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BOOK REVIEW: The Secrets at Ocean's Edge by Kali Napier

Wednesday, April 04, 2018


The Blurb (From Goodreads):

1932. Ernie and Lily Hass, and their daughter, Girlie, have lost almost everything in the Depression; all they have keeping their small family together are their secrets. Abandoning their failing wheat farm and small-town gossip, they make a new start on the west coast of Australia where they begin to build a summer guesthouse. But forming new alliances with the locals isn't easy.

Into the Hasses' new life wanders Lily's shell-shocked brother, Tommy, after three harrowing years on the road following his incarceration. Tommy is seeking answers that will cut to the heart of who Ernie, Lily, and Girlie really are.

Inspired by the author's own family history, The Secrets at Ocean's Edge is a haunting, memorable and moving tale of one family's search for belonging. Kali Napier breathes a fever-pitch intensity into the story of these emotionally fragile characters as their secrets are revealed with tragic consequences. If you loved The Light Between Oceans and The Woolgrower's Companion you will love this story.

My Thoughts:

Set during the Great Depression, The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge tells the story of Lily Hass and her daughter Girlie who have just moved to the small West Australian town of Dongarra, where Lily’s husband Ernie hopes to kick-start a new business running a guest house. Both Lily and Girlie struggle to make new friends and adapt to their new home. Secrets from the past shadow their lives, and things are complicated by the arrival of Lily’s brother, Tommy, who struggles to deal with shellshock from his experiences in the war. The narrative moves between these four points-of-view, allowing the reader a deeper knowledge of true events than any one of the characters. Themes addressed by the story include the casual racism of Australia in the 1930s, the horror of war, and the difficulties of holding a family together in tough times. Girlie was my favourite character – shy, unsure of herself, yet filled with compassion for others and a true desire to help. Simply and beautifully told, this is a poignant and memorable novel.

You can read my review of The Light Between Oceans here.

And please see my interview with the lovely Kali Napier here.

Please leave me a comment, I love to hear your thoughts.

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