The Thorn Birds

The Thorn Birds

Book - 2010
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"Beautiful....Compelling entertainment."

--New York Times

One of the most beloved novels of all time, The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough's sweeping family saga of dreams, titanic struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian Outback, returns to enthrall a new generation.

The Thorn Birds is a chronicle of three generations of Clearys--an indomitable clan of ranchers carving lives from a beautiful, hard land while contending with the bitterness, frailty, and secrets that penetrate their family. It is a poignant love story, a powerful epic of struggle and sacrifice, a celebration of individuality and spirit. Most of all, it is the story of the Clearys' only daughter, Meggie, and the haunted priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart--and the intense joining of two hearts and souls over a lifetime, a relationship that dangerously oversteps sacred boundaries of ethics and dogma.

"A heart-rending epic...truly marvelous."

--Chicago Tribune

Publisher: New York: Avon, 2010
ISBN: 9780061990472
Branch Call Number: MCC
Characteristics: 673 p.


From the critics

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Jan 29, 2020

Loved it when I read it decades ago, after living in Australia for 2 years in my 20s, and after seeing the movie. Its still spell binding. The copy i read now how3ver was substandard, many paragraphs and sometimes whole pages were repeated verbatim, out of sequence. Suspect a better edited book would be worth the money.

Jul 20, 2017

I loved this book!! Fantastic read, the descriptions of Australia are beautiful, definitely made my top ten favorite reads!

Jul 12, 2017

I loved this book, especially the setting, a great story and a true classic.

ArapahoeKati Apr 14, 2017

I loved this book when I was in my early 20s (and watching the miniseries definitely added to that). It's not necessarily the best book you're ever going to read, but you'll be hooked by the land and the characters. Drama, lust, pride, passion... "The Thorn Birds" is a modern classic.

Jul 18, 2016

In this timeless saga of family secrets and lost love in rural Australia, young Meggie's family is summoned by her aunt to take over the running of a prosperous sheep farm in the Australian outback. It seems like a sweet deal, but no one is prepared for the effects of drought, the church, family secrets, war, wealth and forbidden love.

My first read-through was probably in my mid-teens (a copy stealthily "borrowed" from my mother's nightstand), when I was absolutely entranced and couldn't get enough. While I would now rate it four rather than five stars and didn't find the romantic relationships quite as compelling (one in particular actually now seems borderline creepy), I still love The Thorn Birds for its sheer depth of story. Never tempt fate.

May 22, 2016

I read this as an adolescent girl and so was thoroughly impressed with the romance and the emotional tides. I believe that at this stage of my life (65-ish) I would be less enamored of these people but McCullough truly has a deft touch with characterizations and her storyline. It's well written and if you enjoy romance, this is a wonderful book. I certainly enjoyed it and read it 4 times in my early years.

Apr 27, 2016

I like how it goes from generation to generation, while still focusing on the main characters. All of the characters are so real. If you are looking for a happy book, this probably doesn't make the cut. I felt a bit dissatisfied at the end, although I predicted it from the start. All together, I liked it for more than the romance. The romance between the two main characters did not really interest me, although I did like the other characters (Justine, Fee). I like the historical aspects, of Australia (and New Zealand), and how the author describes all the different landscapes. I also like the different views of the Catholic Church (I am not Catholic, but it was very interesting).

Jul 26, 2015

As a teen, I loved this book. I doubt if I'd have the same level of enjoyment at this stage of life (mid-60's) but I have fond memories of it. It drew me in and I felt a part of Meggie's emotional storms. Perfect for a teen, doncha think? If you love romances and potboilers, this is for you.

Apr 07, 2015

I really loved this book. Maybe because i enjoyed the mini series a very long time ago and the characters were very familiar to me already. There was a lot of information about Australia that i found interesting. Loved how each section of the book took on the POV of a different character. I could sympathize with them all, no matter how awful their behavior to one another. Loved how Meg grew up and came to life in the book. Her mother was a huge mystery until her turn to tell her story.
This was an epic story about an interesting family with a lot of problems to deal with during a very extended amount of time. Loved it and glad I finally read the novel.

ehbooklover Feb 27, 2015

When I heard about the death of Colleen McCullough I decided to read this book due to its popularity. Unfortunately, I was ultimately disappointed. The setting was wonderfully described but I did not like the main characters and found the romance a wee bit creepy.

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Apr 27, 2016

julia_sedai thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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FavouriteFiction Oct 14, 2009

The large Cleary family leaves their home in New Zealand to live and work on an Australian sheep ranch. Single-minded daughter Meggie Cleary grows up and falls in love with the local priest Father Ralph.


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Apr 27, 2016

Sexual Content: Not overly described and not too steamy but it's there.


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