Behind the Barbed Wire Fence… What does this book’s title make you think of? What scenarios could you picture out? Would you feel protected or, instead, be warier? If I tell you that the story occurred at a time when another world war had been brewing, what would be your reaction? Well, a number of people would say that it’s all a matter of perspective. The fence could be a means to protect what’s within from what’s outside, but it could also be the other way around. How does that relate to our protagonist, though?

A day came when Lucy’s relationship with her partner had gone sour. She had been wandering around and pondering on such travails when she was knocked off and found herself in an unknown barb wired place with a man she didn’t know. Compared to the New South Wales beachside life and living she used to have, we could readily say that she came to her worst stead. But, did she really? If her unacceptable present had become so different from her dreamy past, how would she cope? Is there hope for her? What would happen to her in the hands of her captor?

This second Jennie Linnane novel in my list was relatively shorter than the first, with only 99 pages and 7 chapters at the time I got it (although the current product page shows it now has 190 pages). Yet it exuded the same subdued but still brilliant play of words and storytelling that I’ve recently come to know this Aussie author for. I also relished the sophisticated tone and rhythm that her well-crafted wordplay evoked.

I ceased being surprised to find more than a few new yet should-not-be-so-new words, like vacuity, bilious or offal, which were splashed here and there throughout the manuscript. “Insuperable” initially seemed gibberish to me. Yet it even cleverly and succinctly summed up in one word the extreme dimensions of uncertainty, angst, desperation, and tribulations that the theme was meant to convey. I went past the initial feelings of slight impatience from getting interrupted by the highfalutin terms. In fact, I felt curious and raring to enrich my little box from the author’s treasure trove of golden words. On a brighter side, I was even led to appreciate the modern conveniences that my electronic reader’s embedded dictionary feature has provided as a result.

On a quirkier note, I already started having a feeling that the author was too grammatically good to be true. Coming across one (and only) error on a certain page assuaged me that there could be a huge possibility that she really existed, though.

She wrote: “I would never be able adequately to qualify my respect, admiration, and love for that good nun.” I came to think the sentence should have read as “I would never be able to adequately qualify my respect…” and not the way it had been written. Then again, the sentence preceded another that described the nun as an adept English teacher, and the correlation couldn’t be a mere coincidence. Thus, I had to allow my initial doubts as to Linnane’s true existence to be restored.

More character-driven rather than plot-intensive, the flow may not appeal to some. It had been fine for me, as I’m now used to the real arduous nature of life itself. It was even a quick read. Beyond all the suppositions, notions, and realisations, I should still say that I’ve come across another sterling and pristine piece of literary work quite too soon.

Note: A version of this on other sites including Amazon’s via this link. This is the second in a new series of Aussie books’ reviews that our site has committed to post until December 2022.

Book Details

  • Title: Behind the Barbed Wire Fence
  • Author: Jennie Linnane
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publication Date: 2 October 2017
  • ISBN or ASIN: 978-1549865909
  • Number of Pages: 190
  • Minimum Audience Age: 18

Book Themes

(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)

  • Sexual themes: 1
  • Religious themes: 1
  • Violence, self-harm, etc.: 1
  • Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 1
  • Other adult themes: 1


  • Content: 5
  • Writing Style: 5
  • Appeal to Target Audience: 5
  • Uniqueness: 4
  • Editing: 5
  • Other factors: 5
  • Overall: 5 out of 5 stars

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By Esperanza Pretila

I am a certified HR professional, founder of award-winning micro businesses, lady cavalier, book reviewer, blogger, sports dummy, music fan, former phone photographer, beloved daughter, proud mum of 3 wonder boys, loyal wifey to an awesome hubby, life traveler, and believer.

One thought on “A Pseudo Book Review: “Behind the Barbed Wire Fence” by Jennie Linnane”
  1. The first image that comes to mind are WWII concentration camps and books such as “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.” And you’re right, I’ve read a couple of books by Jennie Linnane, and she excells in the use of language. I don’t know why you called this a “pseudo review” but I loved the more informal, conversational style. Thank you!