Review copy provided by publisher
Simon & Schuster, September 2014
Synopsis- When all that you know comes crashing down, do you run? Or face the truth?
Ruby Cardel has the semblance of a normal life – a loving boyfriend, a fulfilling career – but in one terrible moment, her life unravels. The discovery that the death of her sister, Jamie, was not an accident makes her question all she’s known about herself and her past.
Travelling back home to Lyrebird Hill, Ruby begins to remember the year that has been forever blocked in her memory . . . Snatches of her childhood with beautiful Jamie, and Ruby’s only friendship with the boy from the next property, a troubled foster kid.
Then Ruby uncovers a cache of ancient letters from a long-lost relative, Brenna Magavin, written from her cell in a Tasmanian gaol where she is imprisoned for murder. As she reads, Ruby discovers that her family line is littered with tragedy and violence.
Slowly, the gaps in Ruby’s memory come to her. And as she pieces together the shards of truth, what she finally discovers will shock her to the core – about what happened to Jamie that fateful day, and how she died.
A thrilling tale about family secrets and trusting yourself…
Review- Lyrebird Hill is the second novel by Australian author Anna Romer that portrays mystery, family drama, romance and an ambiguous crime; plot characteristics established in her debut novel Thornwood House. I loved Romer’s first book and I was thrilled when I discovered the release of Lyrebird Hill and thankfully, this story doesn’t disappoint.
The discovery of her boyfriends’ infidelity and the passing comment of an old neighbour’s perspective on a childhood loss is the catalyst for major change in Ruby Cardel’s life. For the first time since childhood she begins to fight for the truth and she gains a momentum from her longstanding passivity to uncover the exact nature of her sister’s death eighteen years prior. In doing so, she unsettles her mother, the town and her own relatively comfortable life. The story alternates between Ruby’s point of view and that of her long-lost relative Brenna Magavin whom she finds a connection with through a series of letters.
Romer is a master of characterisation and plotting in her stories which is a rare combo to find all at once. She not only creates mystery and intrigue by sparking curiosity in the reader but she makes the reader actually care about what is happening for the characters. Typically a character like Ruby who is both passive and comfortably avoidant of conflict would really annoy me… but Romer did such a great job at setting up the way in which Ruby deals with relationships that I was able to empathise with her immediately. Once the drive kicked in to uncover the truth I completely warmed to her character, as I too wanted to know the truth. Ruby grows immensely throughout this story.
The subtle romantic development between Ruby and a childhood friend was also handled sensitively and realistically and definitely served its purpose in this story. On the other hand, the twist at the end involving her ex-boyfriend did seem a little far-fetched in my opinion- a little more fitting with the typical crime fiction genre- but it was well plotted out anyway.
Highly recommend this author!
Lyrebird Hill can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers
This book was read as part of the AWW2014 challenge: