In the final book of a trilogy that began with her bestselling novel, The Secret River, Commonwealth Prize–winner Kate Grenville returns to the youngest daughter of the Thornhills and her quest to uncover, at her peril, the family’s hidden legacy.
Sarah is the youngest child of William Thornhill, the pioneer at the center of The Secret River. Unknown to her, her father—an uneducated ex-convict from London—has built his fortune on the blood of Aboriginal people. With a fine stone house and plenty of money, Thornhill has re-invented himself. As he tells his daughter, he “never looks back,” and Sarah grows up learning not to ask about the past. Instead her eyes are on handsome Jack Langland, whom she’s loved since she was a child. Their romance seems destined, but the ugly secret in Sarah’s family is poised to ambush them both.
As she did with The Secret River, Grenville once again digs into her own family history to tell a story about the past that still resonates today. Driven by the captivating voice of the illiterate Sarah—at once headstrong, sympathetic, curious, and refreshingly honest—this is an unforgettable portrait of a passionate woman caught up in a historical moment of astonishing turmoil.
About Kate Grenville
Kate Grenville’s works of fiction include The Secret River, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book and short listed for the Man Booker Prize, and The Idea of Perfection, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in Sydney.
Sarah Thornhill is the youngest daughter of William Thornhill, a man “sent out” from England in 1806 to New South Wales. Years later, with Sarah on the cusp of womanhood, Thornhill has become a prosperous river freighter, landowner and landlord of Thornhill’s Point along the Hawkesbury River. Sarah’s voice illuminates the tale, a voice true to a woman left illiterate in a time when land and sheep were treasured more than learning from a book. While the story is fictional, the book instructs on Australia’s early history: the land; the wealth to be made from sheep, seals and whales; the conflict between those who had “worn the broad arrow,” arriving as convicts, and those who came from proper society; and the oppressive and often bloody relationship between white settlers and the aboriginal people, termed “blacks.” The latter element provides the fundamental conflict within the novel, with Sarah falling in love with Jack Langland, a neighbor’s half-aboriginal son and sailing partner of Sarah’s older brother. Because of an ugly family secret, revealed only to Jack by Sarah’s abusive stepmother, marriage between the two is impossible. Instead Sarah marries John Daunt, a wealthy Irishman, who owns a sheep farm out near the Limit of Location. When Sarah is sent word that her father is dying, she travels to Thornhill’s Point and learns the secret that kept Jack from marrying her. “Once you knew, there was no way to not know.” Jack soon returns from New Zealand, where he’s married a Maori woman, and asks Sarah to fulfill an obligation that might lead to a measure of reconciliation. – Kirkus Reviews
Outback Outcasts - ‘Sarah Thornhill,’ by Kate Grenville
The New York Times Book Review – September 7, 2012 (Excerpt)
Kate Grenville’s latest novel, “Sarah Thornhill,” provides a wrenching conclusion to a tough-hearted trilogy about the colonizing of Australia. In her previous excursions into this rough, unforgiving land, shiploads of transported convicts, indentured servants and down-on-their-luck gentry were seen carving out English-style estates and tangling with aboriginals who somehow — to the newcomers’ astonishment — couldn’t accept the fact that they’d been conquered. By the time the heroine of this new book is born, in 1816, the country’s future is almost settled.
At first, the novel appears to be a classic romance, vivaciously narrated in Sarah Thornhill’s locally inflected voice. Growing up illiterate in an isolated community, she falls in love with her older brother’s friend, handsome Jack Langland. He’s a sailor who visits her family when he’s not at sea and brings her presents from the time she’s little enough to squeal over a pretty pebble until she’s old (and daring) enough to press her adolescent hip against his on the parlor sofa. She dares even more when she visits his bedroom, delightedly discovering that sex is “the most natural and lovely thing,” making her feel as if “I’d been only half awake all my life, only half alive.” Visiting a cave where she once played house, she and Jack make plans for a home of their own. [Read the full article...]
QUEEN OF MISFORTUNE A Lady Jane Grey Novel by Peter Carroll
A Love Story of Shakespearean Dimension!
Queen Of Misfortune is the fictional story of Lady Jane Grey as told by her beloved tutor, John Aylmer. At the time of her execution a stranger is recorded to have assisted her when, blind folded, she lost her way upon the scaffold. Was it the same strange who was also recorded to have visited her when she was imprisoned in the Tower? Little is known of this unfortunate girl who was beheaded for treason in the 16th Century. She was only 16. She is omitted from the list of monarchs but was actually queen for nine days. Author Peter Carroll, in his novel, follows John Aylmer’s close relationship with Jane as her tutor and later, as she grows up, her lover. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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