In a small town, everyone is watching… Secrets, scandal and betrayal in 1950s small town Australia: the stunning new novel from bestselling author, Belinda Alexandra.
After a scandal in Sydney, Rebecca Wood takes the role as postmistress in a sleepy seaside town, desperate for anonymity. But instead, she is confronted almost at once by a disturbing discovery – her predecessor committed suicide.
To add to her worries, her hopes for a quiet life are soon threatened by the attentions of the dashing local doctor, the unsettling presence of a violent whaling captain and a corrupt shire secretary, as well as the watchful eyes of the town’s gossips. Yet in spite of herself she is drawn to the enigmatic resident of the house on the clifftop, rumoured to have been a Nazi spy.
Against the backdrop of the turbulent sea, Rebecca is soon caught up in the dangerous mysteries that lie behind Shipwreck Bay’s respectable net curtains. She had thought Shipwreck Bay was simply a remote town where people were bored senseless with their little lives. Now she saw its virtuous facade hid something darker, more sinister.
Belinda Alexandra has quickly become one of my favourite authors. She has a knack for creating truly fabulous female characters and placing them in richly detailed settings. When reading one of her books, I tumble into the pages, only to crawl out at the end, reluctant to leave. While I’m a huge fan of her sweeping sagas and international settings – Italy, France, New Orleans in the US – I really loved that this book took a different direction and was a Gothic mystery romance set in small town coastal Australia.
It’s fresh, it’s unique… and still maintains those trademark Belinda Alexandra details. Her writing sings, her characters are compelling (no cookie cutter characters in her stories) and the plot reels you in right from the get-go. Some serious themes are weaved into this eloquently told, suspenseful tale: domestic violence, women’s issues, racism and conservation. Belinda uses her voice here to shine a light on the whaling industry, while keeping it completely in line with the story and time period.
Right from the glorious cover to the author’s notes at the back, The Mystery Woman doesn’t miss a beat. It is a fabulous page-turner, an atmospheric nod to Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 classic, Rebecca, and yet another reason why Belinda Alexandra novels now go straight to the top of my TBR pile. Wonderful!