The Secret River by Kate Grenville

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Synopsis

In 1806 William Thornhill, an illiterate English bargeman and a man of quick temper but deep compassion, steals a load of wood and, as a part of his lenient sentence, is deported, along with his beloved wife, Sal, to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. The Secret River is the tale of William and Sal’s deep love for their small, exotic corner of the new world, and William’s gradual realization that if he wants to make a home for his family, he must forcibly take the land from the people who came before him. Acclaimed around the world, The Secret River is a magnificent, transporting work of historical fiction.
 

About Kate Grenville

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Kate Grenville's works of fiction include The Secret River, winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book and short listed for the Man Booker Prize, and The Idea of Perfection, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in Sydney. Visit her website at kategrenville.com
 
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 358 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret River

Kirkus Reviews

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William adapts to this strange new environment, following the examples of other convicts and fortune-hunters, and stakes out a parcel of land (shaped, with fine symbolic irony, like a man’s thumb), grandly naming it Thornhill’s Point.

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The Guardian

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We often talk as if "sympathy" were the sure symptom of a reader's satisfaction, the evidence of a character - usually the "hero" or "heroine" - brought successfully to life.

Jan 30 2009 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

The Guardian

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Such details are there to win the reader's confidence, but the knowledge will also earn its keep later in the novel, when Thornhill has to master a new river in a new land.

Feb 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

The Guardian

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In chronicling the life of transported felon Will Thornhill, Grenville also charts the early settlement of her native New South Wales, skilfully highlighting the brutality of an enterprise which, half incidentally and half by design, laid waste the land, lives and culture of the region's aborigin...

Jan 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

The Guardian

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There isn't much underlying moral ambiguity in this book: the costs of settlement are appalling, which makes Thornhill its villain, even while he carries its sympathetic weight.

Jan 21 2006 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

Publishers Weekly

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Grenville's Australian bestseller, which won the Orange Prize, is an eye-opening tale of the settlement of New South Wales by a population of exiled British criminals.

Mar 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

Entertainment Weekly

In the absorbing novel, The Secret River, loosely based on Kate Grenville's family history, London criminal William Thornhill, convicted of stealing lumber, is banished in 1806 to His Majesty's penal colony in New South Wales.

Apr 26 2006 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

The Sydney Morning Herald

THE SECRET RIVER Sydney Theatre, January 12, until February 9 USING dust, smoke, ash, ochre, the vibration of piano strings and the odd milk crate, director Neil Armfield, designer Stephen Curtis and composer Iain Grandage translate the rich detail and drama of Kate Grenville's novel into a mo...

Jan 14 2013 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

Historical Novel Society

The Secret River follows the life of William Thornhill, born into the working class of London in the late 1700s.

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BooksPlease

Every now and then I read a book that completely captivates me and transports me to another world and The Secret River by Kate Grenville is one of those books.

Jul 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Secret River

Reader Rating for The Secret River
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