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Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter: An Atmospheric Historical Mystery With a Courageous Heroine Intent on the Truth

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The colonizers enslaved the Aboriginal people, paying them poverty wages, forcing pregnant women to deep dive, some dying in the process. Lizzie Pook’s novel about a young woman in the 19th-century outback, “Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter,” examines the perils — moral, physical and otherwise — of the pearling industry. Many thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly. Ten years later and Charles Brightwell, now the bay’s most prolific pearler, goes missing from his ship while out at sea.

To sum up, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter has to be picked up for the historical setting and glimpse into the lives of pearl divers. Another firm fave was Laura-Min (a childhood friend of Eliza’s) who’s one of the most supportive people Eliza knows and whose resilience and survival despite the racism and misogyny she endures made me really root for her to find happiness. Though I could clearly visualise Eliza’s environment, I would have liked to learn more about the daily operations of a pearling fleet. Eliza’s probably the most open hearted and honest character we encounter and I absolutely loved her fearlessness and the journey she undertakes was definitely an interesting one. Interspersed in the narrative is Charlie's journal, from which Eliza seeks clues as to what might have happened.It was 1886 when Eliza Brightwell and her family arrived in Bannin Bay, Western Australia from England.

Adventure, feminist heroine, porcupines and jellyfish, dangerous men, secrets, grief, love and hope. Here is an unforgiving land where fortune sits patiently at the bottom of the ocean, waiting to be claimed by those brave enough to venture into its depths. It was so relentlessly depressing, and once I had gotten through the whole story, it seemed to be without purpose. Her quest draws the reader into the tense social climate between colonizers and Aboriginals, the spectacular flora and fauna of Western Australia and Pacifica, as well as the perils of sea voyages at the time. Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter is the debut novel by Aussie author Lizzie Pook and it was outstanding!Set in the harsh, unforgiving land that is outback Western Australia, the constant heat, flies and any number of other insects and things that bite, the reality was vivid. I just wish a few more of those nostalgic childhood moments were included in the story to really understand their relationship but it was nonetheless touching. Lawhon’s fifth work of historical fiction is inspired by the true story and diaries of midwife Martha Ballard of Hallowell, Maine, a character she brings to life brilliantly here. Udo Graf is proud that the Wolf has assigned him the task of expelling all 50,000 Jews from Salonika, Greece.

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