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Disturbing the Dust


Jenny Tomlinson has complex feelings about her unusual childhood in England. She is teaching at a school in Australia, when memories of traumatic events, also concerning a dear friend Terry, surface, become obtrusive and begin to threaten her emotional wellbeing. She knows she needs to examine them further and, on returning home, her subsequent quest to prove Terry innocent has unexpected repercussions.

This authentic and moving novel explores the psychological fallout from false accusations  - on both the victims and the accusers - and the power of perseverance, forgiveness and love.

A deftly woven tale of memory, trauma, accusations and redemption in the hands of an extremely talented author.

Pauline James has drawn on personal experience and academic learning in this novel. Like Jenny, she was once a chemistry teacher who also grew up in similar circumstances. She too experienced a trauma linked to false accusations, though, for her, this occurred in adulthood. In Australia, she studied educational psychology at the University of Queensland, later becoming a teacher educator in Melbourne. Her medal-winning PhD from La Trobe University explored personal change in beginning teachers and, after joining the University of Melbourne, she undertook further research exploring people’s emotions and coping strategies during periods of challenge.

  • Though written as an entertaining page-turner, this is an intelligent, perceptive book of considerable psychological depth.
  • Because of the author’s unusual background, the book often uses powerful, unconventional imagery.
  • While written solely from the main character’s perspective, the book successfully juggles emotional expression, description, insight and ideas.
  • The book has a strong, convincing plot, yet its compelling themes also bind the story together.

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