which was rife with racism, Serena grows into a spirited young woman displaying a love for the outdoors, an attraction to fire as well as a penchant for collecting dead things. For Aloysius, the doctor’s words of so many years before begin to ring true:“Granted there is some dilution circulating through the child but there is no reason not to assume that she would not assimilate into society with ease. Nature versus nurture, Aloysius. The ongoing debate of whether an individual is formed by birth-right or upbringing is most definitely leaning towards nurture. This baby will be moulded by her environment. Your environment.”and he realises, after an accident in their home, that Serena will need to be told the truth.An epically structured story, Nicole Alexander writes in chapters that switch between the Wade men and Philomena’s descendants as she entwines the histories of two countries with Serena and Abelena’s somewhat tragic search for identity and belonging.As usual our “heart of Australian storytelling” captures her audience by giving us fully rendered characters that you will either come to loathe, love or pity as she accurately portrays the clashing perceptions and prejudices of the white people towards the Native American Indians whilst also delving into the hearts and minds of her non-white characters, laying bare their emotional turmoil and anger at the unaccepting world they inhabit.In doing this, Nicole shows us both sides of the coin and, while I came to loathe and pity the Wade men with their small-minded obsessions I admired Philomena’s kin, particularly Abelena, for the strength and tenacity she shows in trying to overcome her circumstances.Nicole’s passion for the bush once again comes through in her writing as the landscape lives and breathes on its own from the treeless, semi-arid red plateau of the Great Plains in Oklahoma with its turbulent weather patterns to life on a sheep station in our own dry, parched land of Australia.Peppered with symbolism, punctuated by stories from the Native American Dreaming and Aboriginal Dreamtime and stirring up the age-old philosophical debate of “nature versus nurture”, Nicole has added extra dimensions to this generational saga, tying up all the loose ends perfectly. I have no doubt that while the general reader will turn the final pages with a satisfied sigh, book clubs will pick it apart with unadulterated zeal.

  • Monique Mulligan
    2018-12-11 06:28

    A powerful love of the land shines throughout Nicole Alexander's latest family saga, The Great Plains. This is the first novel I've read by the novelist described as the 'heart of Australian storytelling', and it won't be my last. On the surface the premise is simple: three generations of Wade men are captivated by three generations of mixed-blood Wade women; at its essence, messages about protecting and honouring the earth, connection to landscape, cultural differences and belonging create depth.The novel traces the Wade family's journey from the American Wild West to outback Queensland, from the Civil War to the Great Depression, from unity to division. It opens in Dallas, where the family is experiencing the good fortune of a thriving newspaper and retail business, but is shaken by the discovery of a long-lost relative who was captured by Indians 23 years earlier. The patriarch, Aloysius, is overjoyed by the return of Philomena, his dead brother's daughter; his wife is not so happy, especially when it is revealed that Philomena has a teenage daughter who is pregnant. With their social standing at risk, the family must decide what to do. Aloysius wants to free Philomena from the Indians, but in doing that, will Philomena lose her freedom? Does Philomena have any say in the matter? Over the years, Philomena's grand-daughter Serena and great-grand-daughter Abelena will each be forced to choose between freedom and being part of a wealthy family. Either way, the price is high.'Tobias thinks that by bringing me here he will change me, like his father wanted to change me.' (Abalena, p414)Rich and complex, The Great Plains highlights an interesting and sad dilemma - that of people who by birth belong to two cultures, but in practice belong to neither. In Philomena's case, she was "adopted" into another culture, the Apache Indians, and was unable and unwilling to accept the restrictions of the white world. Her descendants, being of mixed blood, were seen as outcasts by both whites and Apache, and even so, they could not escape the fight within them, an inner battle of cultural truths. Their situation is mirrored in cultures worldwide. Alexander does a terrific job highlighting the social and historical realities, but also, the depth of connection to culture and land, both in America and Australia. I loved this passage:'You must tell Abalena to accept the Apache within her. Until she does she will remain angry with our people. She hides it well but her heart cries out to belong. The white part of her fights an Indian heart, but she will never win. We are too strong ...' (Uncle George, p289)Thematically, The Great Plains has much to offer, from freedom to obsession, from family ties to land ties, from poverty to wealth. Overriding it all is control - control of the land (as in ownership, use and misuse), control of wealth, control of people (women, Indians and Aborigines) and control of freedom (including of spirit). Underneath is the lingering question - what is freedom? Who defines this? The gentle reminder is that freedom for one, may be prison for another. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It gave me a lot to think about, as well as delivering a ripping good yarn. Alexander writes with heart as much as storytelling talent, and she paints a picture of the great plains of America and Australia that is vivid and layered.

