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

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

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

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I don’t read a lot of historical fiction but this one appealed because it is set in a time and place that I don’t know a lot about.

The setting of the story is a harsh landscape with strange and often deadly flora, fauna and sea creatures. There were a couple of sections where it could've been tightened up a bit or fleshed out more, but overall I really enjoyed this one. But in a town teeming with corruption, prejudice and blackmail, Eliza soon learns that the truth can cost more than pearls, and she must decide just how much she is willing to pay – and how far she is willing to go – to find it . All the characters in this book lead dark and constrained lives, and no one seems to have ever been happy, and will apparently never be happy.

I know that anything written about the 18th century (pretty much) is going to be pretty gritty, dark, and grimy, so I thought I was prepared for it, but the grit was the sand between Eliza's toes, the darkness the complete blackness of the furious sea at night, and the grime clung viscerally to bones and secrets. I wanted to feel more the atmosphere of the place and the rush for those famous pearls, and learning about the value of the pearls itself. Narrating the story is the Angel of Truth, whom according to a parable God had cast out of heaven and onto earth, where Truth shattered into billions of pieces, each to lodge in a human heart. When the ship finally sails in near dusk, its flag fluttering at half-mast, Eliza is told her beloved father disappeared overboard sometime during the previous night and is presumed dead. 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.

About the book: “For readers of The Light Between Oceans and The Island of Sea Women, a feminist adventure story set against the backdrop of the dangerous pearl diving industry in 19th-century Western Australia, about a young English woman who sets off to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her eccentric father. Her father is a pearl master, her brother works by his side, and Eliza is alone when they go on their ten week pearling expeditions. Sergeant Palmer, a brutal man, arrests the first convenient Aboriginal who will no doubt hang for killing Mr Brightwell. The pearl diving attracted Japanese and other Asians, although the power of the area was exclusively European.She's lonely but she knows she is so very much better off than the people who are abused, neglected, and used up until they are dead. The society ladies of Bannin cling to a puritanism, although their setting renders such primness absurd. In 1861, the largest known species of pearl oyster, Pinctada maxima, was found in bulk off the northern coast of Western Australia. At the train station where Jews are being jammed into cattle cars bound for Auschwitz, Udo gives Nico a yellow star to wear and persuades him to whisper among the crowd, “I heard it from a German officer. The writing is wildly atmospheric, creating a clear image of this strange, raw place where the Brightwells live.

I can’t tell you about it but it makes Eliza all the more determined to find her father - dead or alive! Many thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

The setting, habits and manner of speech were all very well done and I could feel the 19th century climate. Over the past ten years since they came to Australia from England, he has designed puzzles for Eliza to solve.

The book takes place in the 19th century in a brutal coastal town of Australia where pearling is one of the few ways to make a decent living. The story then shifts to 1890s when the reader finds out that Charles has gone missing from the logger during a recent pearling expedition. While I know what colonizers do to natives (as an Indian), the pearl diving community was new to me. Lizzie Pook's exquisite prose tugged me in and held me in the eye of the storm, my fingers tightly crossed for Eliza.

The colonizers enslaved the Aboriginal people, paying them poverty wages, forcing pregnant women to deep dive, some dying in the process.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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