The Salt Madonna
'Tense, original and lyrically told; this is a gripping story of a community spellbound by collective mania and the search for what cannot be found...' Gail JonesThis is the story of a crime.This is the story of a miracle. There are two stories here.Hannah Mulvey left her island home as a teenager. But her stubborn, defiant mother is dying, and now Hannah has returned to Chesil, taking up a teaching post at the tiny schoolhouse, doing what she can in the long days of this final year.But though Hannah cannot pinpoint exactly when it begins, something threatens her small community. A girl disappears entirely from class. Odd reports and rumours reach her through her young charges. People mutter on street corners, the church bell tolls through the night and the island's women gather at strange hours...And then the miracles begin.A page-turning, thought-provoking portrayal of a remote community caught up in a collective moment of madness, of good intentions turned terribly awry. A blistering examination of truth and power, and how we might tell one from the other.'Catherine Noske's debut novel grapples with questions of familial obligation, complicity, remorse and the fallibility of memory...The Salt Madonna will appeal to readers who enjoyed Laura Elizabeth Woollett's Beautiful Revolutionary.' Books+Publishing'Catherine Noske's The Salt Madonna is Australian Gothic at its most sublime and uncanny. Superbly atmospheric and darkly unsettling, the characters are haunted by their colonial pasts, manifested in guilty silence...Noske's taut, subversive writing exposes unspeakable truths buried in dazzling stories, miracles and epiphanies.' Cassandra Atherton

The Salt Madonna Details

TitleThe Salt Madonna
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 25th, 2020
PublisherPicador Australia
ISBN-139781760980191
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Australia

The Salt Madonna Review

  • Theresa Smith
    January 1, 1970
    The Salt Madonna is an incredible novel in every sense of the word incredible. As the story progressed, I had to keep reminding myself that it was set in the early 1990s, not the 1690s. In this, it’s a story that drives home the very strange and dangerous ways in which religious fervour can grip people, spreading like a contagion. The setting for this story is an imaginary isolated island called Chesil, off the coast of Southern Australia. The exact location is not disclosed but the weather patt The Salt Madonna is an incredible novel in every sense of the word incredible. As the story progressed, I had to keep reminding myself that it was set in the early 1990s, not the 1690s. In this, it’s a story that drives home the very strange and dangerous ways in which religious fervour can grip people, spreading like a contagion. The setting for this story is an imaginary isolated island called Chesil, off the coast of Southern Australia. The exact location is not disclosed but the weather patterns suggested to me that this was where it likely was (I’m envisaging Victoria but only because I grew up down there near that wild coastline and there was chord of the familiar within the descriptions). Being set on an isolated island was what made the events within the story possible, I think. There is already that mentality of separation from the mainland, of being ‘on your own’; the isolation allowed for things to progress further and go on for far longer than might have been the case if that isolation was not a factor.‘Blame is contagious. No one body can hold it. And no one ever looks to see where it is shared.’This entire novel has a sense of foreboding that is utterly gripping and this is largely due to the narration, which I want to spend some time talking about. The author has skilfully utilised the technique of third person omniscient narration along with elements of metafiction. It’s strikingly clever and not an easy way to write, which is why I want to make a bit of a fuss over it. When it is done well, as it was in this novel, it can produce a work of fiction that is completely set apart and to me, The Salt Madonna is a brilliantly constructed novel. Here is an example:‘But a story like this can’t be told from one set of eyes. There are too many things you have to see. This is how it will happen – I will show you all of us. They will forgive me. Of everything, they will forgive me this.Do you recognise me yet? Let me start again.’This narration works so well, reminding us that stories are subjective, always at the whim of the storyteller. Is any story the absolute truth? We are continually reminded to be aware that we are reading a fictional work. When taken in hand alongside Hannah’s omniscient narration, we are privy to the thoughts, actions, and feelings of every character, while still being repeatedly reminded that this is all imagined.‘I am imagining, of course. I warned you. I don’t know any of this, except what I saw for myself.’This is Catherine Noske’s debut novel but she is no novice writer, not by a long shot. There was a complexity to the characters that really drew me in and the plot itself was just so intricately constructed, incredible and truly beggaring belief, and yet, with a plausibility that was entirely discomfiting. So much of this story made me feel deeply sad: the under valuing of education, small towns dying, people left without an anchor in a changing economy. And then there’s the hope this story instilled: that even when madness is running rampant, there are still people who are willing to stand firm and question, such as Thomas and his mother – I admired them both so much, their sustained sensibility – imagined as it was – in the face of such absurdity. Hannah and her mother intrigued me as well. There was a politeness between the two that strained with tension. I kept expecting there to be a big reveal there, and strangely, when none came, I was accepting of it. It made me dwell on the relationships I have with members of my own family that are characterised by that very same strained politeness. And then there was black horse. I really loved that horse and his mourning touched me in a way that was deeper than if it had been replicated within a person.I truly loved this novel and read the majority of it in day – I just couldn’t put it down. The way in which it was written, the tone and intent, the characters and the story: all of it was, to me, absolute perfection. This is a must read for fans of literary fiction and a masterclass for writers.Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of The Salt Madonna for review.