  • Rochelle
    2018-12-04 11:14

    What a read! I feel breathless. The Great Plains was an epic generational saga that drew me in from the first pages and held me captivated throughout. It was such an emotional read and I am still reeling from it.Aloysius hasn’t given up hope that his niece, Philomena, is still alive, even though it’s been over twenty years since she was taken captive by Native Americans. When news come of her being found, Aloysius can hardly believe it. But she is nothing like the child her remembers. She has grown into a woman – a Native American woman, and she has a daughter in tow.He wants to bring her back into the family, but she is too far gone and all his hope dies. Until his great niece gives birth to a white baby. He sees it at a chance to save the baby the way he couldn’t save Philomena. Little does he know the trouble he is about to bring on his family.Serena, the babe, grows up in Aloysius house, but she never truly belongs. Her Native American blood pulls from within her. She finds herself trapped between two worlds, belonging to none. She runs away, turning her back on the Wades, feeling they never really wanted her.But Philomena and her kin have gotten under the skin of the Wade men , and they can’t help but feel fiercely for the women. When Serena’s daughter, Abelena, finds herself homeless and in trouble, Aloysius grandson can’t help but help the girl. But the curse that seemed to plague the Wades has continued throughout each generation and Abelena is determined to be rid of it once and for all.There were so many things to love about this book. Our three strong protagonist got under my skin just as surely as they did the Wade men. They were so full of personality and leapt of the page. They have met a lot of hardship, but they are fighters and they don’t give up and let others stand in their way.The book was very much about place and belonging. These three women struggled between two worlds and belonging to neither.We also had a duel setting, which I loved. We saw the comparison between two different lands – America and Australia – and despite their difference they were both harsh lands with people that didn’t treat the natives well.The Great Plains was a heart-wrenching family drama. A well-written story full of vivid descriptions and true to life characters. It will captivate you and pull you in, and it will have you holding your breath until the final page. The Great Plains was a thrilling historical drama, I highly recommend it.

  • Kathy
    2018-12-10 05:13

    Loved, loved, loved every single page of this book. A fan of the sweeping saga, Nicole has successfully written a wonderful story spanning three generations and two continents. When buying this book, I didn’t even read the blurb because Nicole is one of my automatic buy authors, so was pleasantly surprised to see that the majority was set in Oklahoma in the late 1800’s – one of my favourite historical time periods. The Great Plains is also set in the Queensland outback nearly fifty years later. I was captivated by this epic saga from the very beginning and am giving it an easy 5 stars.

  • Jeannette
    2018-12-03 06:24

    Last year I attended a library talk where Nicole Alexander spoke about her research for The Great Plains so I knew the book would be another stellar read. How wrong was I? This book is so much better than stellar. This novel is EPIC—a beautiful, yet tragic generational story about a family cursed that is rich in history and, as with her previous stories, packed with a writer’s passion for perfection and historical accuracy. I am in awe of Nicole’s ability to tell complex stories that captivate until the very last page – and even then leave you wanting more. A sequel please, Ms Alexander!

  • Dzintra aka Ingrid
    2018-11-30 10:10

    This book is an epic read.....couldn't put it down. From Oklahoma to Australia I felt like I was there with every turn of the page!

  • Karen
    2018-11-24 10:10

    An epic generational saga linking Oklahoma and the Australian outback. Learned heaps and it was an interesting story.

  • Aileen
    2018-11-16 07:20

    A great novel expanding 3 cultures, Indian, White man and Aboriginal and how the 3 of them intertwined by the connection of one family. The tragedies that they faced and the obsession of the Wade family to find out what had happened to their lost family members, then when they were found how Philomena had taken on the Indian culture only to have it used against her and her future family. Then to the far inland country of Northern Australia where her family finally found peace. Letting us know that the plains no matter what continent they are on, they may both hold their own spirits and tradtions but are linked in so many ways. I really enjoyed reading The Great Plains, thanks Nicole Alexander for letting us into this world.

