Sneak-Peek Into ‘The River Sings’ by Sandra Leigh Price!

Sneak-Peek Into ‘The River Sings’ by Sandra Leigh Price!

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A small girl, the apple of her father’s eye.
A small wooden doll. Romany ways.
The power of an ancient river.
A house with its own tide.
The strength of a mother’s love.

87312Sandra Leigh Price’s The River Sings packs an emotional punch. Her second book with HarperCollins, there’s no escaping the emotion sewn into each and every word. The book is a meditation on love of family and language, across time, generations, and places, and each page will grip you by the heart and drag you in.

The River Sings starts in London, 1825, though it does not stay there in either place or time. Eglantine has grown up with her father, Amberline, and the only memory she has of her mother is that of the gentle whisper of a river, and her little wooden doll that she clings to. Her father refuses to speak of the past or her mother, instead teaching Eglantine “the shine” – thievery and pickpocketing. Still, secrets cannot stay hidden for long, and eventually everything changes for the little family.

Amberline is caught and transported to the penal colony of Australia, and Eglantine reluctantly fends for herself using the skills her father taught her from childhood. But as she spends her days thieving, she finds that the windows to the past are opened, and the river that runs under her house, through the city, and through her veins keeps singing…

The River Sings is a masterful work. The language is lyrical and beautiful, each image and metaphor carefully crafted as a sculptor would from marble. Particularly inspired are the descriptions of landscape, as many of the characters are Romany. As such, the land plays an important part in the novel, due to the nomadic connection the Romany people have to the world. The river, as well, is a constant image, moving its way effortlessly through the story, connecting past and present, and people across distances.

Sandra Leigh Price has said that the inspiration for The River Sings started with a simple image: that of a child buried with acorns in their palms, so that entwined trees would grow beside roads, never to be forgotten. Romany traditions and its people are incredibly influential in this novel, which makes perfect sense: the transportation from England is one large migration, often involuntary.Sandra Leigh Price credit Joern Harris

Additionally, Price has stated that her own convict ancestry inspired her to write this novel, examining family ties that bound her between the two countries. Her ancestor, William Price, built a house in Richmond, NSW, around 1827, and it still stands. Price says, “I was struck by a concertinaing of time.” And that compression of time and of history plays a significant role in The River Sings, especially when it comes to family history, and the enduring love of the mother.

The River Sings is a lyrical work of great mastery, from a beautiful storyteller who knows just what words to use and when. The stunning magic realism infuses each page with superstition and Eglantine’s own personal mythology, examining the crossing of cultures and place, while still maintaining a sense of family and love throughout every adversity. The River Sings will call to you long after you turn the final page, just as the river does to Eglantine.

Sandra Leigh Price lives in Sydney. She graduated from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a Double Major in English Literature and Drama, and co-established a small theatre company before moving to Sydney to pursue a career as an actor, then turning to writing. Wet Ink magazine published an early chapter of The Bird’s Child, her debut novel.

Purchase your own copy of The River Sings here

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    Synopsis

    'Look first. Reach second. Vanish third.'London, 1825: Eglantine has always had an eye for the shine. Born the same day as the young princess destined to be queen, Eglantine has an altogether different path ahead of her, strewn with the glittering waste of her father's ambitions. Her mysteriously prosperous father, Mr Amberline Stark, is a man of great expectations. He coaxes her to follow in his footsteps, making picking pockets a delightful parlour game which they play in their fine house by the Thames. Eglantine's life before her arrival at the house remains a mystery, her memories wrapped up in a small doll she keeps close to her, and with it the fragmentary recollections of her mother.It is only when Amberline is caught and transported as a thief to the penal colony of Australia, that Eglantine has to grow up and fend for herself using her only skill. Reluctantly, the thief's daughter becomes a thief, until a chance meeting gives her a window on a new way of being, and the opportunity to strike out into a new and untarnished world. But will the weight of her father's choices make her a prisoner in the house at the side of the Thames?Birth and death, love and sadness, love knots and cut ties, quicksilver and shine, old worlds and new beginnings, Sandra Leigh Price weaves another gritty and beguiling story that will enchant and delight readers.About the AuthorSandra Leigh Price lives in Sydney. She graduated from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a Double Major in English Literature and Drama, and co-established a small theatre company before moving to Sydney to pursue a career as an actor, then turning to writing. Wet Ink magazine published an early chapter ofThe Bird's Child, her debut novel.
    Sandra Leigh Price
    About the author

    Sandra Leigh Price

    Sandra Leigh Price lives in Sydney. She graduated from the Australian National University, Canberra, with a Double Major in English Literature and Drama, and co-established a small theatre company before moving to Sydney to pursue a career as an actor, then turning to writing. Wet Ink magazine published an early chapter of The Bird's Child, her debut novel.

    Books by Sandra Leigh Price

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