The Light Between the Oceans, by ML Stedman
Gripping, unusual, set mostly on a lighthouse off
, a bestselling first novel by an Australian lawyer now living in Western Australia . Tom, traumatised after WW1, takes a job as lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, 100 miles off the coast where he hopes that the emptiness will bring him peace. After many miscarriages his wife hears a baby's cry and discovers a dead man and a baby in a washed up dinghy by the lighthouse. She feels her prayers have been answered. Her husband is not so sure. The ensuing tragedy is inevitable. Well written, haunting. London
Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville
Another Australian historical novel, this time set in New South Wales. I discovered this was the third book in a series about early settlers in Australia. Fascinating stuff. An illiterate but intelligent rich girl Sarah is born in 1816, her father an ex-convict who’s made good in the new colony of Australia. Three hundred acres, a fine stone house, William Thornhill is a man who’s re-invented himself. He never looks back, and Sarah grows up learning not to ask about the past.
Her stepmother calls her wilful, but handsome Jack Langland loves Sarah and she loves him. What could go wrong? But there’s a secret in the Thornhill family. It comes out, as secrets will, and casts a long chill shadow over life in the Hawkesbury valley.
Click on Kate Grenville’s website for more details. She’s won the Commonwealth Writers Prize and has been shortlisted for the Booker.
Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd
Nice to read a book with a goodlooking grandmother as heroine. Most of the North London protagonists seemed to have had Issues with a capital I and, again, dark secrets. The writer has been a marriage guidance counsellor and has written several non-fiction books on health related subjects, parenting etc, so knows about these things. (Bargain on the Kindle.)
The Forgotten Waltz by Ann Enright.
Well written but, trouble is, the heroine, embroiled in an illicit affair, is not an appealing character, nor is her lover, so I lost patience with them all. The Irish setting is interesting though. Here’s a Guardian review.