Aussie Book Review: Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman

ember Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman


Review copy provided by publisher

Hachette, August 2013

 Synopsis- A riveting story of secrets and scandal

1890: Orphaned as a small child, Tilly Kirkland found a loving, safe home with her grandfather in Dorset. But nineteenth-century England is an unforgiving place for a young woman with limited means and as her grandfather’s health fails, it seems perfect timing that she meets Jasper Dellafore. Yet her new husband is not all he seems. Alone in the Channel Islands, Tilly finds her dream of a loving marriage is turning into a nightmare.
2012: Bestselling novelist Nina Jones is struggling with writer’s block and her disappointing personal life. Nothing is quite working. After a storm damages Starwater, her house on Ember Island, she decides to stay for a while and oversee the repairs: it s a perfect excuse to leave her problems behind her on the mainland. Then Nina discovers diary pages hidden in the walls of the old home. And a mystery unravels that she is determined to solve.
Though the two women are separated by years, Starwater House will alter the course of both their lives. Nina will find that secrets never stay buried and Tilly learns that what matters most is trusting your heart.

Review- Though I’ve heard a lot about her alter-ego Kim Wilkins, Ember Island is the first Kimberley Freeman novel that I’ve picked up… and it won’t be the last. This is a very engaging novel that spans across two time-periods and examines the life of newleywed Tilly Kirland in the 1890s and bestselling novelist Nina Jones in 2012 who are both drawn to Starwater House on Ember Island.

In 1890, England, Tilly Kirkland is an orphan and at the end of her beloved grandfather’s life she marries Jasper Dellafore, a wealthy man she believes loves her and will provide for her. But when she arrives at his run down home she discovers he is nothing like the well-dressed man who wooed her in Dorset. Instead, he’s a man with a secret, a crippling debt and in fact has little regard for her at all. Tilly soon discovers she was a mean to an end and makes a split second decision to save herself from this life and flees her home and her husband, adopts the name of Chantelle Lejeune and begins a new life in Australia. She arrives on Ember Island, accepts the position of governess to the prisoner superintendent Holt’s daughter, Nell.

In 2012, Nina Jones escapes to her home in Ember Island which is in need of repairs following storm damage and her former tenants abandonment. She feels the pressure of completing a sequel to her bestselling Widow Wayland mystery, but she doubts her legitamacy as a writer and fears her secret will be uncovered. The diary pages hidden in the walls of her home create an obsession within her to find more, to uncover the story behind her grandmother and to inspire her next novel. When a reporter starts asking questions, Nina secludes herself further and sets up home in Starwater, determined to complete her novel. Her handyman, Joe and his son find an unexpected place in her heart but she resists the desire to allow them in completely.

Ember Island is a novel full of intrigue, engaging characters and mysteries that draw me in as a reader and prompted me to keep turning the pages to discover what will happen next. I’ve discovered a new Australian author and I can’t wait to track down her backlist. Actually, I do have Wildflower Hill sitting on my TBR shelf… I must get to that soon!

Tomorrow, Kimberley Freeman stops by The Australian Bookshelf for a quick Q&A. Make sure you check it out!

Overall Rating


“I loved this book!”

Ember Island can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers

This book was read as part of the AWW2013 challenge:



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