Book Reviews

Stina

by Dell Brand

  • Congratulations! I have just finished reading your book on our great grandmother and was absolutely fascinated from start to finish. Your research and efforts are to be commended. I only ever knew that our family name was originally Carlberg and was changed to Miller at some stage but I never knew why. I did know however that she had been married four times. One of the reasons I never enquired further was that my own mother’s family history on her father’s side was somewhat dark and was always hushed up and so I felt that the Carlberg/Miller story might have had some sinister history also and so thought it best to let sleeping dogs lie. How wrong I was! What a life that remarkable woman led!
    Many of your references throughout the book were of particular interest to me; names like Peapes Taylor, Dymocks Books, various street names, Queen Victoria Building (which I always loved), all brought back fond memories. Not so fond was the description of the badge making process at GA Miller & Sons for I worked there every school holidays from the time I was 8 years old painting that enamel; dad was so short staffed at that time. And many a tennis tournament I had to pull out of on a week-end when dad would bring home on Friday evening, thousands of badges to be painted by Monday morning. I should mention I did get paid 3d per 100.
    And yet more memories were stirred with your reference to the Bottle-O man, Ice-Man etc. But you left out the Watkins man who used to deliver liniments, ointments, vanilla extracts etc. Originally from Minnesota in the U.S., these products became very popular in Australia and were only ever sold door to door. Many older people would be fascinated to be reminded of them because they made a movie on the Watkins Man and it became very popular. Nowadays, Walmart and some pharmacies still carry Watkins products and I, myself today, am never without Petro Carbo Salve, the most magical healing ointment.
    I like your title of STINA. She was such a remarkable person and needs front cover attention.
    Anyway, once again, congratulations! And I look to the future for more great stories.

    Wendy McGrath

  • I am enthralled with “Stina” and am thoroughly loving reading it (Erik has just died). Your background research is wonderful.

    Sue Bulbrook.

  • I have thoroughly enjoyed Dell’s Book “Stina”. As a lover of family history I found this book so engaging, with all the research Dell has put into the facts added to the book and the way the story was weaved around it.
    I would thoroughly recommend it as a great read .

    Marian Hardy


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