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Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville

Sarah Thornhill

by Kate Grenville

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  1. 10
    The Secret River by Kate Grenville (sianpr)
    sianpr: First in the trilogy. Fantastic story.

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Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville is a direct sequel to her novel Secret River as well as the third book in her Colonial Trilogy. Sarah is the last child born to William Thornhill, her mother is dead and her father has remarried a social climbing woman who overlooks her husbands convict past and his other secrets. Sarah grows up and falls in love with Jack Langland, knowing full well that he is part white, part “darkie”. Jack has always been welcomed in her home and she doesn’t think her father will object to the match. She is even more confident when her father brings his half dark granddaughter into the family.

But the granddaughter is being forced to give up her “native ways”, she is given the name of Rachel and being taught to do things the English way. Then comes a day when instead of accepting her choice, her parents tear them apart. Jack is told of the massacre of aboriginals that William was a large part of and this turns him against the family and he wants nothing to do with Sarah. She eventually marries another man, one who is kind and caring, but still her thoughts are with Jack. On her father’s deathbed, she finally learns of his secret and she has a very hard time coming to terms with it. Eventually Jack comes back into her life with a request that she come to New Zealand to allow her native family come to terms with the death of William’s half native granddaughter. Will this step allow Sarah to find closure and allow her to move on or will this end in her being alone.

Sarah Thornhill, as in all of the books in this trilogy, explores the difficult relationship between the white settlers and the native population. I found this beautifully written story to be a very moving portrait of a young woman of colonial Australia. Never knowing of the atrocities committed by her father, she didn’t realize that bringing his half-breed granddaughter into the family had more to do with atonement than in actually caring for the girl. The author loosely based some of the facts of this story on her own family’s history, and one can see how certain events and choices made in the past will resonate in the future. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 21, 2017 |
good to revisit the sometimes troubled Thornhill family in this sequel. Sarah is a strong and determined character - this is all about her point of view; her doomed relationship with Jack and her discovery of the father's sins. ( )
  siri51 | Apr 11, 2017 |
By the same author as "The Secret River" which is a book I have previously read and reviewed. I enjoyed this book more than the previous one. The plot was interesting, although the writing is difficult to read as the author has chosen not to use inverted commas which always slows a book down in my opinion. ( )
  amme_mr | May 5, 2015 |
Engrossing story in which Kate Grenville lays bare the secrets and lies of the settlers in Australia and confronts racism. Loved the character of John Daunt - such a gentle and caring soul. ( )
  sianpr | Jan 14, 2015 |
Multiple award-winning author Kate Grenville completes her acclaimed early-Australia trilogy with "Sarah Thornhill." This is the story of the eponymous heroine and it wraps up the overarching narrative of Will Thornhill’s family – Will who was transported to Australia as a convict in 1806 – and it contains a highly satisfying, balanced, and beautiful denouement for all that went before.

As the life of a strong-willed woman, "Sarah Thornhill" contains some vivid and pitch-perfect scenes throughout. She is thwarted in love early on, and the author sets these scenes in an appropriately high melodrama. The tone subtly and gradually calms for Sarah, as she agrees to marry landowner John Daunt a few years later, and settle at his station to her lot of toil and family-raising. But Ms. Grenville’s theme of the treatment and mistreatment of Aborigines drives this trilogy, and reaches if not a full atonement, then at least Sarah’s contrite and climactic offering on a far-off New Zealand shore during a ceremony honoring a dead Maori girl.

Sarah’s odyssey and expiation exhaust her, and Ms. Grenville’s treatment of the climax here deserves every honor and accolade. Her character doesn’t really do enough – she will never fully forgive herself for her unwitting participation in slaughter – but she does everything she can. She empties herself of her story, weeps openly before the village’s women for its fatal history. The native women understand and accept her offering and her tears, and the emotionally drained heroine goes back to the shore in the nighttime. Here she once again reflects on the grand universe, in which she knows she and her family are as nothing, mattering not at all. In truth, not enough can ever be done about humanity’s rapacious nature and the conclusion of this book treats this truth with respect and rectitude. There is no neat wrapping-up and cleansing-of-hands here. The author is too wise and compassionate for that.

"Sarah Thornhill" concludes this trilogy in the only way that seems possible. The Europeans who plunder and occupy Australia are wise enough in Sarah’s case to understand the enormity of their sin, and must live with the dark knowledge. Read this trilogy for its comprehensive and highly artful treatment of this chapter in history. It is outstanding.

http://bassoprofundo1.blogspot.com/2013/11/sarah-thornhill-by-kate-grenville.htm... ( )
  LukeS | Nov 3, 2013 |
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It does not follow that because a mountain appears to take on differrent shapes from different angles of vision, it has objectively no shape at all or an infinity of shapes. -- E.H. Carr
This novel is dedicated to the memory of Sophia Wiseman and Maryanne Wiseman, and their mother, 'Rugig'.
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The Hawkesbury was a lovely river, wide and calm, the water dimply green, the cliffs golden in the sun, and white birds roosting in the trees like so much washing.
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Sarah is the youngest child of William Thornhill, an uneducated ex-convict from London who has built his fortune on the blood of Aboriginal people. With a fine stone house and plenty of money, Thornhill has re-invented himself. As he tells his daughter, he "never looks back," and Sarah grows up learning not to ask about the past. Instead her eyes are on handsome Jack Langland, whom she's loved since she was a child. Their romance seems destined, but the ugly secret in Sarah's family is poised to ambush them both.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921758066, 1921758627, 1921758511

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