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By Peter Douglas

The picturesque landscapes of the Dandenong Ranges feature heavily in the debut novel of Olinda author Roger Mendelson.
After two successful non-fiction books, the long-time hills resident and successful businessman has ventured into the realm of fiction, releasing ‘Eliyahu’s Mistress’.
So what makes a successful businessman write an engrossing love story?
Mendelson told the ‘Mail’ he felt like a novel was always within him.
Also, that, after writing countless legal documents, in addition to two non-fiction books, the journey into fiction had been liberating.
“I’ve always enjoyed the process of writing,” he said.
“Some people paint, some sing, some are good at golf … I don’t have any of those skills – I like to write,” he said.
“At first, I didn’t write with the intention of anyone reading it – I really wrote what was within me.
“I’m not going to please everyone … but I’m really happy with how it’s turned out.”
Mr Mendelson said his love of the hills and its communities not only shone through in the book, but was essential to the story.
“I always wanted it to be based around the hills – but without the hills setting, it wouldn’t have worked,” he said.
“It’s very much a hills’ story for the hills’ people, who will be able to relate to this story.”
‘Eliyahu’s Mistress’ centres around two characters, Steven and Frances.
Frances, a divorced Catholic, and Steven – a younger, married and urbane Jewish collaborator – develop a bond, as they learn more about each other through religion, history and the relationships that have defined them.
Frances begins a journey of self-discovery, sexual awakening and, in the process, Steven learns from her about the beauty of a life measured by the seasons and the closeness to nature.
Their story leads to a dramatic and redemptive finish.
The book is available from www.mendelsonbooks.com.au and good books stores.

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