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A new novel from Kate Grenville and a journey back to the Thornhill family of the bestselling The Secret River
Kate Grenville is one of Australia's most celebrated authors. Her bestselling novels, which have won many awards and have been published around the world, include The Secret River, which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize; Lilian's Story; The Idea of Perfection, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction; and The Lieutenant. She is also the author of Searching for The Secret River, the story behind the bestselling novel. Kate Grenville's convict ancestor inspired The Secret River, and Sarah Thornhill also has its beginnings in her family history. Along with The Lieutenant, these three novels form a loose trilogy about colonial Australia. www.kategrenville.com
* Gripping and illuminating -- Diana Athill * A graceful, passionate story of love, loss and treacherous family histories Marie Claire * Her description of the harshly beautiful Australian landscape is unforgettable, more poetry than prose Guardian * Grenville has emerged not only as the truth-teller but also something of a hero ... her novels are important quests that go beyond art Irish Times * It will wrench your heart Guardian * Kate Grenville is one of Australia's finest writers ... her great skill as a writer is to take the barest of biographical details and spin them into something of intricate moral complexity Telegraph * Grenville inhabits characters with a rare completeness ... She writes with a poet's sense of rhythm and imagery Guardian * I will thrilled to find myslf back beside the river I'd come to know so well in The Secret River. The power with which Kate Grenville evokes places and people is so remarkable that I could remember the smell of the air there - and it was no surprise to discover that Sarah Thornhill's story is gripping and illuminating as her father's was -- Diana Athill * Both brilliant fiction and illuminating personal history Independent * This is a novel that stands by itself and that will be treasured, I'm sure, by generations to come. It is that rare book that manages to wholly engage both head and heart, and it's a long time since I've been quite so sorry to say goodbye to a character at the end of a book as I was saying goodbye to Sarah Weekend Australian * Sarah Thornhill is the book of a writer of the first rank and there are plenty of things in it that are powerfully realised and that touch the heart... she is a gift of a writer... a haunting performance Age * If you read just one Australian novel this year, make it this one. Sarah Thornhill is a powerful story simply told Melbourne Weekly
The final novel in Grenville's trilogy about the British colonization of New South Wales continues her exploration of the savagery with which emancipated convict settlers ousted the indigenous peoples. The novel, which can be read as a stand-alone, is told from the point-of-view of Sarah, the youngest child of William Thornhill, the conflicted protagonist in The Secret River. From early childhood, Sarah senses her father's troubles, and eventually discovers their terrible source. Her disillusionment will highlight the novel's central question: is it possible to both thrive as an individual and sufficiently atone for the sins of one's ancestors? Sarah's affair with her brother's closest friend, whose mother was an Aborigine, is squashed by Sarah's wicked stepmother, more cliche than character. Sarah then marries an English Protestant from Ireland, whose background Grenville exploits nicely: usurpers can be found on any continent. Lyrical passages light up the narrative, and Grenville's profound themes make it tempting to ignore the novel's flaws. Sarah lacks the complexity and credibility of protagonists in the earlier novels, and Grenville postpones the reveal of the family's secrets for too long, perplexingly, as they were already revealed in The Secret River. Agent: Canongate Books, Scotland. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Sarah Thornhill, the youngest daughter of a wealthy yet provincial British ex-convict, grows up in 19th-century Australia learning not to ask questions about her family's past. When Sarah falls in love with a local man whose mother was Aboriginal, her chance at happiness is shattered by the racial and class prejudice churning within her family and Australia's burgeoning white society. Although Sarah eventually finds a new path for her life, she continues to feel haunted by her youthful love affair, somehow knowing that understanding it will provide a key to her past. When she finally uncovers the truth about her country's tragic history and her father's brutal past, she is determined to make amends with those affected by his actions. VERDICT Grenville concludes the Thornhill family saga and her exploration of Australian history begun in The Secret River, winner of the Commonwealth Prize and shortlisted for the Man Booker, and continued in The Lieutenant. This is a more subdued but equally exceptional historical novel, with multilayered characters and a beautifully styled plot. Fans of literary fiction will clamor for this final volume. [See Prepub Alert, 12/5/11.]-Kelsy Peterson, Prairie Village, KS (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.