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  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    January 1, 1970
    DNFI’ve read about a third of this but it’s not holding my interest and I’m finding the writing overblown rather than evocative. With my ability to focus marred by current circumstances I’m choosing to put this aside for now.My apologies to the author, and publisher. It’s me, not you.
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  • Pan Macmillan Australia
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this in two sittings. Catherine Noske is a lecturer on creative writing at UWA, and this debut is the culmination of ten years work, and I think every minute was well spent!It’s the story of an imaginary island off the WA coast that has fallen on hard times, with an ageing population who won’t leave, and a youth who can’t bear to stay. It’s about how a community, so desperate for something to believe in, fall victim to a religious fervour (see delusion) that they think will be the sav I finished this in two sittings. Catherine Noske is a lecturer on creative writing at UWA, and this debut is the culmination of ten years work, and I think every minute was well spent!It’s the story of an imaginary island off the WA coast that has fallen on hard times, with an ageing population who won’t leave, and a youth who can’t bear to stay. It’s about how a community, so desperate for something to believe in, fall victim to a religious fervour (see delusion) that they think will be the saviour of the place they love, regardless of the cost. I saw it as a window into mob mentality and the madness that fear can create.The writing is stunning and audacious; by turns brutal and delicate as Noske examines this communal madness through the eyes of its creators and its victims. This is my favourite book of the last 12 months, and I will be haranguing my accounts to read and revisit their focus on this title.-Mike
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  • Kate Downey
    January 1, 1970
    The Salt Madonna by Catherine Norske.What I admire most about this novel is its deliberateness. Noske writes very surely, very confidently and this is an accomplished work. I think this deliberateness arises from the choices that the author makes when presenting a very complex psychological examination of an outbreak of religious fervour. Again, Noske writes deliberately into a topic that is contentious and nebulous, to say the least. We know we are in capable hands as she tackles the elusive ma The Salt Madonna by Catherine Norske.What I admire most about this novel is its deliberateness. Noske writes very surely, very confidently and this is an accomplished work. I think this deliberateness arises from the choices that the author makes when presenting a very complex psychological examination of an outbreak of religious fervour. Again, Noske writes deliberately into a topic that is contentious and nebulous, to say the least. We know we are in capable hands as she tackles the elusive matter of faith – a perpetually relevant topic. She advances into this terrain with a full array of descriptive tools that allow the reader take stock of the history, the dynamics and the slow demise of an island population, in the hope that we can better understand why her characters behave the way they do and thus extend our compassion perhaps to some of them. The make-up of small-town society desperate to be lifted out of the quagmire of near poverty and diminishing prospects is artfully detailed and is written with immense clarity. Noske decides to focus on the power of suggestion, the thrill of salvation that unites the town’s women, setting this against a backdrop of supressed and expressed violence, of the strangeness of grief and the superimposition of palatable narrative over one too harsh to be entertained. This is a deeply interesting and thoughtful read. There is nothing flashy about Noske’s writing; it is at all times elegant and lyrical. I was grateful for the opportunity wrap myself in a mantle of fine prose and ponder. I highly recommend it.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    Set in the early 1990's on a remote island off the coast of Western Australia, this book started with such promise for me. I was intrigued by the story of a small community, isolated from the mainland, and the disappearance suddenly of a young teenager from school.The writing style was beautiful and captivating and I was genuinely enjoying this but then unfortunately for me something got lost around the half-way mark. I started to lose focus and the story line seemed to take off on a strange tan Set in the early 1990's on a remote island off the coast of Western Australia, this book started with such promise for me. I was intrigued by the story of a small community, isolated from the mainland, and the disappearance suddenly of a young teenager from school.The writing style was beautiful and captivating and I was genuinely enjoying this but then unfortunately for me something got lost around the half-way mark. I started to lose focus and the story line seemed to take off on a strange tangent that I just couldn't digest.Religion features heavily in this book but in a frightening cult-like way where the towns people literally seem to become possessed by this need to be saved by something greater than they can understand.The story is narrated by Hannah who has returned to the island as her mother is terminally ill. I was drawn into Hannah's story, which seemed to be begging me to understand why things on the island had happened the way they had. I felt as though as long as I stayed with Hannah all would make sense in the end, but again, unfortunately for me, it didn't, and the ending left me with more questions than I started with.Thank you Pan Macmillan Australia and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this.
