Having read Colleen McCullough's historical romance, THE THORN BIRDS, years back, and having been a fan of the TV series, I decided to reread the 692 page novel to see why I had enjoyed it then. I was reintroduced to the great Australian countryside, to the intensity of sheep farming, to the isolation and hardship of back country living. The description of Australia's vegetation and animal life was vivid and educational. The historical aspect dealing with the Aussie participation in the wars was also well detailed.
What I found lacking,though, was my bonding to the characters. The plot was certainly well crafted with family secrets, betrayals, long-distance romances and timely deaths and births, but I had a hard time getting under the characters' skin. They all mellow after a while and become more likeable, but now I know why I didn't remember what I had liked about it--the characters aren't immortalized for me. A great achievement, without a doubt, and certainly an Australian classic.