The Brightwell family has sailed from England to make their new home in Western Australia.– GoodReads
Set in 1886 in Bannin Bay, Australia Pook gives us a very promising debut novel.
I love historical fiction, I don’t read it enough but it’s one of those genres I thoroughly enjoy and go down the rabbit hole for when I’m in the mood.
Eliza Brightwell has lived half her life in Bannin Bay and gotten used to most of it as a way of life but when her father goes missing then she must push further into the world that was her father’s as a pearler rather than just the daughter of one.
Pook does a great job immersing the reader within the setting, it felt as if I had stepped off the ship with Eliza in Bannin Bay.
Speaking of Eliza, I loved her and all of the characters which were in her world. They all had unique stories and backgrounds and from different backgrounds which made it a refreshing read.
Her Brother Thomas was a very intriguing character and I loved to see them come to heads and how strong Eliza proves herself to be, not as a woman but as a family member. She’ll do anything to solve the mystery of her Father’s disappearance. That includes teaming up with unlikely and likely allies.
Pacing took a while to find its feet but I did think that it took longer to do so because the disjointed chapters meant to update us about Balarri who is unjustly excused of a crime (her father’s possible murder as they cannot find him) feel out of place stylistically.
We have those updates, the regular chapters and then the diary entries from Mr. Brightwell’s journal. They’re all three different styles and do not always flow well together.
Once the pacing did find its feet though, it was excellent.
The Brightwell family can easily keep people reading and I am very content on what we were given about them.
Eliza’s ambitions were another aspect I loved and it seemed fitting that she should have gotten the ending she did. I’m not sure I felt the same about Axel though, it was a bit odd to have such a quick shift of his attentions though it made for a happy ending for all.
4/5 Cups of coffee from me! Thanks so much to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion. I think I’ll be buying a physical edition.