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  • Jessica M
    January 1, 1970
    http://jessjustreads.comThe Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske is literary fiction set on an imaginary island off the coast of Western Australia, following a small and ageing population as they start to believe a religious delusion that sets in motion a number of unfortunate consequences. The strengths of this book lie in establishing that fanatical, overdramatic hype when a group of people convince themselves that something is bigger than it is. After young, 14-year-old Mary falls pregnant, the to http://jessjustreads.comThe Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske is literary fiction set on an imaginary island off the coast of Western Australia, following a small and ageing population as they start to believe a religious delusion that sets in motion a number of unfortunate consequences. The strengths of this book lie in establishing that fanatical, overdramatic hype when a group of people convince themselves that something is bigger than it is. After young, 14-year-old Mary falls pregnant, the town believes it’s a religious blessing. They’ve fallen on tough times, and Mary is the answer. Tensions builds as residents clash, and poor Mary is caught in the middle of their hysteria and mania.Protagonist Hannah returns home to the island to care for her ill mother, and whilst there are other character POVs throughout the book, Hannah’s perspective is the only one we know to be true. The others — particularly Mary’s POV — is actually just an exploration of what Hannah *thinks* happened. This method of storytelling allows for a multi-layered novel that will draw in readers of all ages. “Dinner is uncomfortable, the three of them around the table, the television flickering on mute from the lounge. Mary’s father is propped up on one elbow, leaning over his plate, his fork in his free hand. He hasn’t showered yet. Mary can tell he would rather be in front of the TV.”The writing is beautiful — evocative prose and imagery, a wonderful flow of lyrical sentences that I’m sure Catherine spent many months perfecting. However, the complex sentence structure and metaphorical language just meant I spent most of the novel convinced there was something I was missing. I could follow the plot, for sure, but I’m sure there was symbolism I was missing. Or metaphors, or just something *bigger* than my brain could comprehend.Truthfully, the writing was difficult to get through. The book is overly descriptive, and it felt incredibly impenetrable. The vocabulary and sentence structure sometimes made it a chore to get through and by the end, I’m not sure I felt it was worth it. I think this says more about me as the reader than the book itself. Not every book is for every reader, and I just don’t think I’m the target audience. “Thomas follows with everyone else as the parade winds up towards the church, but his eyes don’t leave Mary. For a moment, as he watches her, it is as if everyone else disappears. He is the only one there. The street is empty, it’s just him and her.”The pacing is slow and the plot kind of uneventful. Nothing really happens and you find yourself going back and re-reading chapters because you think, wait that can’t be right? Something has to happen and I’m just missing it? And then you re-read and realise, ah yes, this is one of those literary novels where it’s all about character and not as much about plot and so you spend most of the novel feeling just that little bit dumb and confused. “She sneaks out in the end. It makes it more exciting. The summer evening means it isn’t dark but violet with dusk, an electric sort of half-light filled with shadows. She walks to the village through the grapevines rather than along the road and comes out at the pub.”Worthy and lyrical. For fans of literary fiction; for readers who love atmospheric, multi-layered stories that aren’t too plot-driven. If you don’t dabble in literary novels, this isn’t the book for you. The writing style is not for everyone. Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mike Noske
    January 1, 1970
    The Salt Madonna is not a “whodunnit crime novel”. It’s a novel about a crime. About what drove the crime. About the repercussions of the crime. About the small remote community where the crime occurs. It is beautifully written, drawing readers into the place where it happens and into minds of the people involved. Or at least into one person’s imagining of their minds. Don’t read it searching for what happens. Life happens. Enjoy the ride. And yes, my daughter wrote it.
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  • Underground Writers
    January 1, 1970
    This review was first published in the Underground zine, issue 30: Thriller: http://underground-writers.org/produc...‘Faith has preconditions in need and hopefulness. It doesn’t re-quire actual hope, just willingness for it, and the need for change. We all of us had need.’Written with a distinct Australian Gothic bent, The Salt Madonna also embodies elements of literary fiction with its lyrical prose and careful consideration. Just as the story itself is multilayered, so are the themes that Nosk This review was first published in the Underground zine, issue 30: Thriller: http://underground-writers.org/produc...‘Faith has preconditions in need and hopefulness. It doesn’t re-quire actual hope, just willingness for it, and the need for change. We all of us had need.’Written with a distinct Australian Gothic bent, The Salt Madonna also embodies elements of literary fiction with its lyrical prose and careful consideration. Just as the story itself is multilayered, so are the themes that Noske explores within them. Faith, family, masculinity and colonialism are just some of the ideas explored in this tale of an isolated community caught up in collective mania.While this may be Noske’s debut novel, her experience as a writer and editor shows in the complexity of this book. The stylistic and structural decisions are not easily pulled off and it would not surprise me to see this book on award lists later this year.Hannah Mulvey returns home to the remote island community of Chesil, taking up a teaching position at the local school, to look after her dying mother. The island is falling on hard times and the people are becoming desperate—desperate enough to latch on to anything that might give them hope.There is a deliberate vagueness in the blurb of this book that I feel is impossible to replicate in a review if I am to speak about it honestly and openly and give you a true idea of its plot and so, fair warning, from here on, some plot points will be revealed though nothing that I would count as a spoiler.14-year-old Mary, a girl in Hannah’s class, stops coming to school. Hannah soon learns that the girl has fallen pregnant. But rather than an investigation into how the underage girl became pregnant, the town is instead swept up in the idea of an immaculate conception when ‘miracles’ begin to occur. Hannah watches on in disbelief and varying levels of denial as the town, believing that Mary’s pregnancy is a divine gift sent to save them, descend into distressing levels of fanaticism and cult-like behaviour.While the majority of the book is written in third-person omniscient and from multiple points of view, the reader is reminded constantly that this is Hannah’s retelling of the story through short snippets of first-person at the beginning or end of each chapter. It is her reimagining of how things happen and so, by there is a sort of whiplash feeling as we are sucked into the ‘truth’ of the story only to be brought back to sharp reality that it is all only speculation. The reader is given the sense that Hannah is writing this story as a means of trying to come to terms with what happened, deciphering her role in the community at that time and trying to ascertain how much of the blame for what happened lays with her.While there is a definite who-dunnit feeling to this book, the question of who actually got Mary pregnant becomes as secondary to the reader as it does to the town. While there is a desire to know who she fell pregnant too and under what circumstances, a large part of the compulsion to keep turning pages is in seeing how long the town will continue to buy into the miracle and just how fanatical they will become. As a reader, we’re guided to be drawn towards the madness so that we are floored by the question when it comes up again. It feels like a deliberate decision on Noske’s part, to draw attention to the ways in which we are guided away from talking about underage pregnancy and sexual assault cases. Discussion around these topics seems to veer off into other agendas and problems without ever actually addressing the crux of it.Throughout the book, Noske draws attention to the ways that the women are silenced and driven into roles of servitude. Hannah has been called away from her own life to return and take on the care of her mother, and Mary begins as an object belonging to her family before becoming a vessel for the towns hopes and desires. In other moments we also see Mrs Keilor (one of the main band of church women) who is trapped in an unhappy marriage to a man who all but neglects her, and the Priest’s wife who has recently passed away but appears to him regularly as a spectre of sorts guiding him and comforting him. All these women are all ultimately silenced, Hannah by her label as an ‘outsider’, Mary (who quite literally stops talking) by her youth, Mrs Keilor by her mar-riage, and the Priest’s wife by way of her death (which, perhaps tellingly, was from an asthma attack which robbed her of her breath and her ability to speak in her final moments).Like any excellent work of lit-erary fiction there is so much that can be taken away from this novel. I haven’t even touched upon the exploration of colonialism, I’ve barely touched upon faith and I haven’t even had time to discuss the anxiety it induced in me, but alas my word limit is up. Noske has written something beautiful, terrifying and haunting. Her descriptions of the landscape are vivid, her characters are flesh and bone, and her writing is lyrical. If you’re a literary fiction lover, this is a must for your TBR pile. If you like Australian Gothic, I think you’ll be hooked.
