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Sarah Thornhill (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Some of my favorite novels are those whose settings permeate into the story and take hold just as much as the characters and plot.  Kate Grenville’s unflinching view about Australia’s history and the pioneering story set against the backdrop of the Aboriginal people’s demise is compelling and brave. Telling the story of Sarah Thornhill, a young woman born into a privileged pioneer family, Sarah is unaware of the turmoil that her family’s wealth is built on, but when a romance between Sarah and another young pioneer begins to develop, it threatens to ambush everything about what Sarah knows of her own life and upbringing. This is an unforgettable portrait of a passionate woman caught up in a historical moment—a breathtaking and bold tale.

— S.M.C.


"A wrenching conclusion to a tough-hearted trilogy . . . Exuberant, cruel, surprising, a triumphant evocation of a period and a people filled with both courage and ugliness."--The New York Times Book Review

When The Secret River--a novel about frontier violence in early Australia--appeared in 2005, it became an instant best seller and garnered publicity for its unflinching look at Australia's notorious history. It has since been published all over the world and translated into twenty languages. Grenville's next novel, The Lieutenant, continued her exploration of Australia's first settlement and again, caused controversy for its bold view of her homeland's beginnings. Sarah Thornhill brings this acclaimed trilogy to an emotionally explosive conclusion.

Sarah is the youngest daughter of William Thornhill, the pioneer at the center of The Secret River. Unknown to Sarah, her father--an ex-convict from London--has built his fortune on the blood of Aboriginal people. With a fine stone house and plenty of money, Thornhill is a man who has reinvented 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 idyllic, but the ugly secret in Sarah's family is poised to ambush them both.

As she did with The Secret River, Grenville once again digs into her own family history to tell a story about the past that still resonates today. Driven by the captivating voice of the illiterate Sarah--at once headstrong, sympathetic, curious, and refreshingly honest--this is an unforgettable portrait of a passionate woman caught up in a historical moment that's left an indelible mark on the present.

About the Author

Kate Grenville's works of fiction include The Secret River, winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book and short listed for the Man Booker Prize, and The Idea of Perfection, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in Sydney. Visit her website at

Product Details
ISBN: 9780802121219
ISBN-10: 0802121217
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: June 18th, 2013
Pages: 307
Language: English
ABA Admin Product Details
Data Source: Ingram
Created At: 3/7/2014 08:25am
Last Updated At: 10/5/2020 05:12pm