Your Preview Verdict: Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny

Your Preview Verdict: Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny

An irresistible story of family, secrets and love.

Will their mother’s scandalous past decide their futures?

Beautiful, irrepressible Esther Hamilton had a reputation in the small Queensland town of Noah Vale. That was until she ran away, twenty years ago, under a cloud of shame. It’s now 1955 and following their mother’s death, the Hamilton sisters – Sonnet, Fable and little Novella Plum – have returned to Noah Vale to live near their aunt and uncle. Sonnet, twenty years old and legal guardian to her siblings, has never stepped foot in Noah Vale, yet has been the talk of the town for decades. Fable, at twelve-years-old, is a talented artist and lovelier than even her heartbreaking mother had been. And three-year-old Plum is just a little girl who’s lost her mother and been taken away from the only home she’s ever known.As the years pass, the three sisters settle into their new life, working in the town, going to school and swimming in the perfect waterfalls nearby. But suspicion and judgment continue to follow the Hamilton sisters wherever they go. In a small town where everyone thinks they know everything about each other, it’s hard to escape the past. And when Fable falls in love with Noah Vale’s golden boy, is history destined to repeat itself?

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

Those Hamilton Sisters is a wonderful family saga set during the 1950s. I enjoyed the small-town setting of North Queensland having grown up surrounded by canefields myself. Averil Kenny’s debut novel follows the lives of three motherless sisters and the ups and downs they experience. Highly recommended! Sharah, QLD, 5 Stars

Absolutely gorgeous! This novel captivated me from the first page and had me cheering for each sister as they navigated through grief, love, family and discovery. Reminiscent of The Dressmaker capturing a moment in rural Australia’s history, this novel will warm your heart. Dianne, SA, 5 Stars

I just adored this book! The era, the location, the characters, the entire story! Even the symbolism woven throughout. I was so disappointed when I turned the last page quite simply because I wanted to keep reading more about these people and this place. It’s the kind of book that leaves you with an ache and the very real question of, what the hell am I supposed to read now? Totally recommendable, completely enjoyable, cannot wait for more from this author. Belinda, VIC, 5 Stars

My fridge is bare, my house is a mess and I’m behind in my work. And it’s all this book’s fault! The more engrossed I became in this story, the harder it was to put down. This debut novel by Averil Kenny is a historical family saga, set in 1950s Australia, that will grip you from the first chapter. After their mother’s death, the three Hamilton sisters return to the small town their mother fled from under a cloud of shame. They are met with contempt and disdain from a community that has not forgotten or forgiven their mother for her scandalous past. With the unwavering love and support of their aunt and uncle, the sisters are determined to build a new life for themselves and a new reputation for the Hamilton family name. As townsfolk conspire against them, secrets revealed and an undeniable connection to their mother’s birthplace strengthens their resolve to set down permanent roots. But will forbidden love see history repeat itself? And will this secretive town finally give up the missing pieces from their mother’s past? The plot is masterful, the characters so real and alive on the page. Each sister is a joy to get to know and among the cast of awful characters – and there are many – are a few gems, thankfully, who are on the side of the Hamilton girls. I can easily see this book being adapted to a mini TV series. Scandal, drama, unrequited love, secrets, grief, mystery, romance and power – it’s all here! Five stars from me. I loved it. Eynas, SA, 5 Stars

This was yet another book I didn’t want to end, I literally couldn’t put it down. Those Hamilton Sisters was vividly told and mesmerising, as I found myself transported to the heat and tropical environment of a small town called Noah Vale near Cairns. The plot encompassed drama, secrets, lust, scandal and a touch of the whimsical. Those Hamilton Sisters is a historical family saga set in the 1950s in far North tropical Queensland. It’s now the year 1955 and the three Hamilton sisters, Sonnet, aged 20, Fable, 12 and little Novella Plum, 3, have returned to Noah Vale to forge a new life after the death of their mother Esther in their inherited abandoned cottage. Sonnet finds herself in the position of guardian to her sisters, while their Aunt Olive and Uncle Gav live close by. The unforgiving townsfolk will not allow the sisters to forget their mother’s scandalous past, memories in a small town go back a long way! Their mother fled Noah Vale when she was aged twenty in utter shame. The sisters are met with disdain and harshly judged by the town community for their mother’s sins. Fable is subjected to small-town gossip and cruelty as she newly attends secondary school in Noah Vale but she finds solace in the beauty of the rainforest, daydreaming and with her sketching. Sonnet and Fable are independent women and wonderful characters, they are the high spirited female leads in this story and rise in the face of adversity. I found this book a remarkable achievement as this is author Averil Kenny’s debut novel. Averil, you should be proud, the writing is positively enchanting and the story a page-turner. A new Aussie author to look out for! Gloria, SA, 5 Stars

Sisters joined but apart. Family separated by secrets but held together by dreams. Those Hamilton Sisters makes you consider what mistakes can be forgiven, which can be hidden and those that can never be erased. Readers will be drawn into the landscape, intrigued by a small town but rewarded by strong characters who decide their fate and do not have their fate determined by others. Tracey, NSW, 5 Stars

Readers are going to love this book. The three sisters have had a hard life when they inherit a run-down house in the town where their mother grew up. The gossip starts as soon as they arrive, cruel small-minded people try and make life unpleasant and difficult for the girls. My favourite sister was Sonnet, she is the eldest who is like a mother to Fable and Plum, a truly remarkable book. Deborah, NSW, 5 Stars

I have just finished reading this amazing book. I was taken back to my younger years of small village living with the love of siblings and family and the outside chatter of busybodies!! Strength and love bring this book to life. Secrets and gossip make it juicy! Karen, WA, 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It was a little slow to start but developed into a slow burn. Focusing mainly on elder sisters Sonnet and Fable and the family’s return to northern Queensland in the 1950s and 1960s even though their mother had left the area under a cloud twenty years earlier. Weaving a magical spell or two the book achieved a very satisfying conclusion. I have lived in this area for a couple of years so could really relate to the setting but the description was excellent and paints a picture for those who have never seen Australia. Do yourself a favour and spend some time with Those Hamilton Sisters. Karan, VIC, 5 Stars

What a wonderful story. This is a beautifully written story capturing the essence of a small country town in Australia in the 1950s and the characters that live in them. The Hamilton Sisters arrive in town unaware of their Mother’s past secrets and the judgemental and biased attitudes of the local townsfolk. Along the way, the reader is treated to a tale of resilience, love and compassion as each sister grows and overcomes their lives challenges. This book is a delight to read, each page was devoured and enjoyed. What a brilliant first novel from a very talented author. Christine, QLD, 5 Stars

I’ve found yet another new favourite author! What a thoroughly amazing read that was. I stayed up very late a few nights in a row as I couldn’t bear to put this book down; I just had to see what was going to happen next. Sonnet and Fable especially have become like dear friends and I will miss them. I live in Queensland and have holidayed in the Far North where the story is set so I was already familiar with the setting. Even if I hadn’t been there before the wonderful descriptions in the book brought it alive for me. I’m looking forward to seeing what Averil comes out with next. Maree, QLD, 5 Stars

Those Hamilton Sisters offers readers a true insight into life in a small town – even though it is set several years ago, some things never change! The three sisters are likeable and I found myself really caring about what their future holds. Abby, WA, 5 Stars

Those Hamilton Sisters is a heartwarming story about family bonds, heartache, strength and persistence. This is a beautifully written story about three sisters who return to their mother’s home town to be closer to their aunt and uncle following her death. Now that they have returned, they have to face the secrets of their mother’s past. It follows their lives closely as they grow older and try to build a life of their own away from their mother’s shadowy past. I loved every minute as the girls’ characters grew and their own strong personalities really shone through. It was a beautiful read. It had me hooked right till the end. A lovely everyday read! Amanda, VIC, 5 Stars

Those Hamilton Sisters is a nice book to read with elements of romance and love that will touch your heart. It is an easy and enjoyable read for all ages to enjoy! Rhonda, QLD, 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book and think it will stay with me for a long time. I liked the coming of age, family theme with a bit of mystery thrown in. I loved the main characters, the three sisters. They were all so different and I really felt for them and wanted them to succeed. The way the country landscapes were described was amazing, I just wanted to be there. On quite a few occasions there was a big word that I wasn’t quite sure of the meaning of but in most cases, I could pretty much figure it out based on the context of the rest of the sentence. That was my only negative point though. On the whole, I emotionally connected to this book and think it is one I will read over. Nicola, WA, 5 Stars

The book starts with the Hamilton sisters, Sonnet, Fable and Novella Plum, returning to Noah Vale after the death of their mother, Esther. Esther had left town 20 years earlier amid scandal. This is small-town Far North Queensland in 1955, that scandal hasn’t been forgotten nor forgiven. The sisters face a community that isn’t overly welcoming. They come to live in a cottage on the property of their Aunt Olive and Uncle Gav. Over the next ten years, we follow the formidable Hamilton sisters as they face the formidable Queensland weather, the snakes and giant birds, not to mention the nasty townsfolk. Sonnet is fiercely independent and protective of her younger sisters, as she navigates raising her younger sisters and finding her own interests. Fable, artistic and wanting to fit in. Plum, as she grows into her teenage years. A beautiful novel about the relationships between the sisters, their loves and finding their place in the world. I found myself smiling, crying and cheering for each of these wonderfully written characters. Deborah, VIC, 5 Stars

Those Hamilton Sisters may be Averil Kenny’s first novel but she now has a lifelong fan in me. This was one of the most beautiful, enthralling and well written historical fictions I have read and it filled me with pure joy. A heart-warming and heart-breaking story following the lives of the recently orphaned Hamilton sisters, 20yr old Sonnet, 12yr old Fable and 3yr old Novella lovingly called Plum. Born out of wedlock to a mother that was run out of town, after her death, the Hamilton sisters return to the tiny town of Noah Vale in the lush Queensland tropics to start a new life for themselves. The sisters know little of the scandal that surrounded their mother but are greeted and followed by gossip and small-town prejudice, however they are determined to build a new reputation for the Hamilton family. The story follows the sisters over the next ten years and is an undeniably beautiful coming of age tale. We watch as the sisters evolve into individual young women with their own emotions, problems and tales of love, lust and loss but throughout all, they all have an unfaltering emotional connection with their mother’s birthplace and her presence in the town. Eloquent description and vivid imagery bring the far north Queensland scenery to life and the humid heat and heavy downpours described present a visceral feeling to all those who have experienced life in the tropics. Kenny’s writing is beyond amazing, transporting the reader into the scenery and into the lives of the Hamilton Sisters. This novel also provides an exploration into society’s treatment of women in mid-century Australia, fitting as we are currently in societal turmoil surrounding the treatment of women particularly in the workplace and government currently. Kenny exposes the difference in treatment towards male and female sexuality and provides strong supportive male characters to highlight the injustice suffered by the female characters by men who see themselves as victims of scandalous women looking to trap them and ruin their lives. I was honestly enchanted by this book, the setting, the characters, the heartfelt tales, just everything. Avril Kenny is an amazing new voice in Australian historical fiction and Those Hamilton Sisters is due to be released in time for Mothers Day (AU) this May. I would highly recommend it to lovers of Australian fiction, historical fiction or dramas and yes, I definitely would recommend buying this book for your mum/grandma/sister but only if they’ll let you read it first! Cathie, VIC, 5 Stars

Absolutely loved this book – such a joy to read, I wanted the experience to last forever. Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny has it all; love, loss, lust, a beautiful setting, amazing lovable characters and a wonderful story. Do not miss this one, you will love it. An author to look out for. Thank you Better Reading for the opportunity to read this feel-good entertaining book. I would give this more than 5 stars if that was possible. Debbie, VIC, 5 Stars

What a great story, loved the whole family especially Olive and Gav. They had so much heartbreak of their own but opened their hearts to these three girls. Congratulations to the author. Annette, VIC, 5 Stars

What a visually beautiful book, for Averil Kenny’s first novel she has the ability to capture the reader by setting amazing scenes ensuring you fall in love with the magic of the area and the people within it. This novel follows three sisters who have returned to their now-deceased mother’s birthplace to make a new life for themselves, this takes place from 1955–1965 in a small Far North Queensland town, which has its share of ups and downs. I became quite attached to the story and characters within this story and at the end was left wanting more. Based on this novel I would definitely be interested in reading more from Kenny. Thank you Better Reading for sharing this special Australian novel with me. Crystal, TAS, 5 Stars

