I received a free copy of Ember Island from the publisher for my honest review.
About the Book:
In 1891, Tilly Kirkland is reeling with shock and guilt after her tempestuous marriage ends in horrific circumstances. Fleeing to the farthest place she knows, Tilly takes a job on Ember Island in Moreton Bay, Australia, where she becomes the governess to the prison superintendent’s precocious young daughter, Nell. Tilly knows she must keep the past hidden in order to start a new life, but she doesn’t know that Nell is watching her every move and writing it all down, hiding tiny journals all over their rambling manor home.
More than one hundred years later, bestselling novelist Nina Jones is struggling to complete her next book. A reporter asking questions about her great-grandmother sends Nina retreating to her family’s home on Ember Island, where she hopes to find her lost inspiration somewhere in the crumbling walls.
Though they are separated by years, both Tilly and Nina must learn that some secrets never stay buried, but what matters most is learning to trust your heart.
About the Author:
Kimberley Freeman was born in London and grew up in Brisbane, Australia. She is the bestselling author of Wildflower Hill and Lighthouse Bay, and teaches critical and creative writing at the University of Queensland. She lives in Brisbane with an assortment of children and pets. Visit her website at KimberleyFreeman.com.
I must admit to liking books with a premise like the one in Ember Island – a present heroine finding herself through the help of a past relative. It’s almost time travel but only through diary reading.
Nina is an author who is suffering from writer’s block and so she sets off to the titular spot to try and find a way to write again. I have to admit that Nina is a bit of a pill. Very hard to like and rather whiny. While visiting the family home she finds her grandmother’s diaries which takes the reader back in time to explore the story of Tilly, a young woman born in a time when women really had no control over their lives. Tilly marries but her husband is a louse and she finds herself running away for reasons I’m not going to share and she ends up on Ember Island as a governess to young Nell, the prison warden’s daughter and Nina’s great grandmother. As Nina learns about Tilly through those diaries she finds that perhaps some secrets need stay buried.
This is my first book by Ms. Freeman and I did enjoy it for the most part. It did drag in parts and it was confusing at times trying to keep the three women’s stories going in my head. They do all come together in the end but at times I was a touch lost. As I wrote Nina was not overly likable and Tilly was not the easiest of characters either. Nell I found the be the most developed and the one I enjoyed the most. Unlikable characters are part of life but Nina didn’t seem to grow, at least to me.
I enjoyed the parts in the past more than the ones in the present – I’m not sure precisely why. Perhaps because I just enjoy historical fiction more than I enjoy current fiction.
You can read an excerpt of Ember Island
You can purchase Ember Island on Amazon.com