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  • Naomi (aplace_inthesun)
    January 1, 1970
    The Salt Madonna details the return of Hannah Mulvey, a school teacher, to her childhood home on Chesil (fictitious island that could be anywhere off the coast of western or south Western Australia) to care for her ailing mother. The book is set in 1992. Upon her return one of the students in her class, 14 yo Mary gets pregnant and with a bizarre, cultish feel, the island and it’s inhabitants are convinced Mary will bare the child that must be the result of an immaculate conception.... because n The Salt Madonna details the return of Hannah Mulvey, a school teacher, to her childhood home on Chesil (fictitious island that could be anywhere off the coast of western or south Western Australia) to care for her ailing mother. The book is set in 1992. Upon her return one of the students in her class, 14 yo Mary gets pregnant and with a bizarre, cultish feel, the island and it’s inhabitants are convinced Mary will bare the child that must be the result of an immaculate conception.... because no one is owning up to being the father of the child. Neighbours are all a-Twitter and visitors come to the island to view Mary and lay hands upon her in the hope they will be healed. And then Mary goes missing, not once but twice. It’s generally a quiet and slower moving book. About two thirds of the way in I really noted how I was appreciating the complexities of the characters and the detail as well. But I was waiting for something to happen ....The pace seemed to be the biggest adjustment for me as has been my experience with works of literary fiction. I can appreciate the quality of the writing and the issues at hand, however with most suspense novels at a bare minimum you get an a-ha moment or an understanding of where things ended up. I appreciated the questions asked in this one - what is real, what is perceived, what is imagined? What do people need to believe? It seems a lot in this book was the opinion of the narrator Hannah, her perception of what she thought had happened, and the reader is left with more questions than answers. I think there will be a number of readers expecting one thing with this book (the presence of a crime and a miracle), when reading they are presented with something else. It’s wonderful and beautifully written, I’m just not sure if I missed something in the reading that would have made me enjoy this one more. I felt that the inhabitants of the island were searching for something they could not find and I was searching for something as well that was just out of my reach. I think lovers of literary fiction will appreciate this book. I also think if readers do not go in expecting a thriller-esque or suspense novel they will be better placed to enjoy it. Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia and Picador for sending me a copy of The Salt Madonna. It has a stunning cover that does lend itself to an eerie, tragic feel.
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  • Camila - Books Through My Veins
    January 1, 1970
    - thanks @macmillanaus for sending the book my way!This is a typical case of it's not you; it's me.I had a hard time getting into the story, mainly because I struggled with the writing style. It felt disjointed, overly descriptive and dense, so it took me ages to feel a connection with the book. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more I extricated myself from the story, and although I was curious to find out who the culprit was, I lost interest half-way through.After reading 200 pages or so whe - thanks @macmillanaus for sending the book my way!This is a typical case of it's not you; it's me.I had a hard time getting into the story, mainly because I struggled with the writing style. It felt disjointed, overly descriptive and dense, so it took me ages to feel a connection with the book. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more I extricated myself from the story, and although I was curious to find out who the culprit was, I lost interest half-way through.After reading 200 pages or so where nothing happens, I started skimming until I reached the end, which is something I always try to avoid because: how can you get an actual meaning if you're skimming? But I knew the moment I put the book down, I was not going to pick it up again. I did read the last few chapters without skimming, but even though I tried, I couldn't find the answers to my questions... sadly, I am not sure what was the point of the whole thing.I have to remark, however, how the author created an outstanding atmosphere of fanatical religion. It made me reflect on the way people use religion to justify or deny what's right in front of their faces.Overall, The Salt Madonna was not the book for me. I did not connect with the characters, and I lost interest way too early; but, I believe that anyone comfortable with the writing will find this story way more exciting and engaging - I would love to hear other readers' opinions on this one!
