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Publisher's Summary

Sarah Thornhill is the youngest child of William Thornhill, convict-turned-landowner on the Hawkesbury River. Her stepmother calls her wilful, but handsome Jack Langland loves her and she loves him. 'Me and Jack', she thinks. 'How could it go wrong?' But there's an ugly secret in Sarah's family. That secret takes her into the darkness of the past, and across the ocean to the wild coasts of New Zealand.

Among the strangers of that other place, she can begin to understand. Kate Grenville takes us back to the early Australia of The Secret River and the Thornhill family. This is Sarah's story. It's a story of love lost and found, tangled histories and how it matters to keep stories alive.

©2012 Kate Grenville (P)2012 Canongate Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Kimberly
  • Pinole, CA, United States
  • 10-18-12

Absorbing, first-rate historical novel

What a great book! Read a glowing review of it in the NYTimes and the audio book did not disappoint. The story is a continuation of Grenville's "The Secret River" - also a great listen - and I really recommend reading/listening to that first to get the full impact of this story. What a compelling character Grenville has crafted in Sarah - I rooted for her, my heart broke for her and I was uplifted when she was uplifted. Emma Fielding does a top-notch job of capturing Sarah's unique voice and making it her own - no play-acting here, just real feeling. Excellent all around.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • Winston Hills, Australia
  • 05-08-12

Very interesting

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sarah was my favourite character, perhaps as she was the main one.

What about Emma Fielding’s performance did you like?

She had the accent down pat. She was engaging and interesting to listen to.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes. but I didn't like the ending

Any additional comments?

Loved listening to this book, especially as it was about the early days of the Hawkesbury river and beyond. The ending was disjointed from the rest of the book though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story

Would you consider the audio edition of Sarah Thornhill to be better than the print version?

Can only listen unable to read for long

What other book might you compare Sarah Thornhill to and why?

The Secret River because this is the sequel

Have you listened to any of Emma Fielding’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not heard her before

If you could rename Sarah Thornhill, what would you call it?

I consider the name correct

Any additional comments?

A great story rarely listen to a book twice but this one I did and enjoyed it again

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The story continues

A great continuation of The Secret River. Sarah Thornhill is a terrific book which captures the essence of colonial Australia.

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  • Story

A good read

Sarah Thornhill was a good read and it followed on from a revious novel by Kate Grenville, the Secret River. It was well narrated by Emma Fielding. I loved the characters and the way the story unfolded.

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  • Story

great listen

Great story line , follows on from Secrete River. I love the way it was read also.

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  • Story

not bad

Great Narrator. Story was a bit disappointing. Could have been more. ending left me short.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Oh God, the Emotional Joy of this Listen!

Would you listen to Sarah Thornhill again? Why?

I felt myself walking along not wanting to miss even one sentence Sarah Thornhill spoke. So refreshing, the insight of author Kate Grenville into human nature. A fast paced story. The editing is near perfect. The tale is sprinkled with details that cause a smile, anger, concern . . . I was drawn into their lives. Thank you Kate Grenville and especially the reader Emma Fielding. She is just too wonderful.

What did you like best about this story?

As the story moved on, the remarks of quirky human foibles were so genuine. The interaction of Emma with her childhood friend Jack (and later lover) was so lovely. The characters were so clearly developed . . . there values, their morality or immorality. These issues were the story, but not in a stuffy way.

Which character – as performed by Emma Fielding – was your favorite?

Emma Fielding talked for all characters, but her beautiful Australian speak as she expressed herself as Sarah Thornhill, Oh, her portrayal was beyond convincing. She WAS Sarah Thornhill. There is no empty spaces in this book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, indeed. Sarah Thornhill became my friend, I loved to listen to her talk (actually Emma Fielding) and felt her moments of emotion, desire to be free, suffer emotional heart ache and disappointment.

Any additional comments?

I look forward to Grenville's next story. I am sure she will be a favorite for many.

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  • Overall
  • Katie
  • 12-27-12

Good

I was pleased to come across this follow up to 'The Secret River', having enjoyed listening to it. Whilst it's not quite as good as its prequel, it is still definitely good and worth a listen. About the relationships between the native aborigines and the settlers, it highlights changing attitudes, and just how poor these relationships could be.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Maddy
  • 10-27-12

A poor sequel

I thought this a poor sequel to the Secret River. Far too long is spent on the teenage passion of the eponymous heroine in the first part of the novel and I almost gave up in boredom. The tale eventually picks up although it lacks the pace and drama of the Secret River and doesn't make up for it in depth.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 07-26-14

Racism and humanity in emerging Australia

While not quite as powerful as "The Secret River", this is a moving and impressive sequel, following after the River and "The Lieutenant".

Sarah Thornhill grows up, establishing her own relationships, challenging the racism of her parents, and uncovering dark secrets of violence and oppression. This book explores the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal communities and highlights the violence, suppressed and hidden, but all pervasive and powerful.

This is a story about love, compassion, first loves, growing up, care, respect for culture, and humanity ... along with dispossession, racism, dark secrets, violence and denial. It helps explain elements of Australia - outwardly free and fair, inwardly guilt-ridden, shamed and developed on the back of violent dispossession.

Movingly written and read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Susie
  • 11-13-16

Dreary

Pleasant sorry but spoken with undertones of despair when, at times, there could have been joy. Rather a bleak story but made moreso.

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  • alison
  • 07-01-15

OK follow up

I loved the Secret River and was looking forward to continuing the story, unfortunately this book didn't quite deliver, it lacked the punch of the previous books. The story starts off well enough, the characters are strong, but it just seems to lose its way somehow. There was too much emphasis on Sarah's attempts to attone for her father's wrongs. The story had built up beautifully to the point where Sarah meets her estranged brother and discovers her father's dark past, then it seems to rush along disjointedly. Was it really necessary for Sarah's character to travel all the way to New Zealand with Jack, I understand Grenville was trying to "complete the circle" but I just didn't feel it worked. And as much as I enjoyed following Sarah's story I would have loved to have seen the grandchild's character explored more.
That said I still enjoyed it and finished it in a day. The book works as a stand alone novel, but I would recommend reading/listening to the Secret River first as it does help build a picture of those early days of colonisation in New South Wales.
Emma Fielding's narration was very good, and worked well with the story.