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Sarah Thornhill

by Kate Grenville

From the beginning Jack and I was friends. Somehow our way of looking at things fitted together. He never called me Dolly, the way the others did, only my full and proper name.

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. A secret that changes everything, for both of them.

Kate Grenville takes us back to the early Australia of The Secret River and the Thornhill family. This is Sarah’s story. It’s a story of tangled secrets, a story of loss and unlooked-for happiness, and a story about the silent spaces of the past.

This powerful novel will enthrall readers of Kate Grenville’s bestselling The Secret River, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize.

‘This is a beautiful book, one that pulses with insight and compassion, even while addressing some of the most shameful episodes of our past… There has been some discussion of late, within both review pages and the blogosphere, about the dearth of well-written, literary love stories. Readers who are looking for such a book will embrace Sarah Thornhill. Not only is it gorgeously written, but the love story at its heart is as real and true as it is unexpected. While Sarah Thornhill is billed as a sequel, anyone who hasn’t already read The Secret River should not be put off. 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. Grenville has done a splendid job here, and anyone who loved The Secret River will not be disappointed by Sarah Thornhill.’ Canberra Times

‘A beguiling love story…The voice of illiterate Sarah, in which the whole story is told, is Grenville’s great triumph…The book is a moving double love story – of a wild, romantic love and a slower, more mature, developing variety – an imaginatively convincing recreation of history and a celebration of country tenderly and beautifully observed, but above all it is a powerful plea for due acknowledgement and remembrance of the veils of the past…We may not be able to change the actions of the past that gave us this country, Grenville says through charismatic Sarah Thornhill, but if we are not at least mindful of them we are no better than fools or accomplices.’ Adelaide Advertiser 

‘One of Grenville’s many triumphs is managing to make Sarah’s first-person narrative so convincing and compelling…Sarah Thornhill is simply yet luminously written…The plot is superbly crafted – you really won’t want to put the book down, but at the same time, you’ll be afraid of what’s coming next.’ Sunday Star Times



Book Club Notes
29 August, 2011

About Kate Grenville

Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s finest writers. Her bestselling novel The Secret River has been published in more than twenty countries. It has received numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The companion memoir, Searching for the Secret River, was released in 2006. The Idea of Perfection won Britain’s prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, and her other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Lilian’s Story, Dark Places and Joan Makes History. As well as her novels and a collection of short stories, Grenville has published three books about the writing process, one co-written with novelist Sue Woolfe. The Writing BookWriting From Start to Finish and Making Stories have become classics both for writing classes and individuals. Grenville has also written a memoir, Searching for The Secret River, an account of the research and writing of the novel for which she’s best-known. The LieutenantThe Secret River, and her most recent novel, Sarah Thornhill together make up The Colonial Trilogy, novels which explore Australia’s often troubled past. Grenville was born in Sydney and has lived in the UK, France and the USA. She has been awarded many honours, including an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of NSW. For many years she taught Creative Writing in universities, but she now writes full-time. In her leisure hours she enjoys attempting to play the cello in an amateur orchestra and a string quartet. She lives in Sydney with her family.


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