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    This is an intriguing story, unlike anything I've read before. It is well crafted by the author, with Hannah explaining how she is writing the story but really, she doesn't know it all and she is also confused about what really happened. It's a literary fiction, so this is a book as much about appreciating the written words, as the story itself. It is not action packed, but full of exploration of the characters and creation of the remote community. There is a lot of detail in describing the isla This is an intriguing story, unlike anything I've read before. It is well crafted by the author, with Hannah explaining how she is writing the story but really, she doesn't know it all and she is also confused about what really happened. It's a literary fiction, so this is a book as much about appreciating the written words, as the story itself. It is not action packed, but full of exploration of the characters and creation of the remote community. There is a lot of detail in describing the island and the people within the community, and when they start to "go mad", it all comes together beautifully. It is not a light read, I really needed to concentrate on it and I'm not experienced in reading such pieces of work, so I'm sure there is so much that I missed. But I was left with a feeling that it all made sense - in that, it finishes and you don't really know quite what happened, there is no closure, but it's makes sense in that, that's life....
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  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this book, but I found my attention wandering. Even after I had finished, I was disappointed. The story went nowhere, and it jumped around too much. The atmosphere that was created was evocative with its isolation. The premise of the story was fine, but it wasn’t executed well. The priest, I assumed was Catholic, so how come he had a wife? I had to force my self to finish this, not a good thing.
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  • Natalie D-Napoleon
    January 1, 1970
    This book was difficult to put down. The "mystery" at the heart of the story kept me gripped throughout. I like the way the story doesn't make any easy judgements, how it unveils the harshness of the Australian landscape, island living and culture, and our grasping desires to cling on to miracles and hope - to our detriment. A highly recommended gripping read.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Although it took me a while to get into this, I think that is more a reflection of me than the book!The hysteria which builds on an island desperate for something positive to happen was realistic and extremely unnerving. Perhaps not comfortable reading at this time of world wide panic
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  • Jemimah Brewster
    January 1, 1970
    My review of this book can be found on the ArtsHub website here: https://www.artshub.com.au/news-artic... My review of this book can be found on the ArtsHub website here: https://www.artshub.com.au/news-artic...
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I read about 60 pages of this, but I couldn't get interested in it. But other readers loved it (see https://theresasmithwrites.com/2020/0...) so don't take any notice of me. I don't rate books I don't finish. I read about 60 pages of this, but I couldn't get interested in it. But other readers loved it (see https://theresasmithwrites.com/2020/0...) so don't take any notice of me. I don't rate books I don't finish.
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  • Alisa Hood
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this! Beautifully written and the ending is super thought provoking!
  • Nadia Zeemeeuw
    January 1, 1970
    That was really good the first third of it. Then a story suddenly turned into a screenplay, diluted a little with way to many dreams. Pity really because of a great promise and setting.
  • Trish Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    When I read the blurb for this book I thought it sounded really promising. Hannah Mulvey left her island home as a teenager. But her stubborn, defiant mother is dying, and now Hannah has returned to Chesil, taking up a teaching post at the tiny schoolhouse, doing what she can in the long days of this final year.But though Hannah cannot pinpoint exactly when it begins, something threatens her small community. A girl disappears entirely from class. Odd reports and rumours reach her through her you When I read the blurb for this book I thought it sounded really promising. Hannah Mulvey left her island home as a teenager. But her stubborn, defiant mother is dying, and now Hannah has returned to Chesil, taking up a teaching post at the tiny schoolhouse, doing what she can in the long days of this final year.But though Hannah cannot pinpoint exactly when it begins, something threatens her small community. A girl disappears entirely from class. Odd reports and rumours reach her through her young charges. People mutter on street corners, the church bell tolls through the night and the island's women gather at strange hours...And then the miracles begin.A page-turning, thought-provoking portrayal of a remote community caught up in a collective moment of madness, of good intentions turned terribly awry. A blistering examination of truth and power, and how we might tell one from the other.Unfortunately, for me, it fell a little flat. I must admit that the writing is beautiful, hauntingly so, but that style is not something that I enjoy reading. The plot was great and I was invested enough in the characters to read it to the end but I think the creative prose and complicated sentence structure were a bit lost on me. I’m sure there are many of you that would appreciate the beauty of this book a whole lot more than me. Thank you to Pan MacMillan Australia for sending me this copy 🙏
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