Anna Romer’s first novel is full of dark secrets that linger in Thornwood House, an abandoned homestead in rural Queensland.
When Audrey Kepler inherits Thornwood House it provides her with an opportunity to leave her past behind and create new beginnings. Once the childhood home of her former husband, Thornwood House has sat derelict for many years.
As Audrey attempts to bring the home back to its former glory she discovers photos, letters and a diary that reveal the sinister history of the home. A photo of World War Two medic, Samuel Riordan, peaks her interest unravelling a mystery from long ago. Keen to discover her former husband’s hidden ancestry Audrey delves deeper into the past.
Audrey discovers that Samuel Riordan was accused of killing a young Aboriginal woman on his return from the war in 1944. More deaths follow, all from the same family, all with similar traits.
As Audrey becomes more obsessed with the past, her daughter Bronwyn connects with a grandmother she never knew she had. Bronwyn latches on to her new family as well as her newly acquired best friend Jade. Audrey’s motherly instincts begin to kick in as she attempts to shield her daughter protecting her from her father’s shady past, but everywhere they go in the small community of Magpie Creek Bronwyn is a constant reminder of her father and his sister. A family steeped in tragedy.
Romer’s sense of place is vivid in her haunting tale set to the backdrop of the rugged Australian landscape. She flits successfully between two time frames, 1946 and 2006, as she weaves mystery and romance together. Beautifully told, Romer immerses the reader in her tale of mystery.
Thornwood House is out now, published by Simon & Schuster, $24.99. It has been selected for the Top 50 Books You Can't Put Down Get Reading! campaign.
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