“If only the walls could speak.” It is 1947 and recently demobilised young Royal Navy sailor Dusty Miller has returned to Australia to set up a house with his wartime sweetheart and wife, Wendy. The walls really do speak in this heartfelt narrative as five houses narrate the poignant struggles of Dusty and Wendy when they begin their married life in post-WWII Australia from their first home reluctantly shared by a disgruntled and obnoxious tenant. The couple juggle a new baby with the arrival of Dusty’s resentful family ‘fresh off the boat’, while in their next home in the western suburbs of Sydney, they deal with the devastating effects of a childhood illness. With houses difficult to find, furniture very expensive to buy and returned servicemen vying for jobs, they often turn to self-sufficiency to survive when Wendy, on a tiny budget, sews the whole family new outfits for the Queen’s Royal Visit in 1953.
The same stoic, determined and can-do attitude helps the Millers through financial hardships as they experience the successes and joys of raising three daughters and welcoming grandchildren into their ever-expanding family. Houses situated in geographically diverse areas of a small coastal town, Sydney suburbs, big country town and tiny, isolated rural hamlet tell the story of the family based on true events, giving both an insightful and authentic record of an Australian family in the thirty post-war years to 1977, particularly regarding the work by women.
Home Is Where the House Is is a sequel to Ripples of War by the same author.