Love Song is the third novel by Australian author, Nikki Gemmell. It is narrated by Lillie Bird, a young woman who has lived in a cloistered community all her life. For the final eight years she has been kept in virtual isolation by her parents due to an incident when she was just thirteen. All she knows of the outside world is what she reads in books and magazines, and hears on her short-wave radio, brought by a visiting librarian. When she reaches adulthood, she is impatient to gain her freedom, find love and truly start her life: her parents send her to stay with her grandfather in England. The narration takes the form of an expectant mother writing down her story for her unborn child (thus creating intrigue: who is the father? Where is he now?). It switches continually between first and third person and lacks quotation marks for dialogue, both of which can be irritating and confusing, so Gemmell is making the reader work for the pleasure of reading the gorgeous, often sensuous prose. “Like an orphan I could veer from loving too much to not loving at all: opening out like an anemone that’s softened in the tide’s silky swirl and then jamming up tight if anything prodded, got too close” and “The day’s finding its feet, behind a first scrim of cloud there’s a higher heaven and I smile at the optimism in the sky and it dawns on me then, as the train slows through the city that’s never clean, that this freedom should be seized and not worried at” are two examples. Gemmell gives the reader characters with depth and appeal (or occasionally repellence) and her plot has a few twists to keep it interesting. The story is quite slow-moving at first, but perhaps this is meant to give the reader a taste of the impatience that Lillie feels. Exile, self-sacrifice, freedom, love, heartbreak, independence, confession, grief and a fundamentalist religious community are all part of this beautifully written love story.