Ist Wednesday book group read Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville

Sarah Thornhill is the youngest child of William Thornhill, convict-turned-landowner on the Hawkesbury River. She grows up in the fine house her father is so proud of, a strong-willed young woman who’s certain where her future lies. She’s known Jack Langland since she was a child, and always loved him. But the past is waiting in ambush with its dark legacy. There’s a secret in Sarah’s family, a piece of the past kept hidden from the world and from her. A secret Jack can’t live with… (NovelList Plus)

Members agreed that this book does give a voice to people whose experiences weren’t recorded and that passing stories can be hindered by ‘skeltons in the cupboard” including illegitimate children. Some readers felt that the portrayal of Sarah Thornhill was not convincing and that Sarah would not have thought and philosophised in the manner she did. Some members felt that Sarah was powerless in many ways for example when it came to helping her small niece, others thought that the characters where cliched and predictable. Some felt that the treatment of Aboriginal people in the book was central to many of the events, and that repercussions to many of the characters had an impact on  their thoughts and actions.