The Secret River

Paperback | January 23, 2007

byKate Grenville

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A life of petty crime and poverty on the streets of 19th-century London sentences William Thornhill—along with his wife and children—to exile in the colonial outpost of Australia. But among the convicts of New South Wales there is a whisper of the possibility of freedom, away from Sydney and up the Hawkesbury River, for those who dare to stake a claim.

In a richly layered epic that recalls such international modern classics as The True History of the Kelly Gang, Kate Grenville tells the heart- renching story of a family in exile. Sweeping across the 19th century, from the teeming banks of the Thames in London to the hardscrabble frontier settlement of Sydney, Australia, The Secret River sets us down in an unforgiving land and masterfully confronts us with the brutal price of colonization.

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From the Publisher

A life of petty crime and poverty on the streets of 19th-century London sentences William Thornhill—along with his wife and children—to exile in the colonial outpost of Australia. But among the convicts of New South Wales there is a whisper of the possibility of freedom, away from Sydney and up the Hawkesbury River, for those who dare ...

KATE GRENVILLE was born in Sydney, Australia. Her bestselling novelThe Secret Riverhas won numerous international awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book. It was also a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Award.The Idea of Perfectionwon the Orange Prize for Fiction, Britain’s most valuable l...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.88 inPublished:January 23, 2007Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0006395384

ISBN - 13:9780006395386

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Customer Reviews of The Secret River

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent story telling & writing The second time I have read this, unusual that I would read anything more than once. Grenville is a talented writer and the story is both gritty and touching. Worth anyone's time.
Date published: 2014-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from History Brought to Life I read this this book for my Toastmasters Book Club. The author started out to write a book on her family history in Australia. She ended up with a fictional novel about the settlers of Australia based on her ancestors. This book was well written. The writing was not hard to read, but the subject matter made this a very heavy book to read. The terrible treatment that the native population of Australia received from the British settlers can hit home with those of us in North America. The story is told through the eyes of William Thornhill. A freeman of the River Thames who, through some bad luck, is sentenced to be hanged in London. He gets a chance to go to Austalia with his wife and family. In Sydney, he starts to build a life for him and his family. His actions bring him into conflict with the native population of Australia. The outcome is predictable and horrific. The lead character is very well developed. We feel his torment, fear and uncertainity. As a reader, I felt a great deal of empathy with his plight. The one thing I was a little disappointed with was that his wife's character was not well developed. We saw her though his eyes. She was a major part of the story and we did not hear her side of things. We only see her side though what her husband is suspecting that is on her mind. I enjoyed the book. It was a heavy read, but well worth it.
Date published: 2014-01-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The secret river Writing style not inclusive for the reader.often predictable.. a little boring.
Date published: 2013-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A riveting story. This is a riveting book. It's a fascinating story of a pioneer, and a fascinating story of the settling of Australia. Some parts are violent and disturbing, but Grenville portrays the reality of the British settlement of Australia. It's a book any of us living on "stolen" land (on any continent) should read.
Date published: 2010-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great story! I loved this book. It was disturbing in parts but it was a story that needed to be told. Based on historical facts, Kate Grenville did an excellent job of partly retelling her family story and also telling the aboriginal story of how Europeans claimed their land upon their arrival in the 19th century. Her companion book, Searching for the Secret River : A Writing Memoir, gives the reader insight into her thought process and her journey to tell this compelling story.
Date published: 2008-06-28

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Editorial Reviews

"A vivid and moving portrayal of poverty and struggle and the search for peace." (The Independent)