Esther Hamilton was forced to leave Noah Vale, a small country town in tropical North Queensland, following a scandalous liaison over 20 years ago. The town continues to be a small-minded closed community with long memories and little forgiveness. The daughters of single mother Esther Hamilton – Sonnet, Fable, Novella Plum – steam into Noah Vale after their mother’s death to live in the cottage left to them through their grandfather. Sonnet, 20 years old and now guardian to her sisters, must forge a new life for herself and her sisters in a town that doesn’t forget or forgive their mother’s indiscretions. Will the Hamilton sisters be able to survive the country town gossip and live their best life? Family secrets, loyalty, love and above all courage and strength stand out in this wonderfully written and beautifully told story about sisterhood. Karyn, ACT, 5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book, Averil Kenny has done very well with her first novel. Those Hamilton Sisters is a story of family, love, loss, gossip and the damage it can cause, especially in a small country town. Easy to relate to and become involved with the characters. Secrets of the three sisters now deceased mother gradually emerge and how her history is now influencing their lives. A captivating story of love, loss and family. The story follows the lives of the three sisters and how they eventually each find their own place in the world. Look forward to the authors next novel. Judy, WA, 5 Stars

Thank you for Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny. This is the story of Esther Hamilton and her three daughters. Esther left Noah Vale with a bad reputation and a vow to never go back. Many years later her daughters end up back at Noah Vale with no idea of the past. There is Sonnet, only twenty herself but looking after her two sisters Fable who is flighty and dreamy and younger Plum. I loved the imagery which made the area come alive for me. I really felt for all the sisters and their situation. Sonnet had a lot on her shoulders and handled it well in trying times. Fable sounds most like her mum and had to tackle life on her terms. Plum was a bit younger and loved the security of her aunt and uncle who handled the family well and juggling that with the views of townspeople. This was a wonderfully descriptive story about times past in a country town in Australia and how it could shape so many lives while giving hope that futures could be different and better. Well worth a read. Tara, SA, 4 Stars

I enjoyed this beautiful novel by Averil Kenny from the moment I started. As a book lover, I was enchanted by the three sisters and their names, Sonnet, Fable and Novella Plum, and the staunch way they returned to the country Queensland town that their beloved mother had been run out of many years before. The three girls, plus the other main characters in the novel, all had a way of enchanting the reader to them, through Kenny’s rich prose and the heartfelt tales that each of them shared through the book. The stories of the Hamilton girls, and those close to them, woven throughout the book, tugged on the heartstrings on many occasions. I found this book to be well-paced, although it did drag a little for me in the second half. However, I would recommend this enchanting story to anyone who enjoys family stories entwined with relationships, love and life’s ups and downs. Kenny ought to be proud of her first novel. Phillippa, TAS, 4 Stars

The sins of the mother are visited on the daughters. Reputation is inherited in a town that doesn’t try to understand Esther Hamilton’s scandalous sin. Two decades later, Esther’s three fatherless daughters are scorned and detested for the perceived sin of their conception. The timing of this book’s publication is striking. Whilst both mainstream and social media are discussing the societal treatment of women, along comes a story where the blame and shame of illegitimate birth are aimed solely at the mother. It was annoying, but not surprising, to see the father of the child remembered as a victim, rather than as an equal partner, or, indeed, a criminal. What was heartening, however, was that the story featured more than one man who supported female independence. Hopefully, Averil Kenny’s book will lead to more conversations about the inequality between male and female sexuality. The tropical Queensland environment is a powerful character in this novel, influencing both local lifestyle and individual behaviours. Social mores and female sexuality are explored sensitively and there are some very interesting art and literary references as well as some fascinating seemingly random definitions of little-used words. Sonnet loves words. So do I, so this book was captivating. Heidi, VIC, 4 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Averil Kenny about three sisters heading to their mother’s hometown after her death. The battle they fight both together and alone to set themselves free from their mother’s past and the judgement of a small town held me captive. I was cheering them on for being strong young women in a time when women were seen as the weaker of the sexes. The author’s description of this small town in northern Queensland makes you feel like you are there with the sisters. I can’t wait to see what is next from Averil Kenny. Trudy, SA, 4 Stars

