Set in 1932 during the depression, this novel follows Ernie, Lily and their daughter Girlie, who have just moved to the town of Dongarra in Western Australia for a new start. Leaving their old town of Perenjori behind them, along with financial misfortunes and bad memories. They take little with them, having lost almost everything, but the one thing that does follow them are their secrets. Ernie has grand plans to set up a summer guesthouse but underestimates the difficulties of attempting to rebuild in a small established town. Lily attempts to align herself with the right people in the Country Women’s Association, however, all her efforts may have come undone when her brother Tommy, who is living with his own war demons, shows up in the small town.
Kali Napier has used elements of her own background and family history to create an intricate and engaging novel. Although this is Napier’s first novel, she comes across as a much more experienced writer with her lovely prose, authenticity and a plot that has you reading to the final pages to uncover all the secrets. It is evident that Napier has undertaken a vast amount of research into her novel incorporating various themes, plots and descriptions pertinent to that era.