Wishes For Starlight, which draws on the memories of her father and grandfather, has Starlight as its central character. He is a deaf mute Aboriginal boy, who was born in the 1890s in thriving timber town Canning Mills.
�Starlight was discovered living in a chook pen and fighting dogs for scraps by three remarkable children,� Bettenay said.
�Their actions result in the Aboriginal boy being adopted by the community and over the next 30 years their friendship and loyalty enabled Starlight to survive in this time of prejudice and disadvantage.
�Wishes For Starlight is steeped in our pioneering history: when the orchards, the dams and the timber mills were being established, when typhoid epidemics threatened daily survival and fears of forest fires, destitution and starvation were very real. A time when the Zig Zag railway was built, the horse and cart reigned and barn dances provided entertainment.�
Bettenay spoke in the Wundowie Library to an audience that included avid book readers, the Silver Wings Seniors� Club and the Wundowie social art group.
They also heard about her first book, Secrets Mothers Keep, about a true story that occurred in Wubin and Dalwallinu.
Her husband Mike had discovered his grandfather had been murdered and grandmother, mother and two aunts savagely assaulted, unearthing a family secret kept for more than 80 years.