Set in and around Adelaide in 1859, this story opens with the wreck of the sailing ship Admella, on Carpenters Reef, about one kilometre off the coast of South Australia. Combining history, fiction and science fiction, the author has chosen to focus on several likely characters who survived the wreck. George was a young deck hand who served meals and cleaned up in the galley, and this is about his later life and family.
George saw a young woman on the sailing ship just before it broke upon the reef. They survived for eight days together before being rescued. Later, when George’s wife is about to give birth to their first child, George sees the woman again. He thinks he sees her in his house, as he waits outside. Her name is Brigid, and she is always an uncomfortable presence at the back of his mind. He leads a comfortable life in the thriving town of Adelaide, but is never free of the horror he witnessed in the ship wreck.
The story continues to follow George and his family. His oldest son Henry is quite a strange lad, and besotted with scientific experiments, not realizing the potential for suffering in other creatures. Henry has his own secret which his father is horrified by, and his mother accepts stoically. It is in this comfortable, predictable story, that things take an unusual twist. Nothing is as it seems, both for the father and the son. The introduction of Brigid into the story again, shows her to be from another dimension, and how she connects and relates to both father and son.
As a storyteller, Jane has a unique method of blending fact with fiction and science fiction. It is a fact that the author is related to one of the descendants of that shipwreck, and has a fascination with the story. Her fleshing out of the characters and their thoughts is remarkable, while many of the episodes are not for the faint-hearted to read. It is unusual though to hear the suburbs of Adelaide mentioned, and to join the men at their pub in Pt. Adelaide.
|Distributor||New South Books|