Culture Street

Books

Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman

On September 16, 2013

By Sophia Whitfield

Spanning centuries Kimberley Freeman’s riveting novel explores a hidden past uncovered years later in a lost diary, discovered in the walls of Starwater House.

In 1890 orphaned Tilly Kirkland lives in Dorset, brought up by her grandfather. She has an idyllic childhood, but as her grandfather’s health begins to fail, Tilly’s future is clouded in uncertainty.

With her grandfather’s estate entailed away to a male heir, her cousin Godfrey, Tilly has no prospects. Her grandfather is determined to find her a husband to secure her financial future. Jasper Dellafore arrives at the perfect time, well turned out and well spoken. Tilly takes to him immediately. Swiftly married, Tilly soon realises that married life is not quite what she expected. Fleeing to the farthest flung place she gains the position of governess to Nell, the daughter of Superintendent Sterling Holt. Taking on a new name Tilly ventures onto Ember Island, in Australia, a place disconnected from the world with its central occupation, the housing of prisoners.

In 2012 novelist Nina Jones retreats to Ember Island to hide away from her former life. With deadlines looming she needs time to finish her book away from the distractions of daily life. In her old home of Starwater Nina uncovers diary pages that lead her to a dark secret played out on the island. Determined to unravel the mystery hidden in the walls of Starwater, Nina welcomes the daily ritual of reading the secret diary.

As romance glimmers on the horizon for Nina, so she reads from newly discovered diary pages about a burgeoning romance developing for Tilly. Linked by the home on Ember Island, both women attempt to find solace as they flee from personal tragedy.

Freeman writes vividly about Ember Island which she based on Moreton Bay in Queensland. Ember Island is entirely engrossing. The reader will get wrapped up in both storylines and be unable to put the book down until the conclusion is reached.

Look out for our CS Live web chat with Kimberley Freeman on Friday September 27 at 1pm.

 

 

 

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