Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter

S. & S. Jun. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781982180492. $27.99. F
DEBUT Beautifully evocative prose describing landscape and people intertwine in this bittersweet story of love, family, and courage. 1886. Bannin Bay, western Australia. It is the end of the pearling season and Eliza Brightwell looks forward to having her father and brother back on shore. But when meeting their lugger, only her brother appears, sharing the horrifying news that their father has disappeared. Convinced that he is still alive, Eliza begins an exhaustive investigation that takes her from the back alleys of Bannin Bay to the outlying islands. Along the way, she will discover secrets that powerful individuals would rather keep hidden and some which may prove ruinous to her family. The small cast of characters, each wonderfully fleshed out, and Eliza’s quest are what propel the story. Alongside the characters, it is place that is the book’s focus: the ocean and the land complement and enhance Eliza’s investigation.
VERDICT Readers will delight in the descriptive language that the author employs, so much so that they themselves will hear the sea and feel the desiccation of the heat and loneliness of the land.
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