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August ended up being an extremely busy month, with birthday celebrations, family visits, footy carnivals, school sports day and university assessments, but I somehow still managed to get through 3 books for the month!
The Shanghai Wife – Emma Harcourt
The Shanghai Wife is the debut novel from Australian author Emma Harcourt.
Annie flees from her lonely past in Australia to China with her husband Alec, where she enjoys life on the river with her ship captain husband until being sent back to the safety of the International Settlement in Shanghai. She finds the settlement stifling and oppressive, and befriends the local Chinese servants and explores the real Shanghai. However, Shanghai in the 1920’s, while under white Imperialist rule, is a dangerous place with simmering political tensions. The death of her husband, a forbidden love affair and a surprising plot twist had me enthralled until the end.
The cover art of this book is beautiful, and I liked the continuation of this within the book on the chapter pages. The writing is descriptive and conveys the characters, scenery and emotions within the book so well. I don’t know much about China in the 1920’s, so it was interesting to learn about it with the storyline set around historical events from that time through the perspective of a young and intrepid Australian woman. I also loved that the story is inspired by the author’s grandmother’s experiences of living in China.
The Lost Valley – Jennifer Scoullar
The Lost Valley is the second book in The Tasmanian Tales series by Jennifer Scoullar. While I hadn’t read the first book Fortune’s Son, this didn’t affect my reading of this novel, as past elements from the first book are easily linked into this novel.
The story begins in 1929 and follows twin brothers Tom and Harry, who are sent to live to live with their estranged grandmother after being orphaned. Growing up in the remote and wild Binburra Ranges, Tom develops a love for the wild landscape, while Harry harbors a growing resentment towards his twin brother.
Set against a background of Tasmanian wilderness, WWII, Hollywood and a Hobart of yesteryear, this family saga is cleverly intertwined with the environmental plight facing Tasmania during those years.
The ending, while not a cliffhanger, has left me eagerly anticipating the next novel in the series. A brilliantly engrossing and well-written story!
The Vault: A Thomas Security Novel
I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book all year! The Vault is first in the Vault Series to be published, and follows on from the James Thomas series by Australian author Brooke Sivendra.
James is drawn back into the game by the CIA, who want him to do one last job in exchange for his and his team’s freedom. However, the vault of secrets is about to be opened, exposing them all.
There is so much more I want to write, but I don’t want to give the story away! Brooke has a fabulous writing style, and keeps the twists-and-turns coming throughout the novel.
If you haven’t read any of Brooke Sivendra’s books before, grab yourself a free copy of the first James Thomas book, Escanta, here.
For more fantastic books and authors, check out all my reviews here!