I am very grateful to have received an ARC of Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny as part of Better Reading Preview. Those Hamilton Sisters is a beautifully written novel about three sisters finding their way in a small Far North Queensland town in the 1950s and 1960s. Arriving in Noah Vale after a family tragedy, the three sisters – Sonnet, Fable and Novella Plum embark on a life vastly different from the one they have lived so far. They move into a cottage on the family property Heartwood, where they live alongside, and occasionally clash with their Aunt Olive and Uncle Gav. Faced with their own feelings and emotions, along with the small-minded bigotry of a small town, the sisters grow and evolve into the young women they are meant to be. Those Hamilton Sisters is a rollercoaster tale of love, loss, family, bigotry, bullying, strength, fear and honesty. There are so many interwoven feelings, with many heart-wrenching moments. All are perfectly descriptive of three sisters trying to find their way in an era that, although holding vastly different moral views of women, also holds so many parallels with today’s society. In many ways, it is a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Averil has a wonderfully descriptive style of writing, transporting the reader easily into the setting of Far North Queensland, from the dust and smoke of burning cane fields to the lush green peace and beauty of the rainforest. I found it easy to imagine the lovely surroundings described in this novel, as much as I was able to feel the fear, sadness, joy and love felt by each sister. I thoroughly enjoyed Those Hamilton Sisters, and I look forward to reading more of Averil’s future releases. Karen, WA, 4 Stars

Three sisters, orphaned after their mother’s death, arrive in Noah Vale, in tropical Queensland, where their aunt lives. It is 1955, and the girls are about to encounter all the gossip and small-minded prejudice that their mother Esther fled from when pregnant, over 20 years earlier. Sonnet (20), Fable (12) and Novella (known as Plum) (3) were all born out of wedlock. Their aunt Olive wants to help, but Sonnet is fiercely independent of herself and her sisters. The story unfolds over the next ten years with each of the sisters overcoming the legacy of prejudice to find their own place in the world. Ms Kenny brings her characters to life, especially Sonnet and Fable. Gradually we learn more about their mother Esther, about her hopes and ambitions for herself and for her daughters. I finished the novel wanting more, especially as Plum’s journey to adulthood was just beginning. I really enjoyed this novel, with its wonderful descriptions of place and the clear-eyed depiction of the challenges that the sisters faced. Jennifer, ACT, 4 Stars

This book pulled me in from the first page! I really loved reading about Sonnet, Fable and Plum’s journey. I also loved the way Averil Kenny dropped random words like ‘solivagant’ into the narrative too. Averil Kenny has an innate, almost poetic way with words. “Work begins at rooster’s crow and ended with the arrival of the bats”. Although some of it is a bit unnecessary, “The shock of cool denim against her innermost folds was galvanising”. Why? At times the story seemed to lag a bit but it always picked up again and it is a very enjoyable read overall. Leah, WA, 4 Stars

Those Hamilton Sisters is a sweeping historical novel based in the ’50s and ’60s. Three sisters, their mother tragically killed, go to live with their estranged aunt and uncle. The girls’ mother had a scandalous affair as a senior student with a married man, who was also her teacher and was run out of town. Now that her daughters have arrived, they are subjected to small-town gossip and bullying based on their mother’s history. The relationships between the sisters, and the individual burdens they feel they have to bear, is poignant and emotional at times, particularly between the oldest, Sonnet, and the middle sister, Fable. Sonnet is trying to be a mother to the younger two and Fable resists her and puts her defences up every step of the way. Also, their relationship with their aunt, herself trying to atone for past regrets, is a really lovely story arc. Overall, it’s quite a long novel but it doesn’t drag or feel cumbersome. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it a wonderful debut. Karlie, SA, 4 Stars

I found this book a little difficult to get into at first but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. Getting to know the Hamilton sisters and the townsfolk of Noah Vale was rewarding. This book made me smile and cry inside and I was able to paint the beautifully described landscapes in my head as I read. Kelly, QLD, 4 Stars

Those Hamilton Sisters is an interesting novel, in which it takes quite a while for the purpose of the narrative to become clear. For a while it just wanders around as though it’s idly telling you about some things that happened to some sisters. Frankly, I’m still not entirely sure that there is an overall narrative thrust. And yet, this novel manages to be engaging, moving, and constantly interesting. Kenny skims over the details of the period, focusing more on attitudes than matters such as fashion or historical events. This doesn’t give a strong sense of time, but mostly it works, although occasionally she uses language which seems wrong for the time. For example, a relatively uneducated girl in 1955 was unlikely to use the phrase “female agency”. Although these things jar slightly, it is only a minor blip. The characters are vivid, and are perhaps the greatest strength of the novel. For all these weaknesses, I enjoyed the reading experience and would recommend that other readers give it a chance. It draws you in and you want to know where it’s going to end up. I didn’t necessarily like the Hamilton sisters, but I came to care about them. Lorraine, ACT, 4 Stars

Beautifully written, Those Hamilton Sisters comes with great characters and a wonderful sense of place. The moment you are introduced to the sisters you know the book will be filled with beauty, mystical stories, sadness and hope. Their names embody classical literature, Sonnet, the eldest, needing to help raise her sisters due to their mother’s emotional delicacy and sudden death. A strong young woman with a great heart, a love of books and words, “sound” encompasses her true being. Next comes Fable, an enchanting storyteller and artist, she has many layers and a close similarity to her beloved mother. Novella Plum, the youngest, is endearing to all and the quietest of the sisters and her story through life is just beginning. The girls’ journey to Noah Vale and the necessity to start afresh is fraught with small-town prejudice, judgment and guilt by association, set in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s. They have to learn to live with the stigma associated with their mother’s behaviour decades ago. Esther Hamilton was ostracised by the community as well as her family. Acceptance into this small North Queensland town is a challenge to bear and overcome to find your place in the world. Ilona, VIC, 4 Stars

From the first chapter, Averil Kenny had me intrigued by the characters in her debut novel Those Hamilton Sisters. Sonnet, Fable and Plum are three orphaned sisters returning to their mother Esther’s hometown in a shroud of scandal from 20 years ago. The town of Noah Vale has not forgotten the treacherous past and these three sisters have to navigate their way through the watchful eyes of the Noah Vale community. Those Hamilton Sisters left me wanting more and I look forward to reading the next novel Averil Kenny has to offer. I’m a lover of both Kate Morton and Fiona McIntosh and I’d happily add Averil Kenny to my list of favourite authors and everyone must add this book to their collection. Victoria, VIC, 4 Stars

Those Hamilton Sisters is the perfect book for a holiday read, sitting poolside, by the beach, at home on the couch or anywhere; this book will transport you to Far North Queensland amongst cane fields, rainforests, humidity and small-town gossip! The book opens in the year 1955 with newly orphaned sisters, Sonnet 19 years, Fable 12 years and Novella 3 years arriving by train to Noah Vale, their mother’s hometown. Where 20 years before their mother had left in a cloud of shame and disgrace after an affair with a married teacher, who had left her pregnant with Sonnet. Their mother’s sister Olive, who is well-meaning and kind, welcomes them and with her husband Gav tries to make them part of the family they have never been able to have. There are many people in town who want to bring the sisters down due to what they see as the mistakes of their mother, in typical ‘Sins of the Mother’ form. This book is amazingly descriptive; there are many twists and turns and it is an enjoyable read. Will the girls remove the stigma that surrounds them? Well, you will have to read the book to find out! Julie, VIC, 4 Stars

Upon beginning Those Hamilton Sisters I thought “not another hard-luck romance story with a predictable end”. It was a slow first chapter but by chapter two author Averil Kenny captured my attention with her captivating characters, plot and descriptive writing. She managed to bring to life the reality of living in a small North Queensland town and explain how gossip can spread within the community. Coming from North Queensland myself I felt at home immediately. She described the landscape exactly and allowed you to visualise the scene. I loved the strength and courage of Sonnet and her sisters and felt the love of Olive and Gav. Kenny is an excellent descriptive writer and I look forward to her next novel. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with me. Leanne, QLD, 4 Stars

Can’t wait to read further novels from this author. I loved that it was set in historic North Queensland. Very well written and certainly a page-turner. Petrina, QLD, 4 Stars