  • Robyn Gibson
    2018-11-24 11:17

    Aloysius is the head of a moneyed family and this story jumps from Southern Queensland, Dallas, Texas, Oklahoma City and Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory. Aloysius' brother and family were killed, supposedly by Indians and their young daughter Philomena was abducted by Apaches. She lived with the indians for twenty-three years so she becomes more Indian than American. Philomela has Aloysius blood running through her veins so he's determined to find her. Three generations of Philomela's family make up this wonderful story. Nicole Alexander made one Aussie mistake saying that there was a Holden coming along the road in 1935? but they weren't built until 1948. Sorry Nicole. I couldn't put this book down but now I've finished the last page today I might just get some housework done!

  • Abby Nancarrow grimshaw
    2018-12-10 10:09

    When I first started reading this book wasn't quite sure about the story but by the time I got to the end I was frustrated and cranky! Why is it that back in those days early 1900s men with money and power thought it was their duty to tell us women what to do and to think that they knew what was best for us. The story was spread across three generations and none of the men learnt from their previous ancestors life. Our white ancestors have a lot to answer for when it comes to how the Indians were treated in America and the Aboriginals treated in Australia. I could see that if I was born in this time I wouldn't have married as I don't think men have the right to dictate what a woman should do with her life. As you can see a very thought provoking book for me!

  • Sharlene
    2018-12-15 13:16

    My only regret is that I picked up this book to read at a really bad time for me (ie incredibly busy time of year) - which meant I unfortunately went days (sometimes a couple of weeks) in between reading sessions. I've always thought it would be interesting to see what was happening in different parts of the world at the same time - we always learn about individual events, but don't always know what was going on in the rest of the world. So I found it especially interesting, for example, to know what was happening in Australia at the same time as the 'wild West' in America. I don't want to give anything away, so can't really say too much more!

  • Townsville Library
    2018-11-21 06:24

    Find this Great Summer Read in Townsville

  • Paula Clark
    2018-12-10 12:04

    Nicole Alexander is a great storyteller and this family saga was beautifully written encompassing the Wild West, issues of slavery, the depression, World War 1 etc. There were a few parts here and there that I thought added nothing to the overall context of the saga and could have easily been left out, but overall it was a great read with an unexpected ending.

  • Janine
    2018-12-05 13:09

    An epic family saga over 3 generations and 2 countries. Did drag a bit in the middle.

  • Robyn Coyle
    2018-12-15 10:19

    Great storyline - very entertaining - had everything. Also excellent publisher - no errors at all.

  • Susan Dawson
    2018-12-12 13:13

    Absolutely brilliant!!! I found this book incredibly hard to put down and got almost no work done once I'd started it!! Such strength of identity and heritage. Just beautiful!!!

  • Kerrie Kellner
    2018-12-05 06:14

    Different to her previous books, this follows a direct chronology rather than switching between the present and the past, except for the introduction. Well written with intriguing characters

  • Greyjoyous
    2018-12-07 09:26

    Finally finished. This was woeful.(view spoiler)[- All the speech was stilted and awkward.- Couldn't tell the difference between any of the Wade men OR Philomena's descendents- A whole family of women who make men fall in love with them instantly, for no reason (except the one who looked too much like a Native American, who was killed off immediately without even being given a name)- Over the course of her trip to Australia (which the reader see none of), Abelena goes from a hard nosed bitch rejecting all her Native heritage to gross caricature talking in dreamy riddles and randomly hugging trees and grabbing handfuls of earth.- The only characters I actually cared about (the Todd family) get no conclusion.- Abelena decides she's going to make her own decisions for once (yay)... so she walks into an Aboriginal camp where the dying elder tells his son to take her to their ceremonial spot and fuck a son into her. Abelena goes along with this. (what. the. fuck.) (hide spoiler)]I could find more to criticise but I've already wasted enough of my life on this drivel.Do not recommend.

  • Suzanne
    2018-11-23 05:14

    Sorry but this was not as good as the Bark Cutters and A Changing Land. It was a mix of American/Australian family connections with focus on both the uniqueness of the American Indians and the 'sight' of the Aborigines.