I thoroughly enjoyed Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny. It is a sweeping story of three sisters – Sonnet, Fable and Novella Plum, who return to the small town their mother grew up in after her death. Their mother left the town 20 years ago after a scandal and hasn’t returned since. Now parentless, the three sisters return to Noah Vale to live near their Aunt and Uncle. Unfortunately for the sisters, the townsfolk have not forgotten the scandal and are not thrilled to be reminded of it when the Hamilton sisters arrive on the Sunday train. This is a story of love, loss, family and belonging and it had me totally captivated. I was drawn to the strong female characters in this story. I was also enthralled by the author’s vivid descriptions of far north Queensland – the rainforests, waterfalls, tropical storms and stifling humidity are described in such a way that I was totally enchanted. I was swept up in this fabulous story and will certainly be keeping my eyes open for Averil Kenny’s next book. Kylie, WA, 4 Stars

I was hooked by the cover, it’s beautifully written, I could see the landscape and smell the tropical air. We should not judge by the past but live for the future, I look forward to further novels by this artful writer.  Maryanne, NSW, 4 Stars

I loved reading this book! A beautiful story of sisterhood and strength. Madelaine, NSW, 4 Stars

Far North Queensland is vividly described in this novel, and nestled in paradise is the small town of Noah Vale. But beware, this Garden of Eden is full of serpents. Averil Kenny introduces a plot about a family who confronts some typical prejudices of the mid-20th Century, and it is the key character and eldest sister of the Hamilton trio, Sonnet, who drives their story convincingly for over a decade. As the self-sacrificing eldest sister, she parents her intriguingly named sisters Fable and Novella, supported by the love and guidance of their aunt and uncle, as they seek a new life in their mother’s home town – a town of unforgiving scandal-mongers. But then the 1950s and 60s were different times. Noah Vale has too many men and boys who really need to time travel and face the #MeToo movement head-on. The experience of growing up in Noah Vale is presented as an unsafe and unhappy time for the Hamilton girls. Despite this, the story is balanced with admirable characters such as the Emersons, the bookshop owner and the young doctor. Disappointingly we see too little of the latter two men in the plot to be satisfied that life in Noah Vale can guarantee happiness for all. The novel is a historical family drama, with elements of romance, social conflict and even fantasy. It has a wonderful setting and some strong and independent female characters in the Hamilton sisters. Give it a go! Diane, NSW, 3 Stars

Sonnet, Fable, and Plum have returned to Noah Vale following their mother’s death. The girls, unfortunately, have to face the judgement and negative looks from the townies as Esther Hamilton, their mother, left with an ill-reputation twenty years ago. The story mostly focused and developed Fable’s character, a little bit on Sonnet prior to the end, but it’s really short on Plum. I was hoping for a couple of twists or dramatic events within the story, but I found it’s pretty flat. Thank you #BRPreview for the ARC of this book. Vivi, NSW, 3 Stars

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          Synopsis

          Will their mother's scandalous past decide their futures? The Sunday train which snaked into Noah Vale that verdant, midwinter afternoon brought with it fire, sending an inferno of small-town gossip roaring up the valley... Beautiful, irrepressible Esther Hamilton had a reputation in the small Queensland town of Noah Vale. That was until she ran away, twenty years ago, under a cloud of shame. It's now 1955 and following their mother's death, the Hamilton sisters - Sonnet, Fable and little Novella Plum - have returned to Noah Vale to live near their aunt and uncle. Sonnet, twenty years old and legal guardian to her siblings, has never stepped foot in Noah Vale, yet has been the talk of the town for decades. Fable, at twelve-years-old, is a talented artist and lovelier than even her heartbreaking mother had been. And three-year-old Plum is just a little girl who's lost her mother and been taken away from the only home she's ever known. As the years pass, the three sisters settle into their new life, working in the town, going to school and swimming in the perfect waterfalls nearby. But suspicion and judgment continue to follow the Hamilton sisters wherever they go. In a small town where everyone thinks they know everything about each other, it's hard to escape the past. And when Fable falls in love with Noah Vale's golden boy, is history destined to repeat itself? Those Hamilton Sisters is a warm, captivating and irresistible story of love, family, secrets and finding your place in the world. For readers of Lucinda Riley and Kate Morton.
          Averil Kenny
          About the author

          Averil Kenny

          Averil Kenny is a writer living in the lush, enchanted tropics of Far North Queensland. Averil writes w omen's fiction with an evocative flair, featuring strong, sassy heroines. She grew up on a dairy farm and studied Journalism at the University of Queensland. Averil has four children and can be found sharing her vibrant vignettes of tropical life on Instagram: @sunshineinateacup

          Books by Averil Kenny

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