Book Review: The Banksia Bay Beach Shack by Sandie Docker

The Banksia Bay Beach Shack…

About the Book:

A year is a long time in the memory of a small town. Stories get twisted, truths become warped, history is rewritten.


When Laura discovers an old photo of her grandmother, Lillian, with an intriguing inscription on the back, she heads to the sleepy seaside town of Banksia Bay to learn the truth of Lillian’s past. But when she arrives, Laura finds a community where everyone seems to be hiding something.


Virginia, owner of the iconic Beach Shack café, has kept her past buried for sixty years. As Laura slowly uncovers the tragic fragments of that summer so long ago, Virginia must decide whether to hold on to her secrets or set the truth free.


Young Gigi and Lily come from different worlds but forge an unbreakable bond – the ‘Sisters of Summer’. But in 1961 a chain of events is set off that reaches far into the future. One lie told. One lie to set someone free. One lie that changes the course of so many lives.

Welcome to the Banksia Bay Beach Shack, where first love is found and last chances are taken.

A moving and heartfelt story by the bestselling author of The Kookaburra Creek Café and The Cottage At Rosella Cove.

My Thoughts:

Sandie Docker has a unique ability to tap right into the very depths of human nature: the good, the bad, the hopeful, and the hopeless. Whilst creating authentically realised characters, she also breathes life into her small-town settings, giving readers a colourful and quaint backdrop for some seriously considered themes drawn directly from modern Australian society.

There are some terrific characters that make up the cast of The Banksia Bay Beach Shack. I really enjoyed the dynamics that played out, the friendships that stretched across time and the new ones that were developing. Laura, the main character, was particularly well crafted. Lost in her grief for her grandmother, she focuses on uncovering a secret from her grandmother’s past as a means of working through her loss. I could totally understand this way of coping. Along the way, she upsets quite a few apple carts, and so the story unwinds, drawing us in with alternate views on the present day and what actually happened long ago in the past. I did wonder if the mystery would actually live up to the substantial build up; it definitely does!

This novel has a lot going on but Sandie paces her plot well, building the momentum for some fairly incredible and highly meaningful scenes towards the end. There are some shocks, some heartbreak, and some disconcerting realisations about Australian society from our not that distant past that beg deeper contemplation within the context of our society today. I highly recommend this one far and wide. There really is something in it for everyone.


Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of The Banksia Bay Beach Shack for review.

About the Author:

Sandie Docker grew up in Coffs Harbour, and first fell in love with reading when her father introduced her to fantasy books as a teenager. Her love of fiction began when she first read Jane Austen for the HSC, but it wasn’t until she was taking a translation course at university that her Mandarin lecturer suggested she might have a knack for writing – a seed of an idea that sat quietly in the back of her mind while she lived overseas and travelled the world. Sandie first decided to put pen to paper (yes, she writes everything the old-fashioned way before hitting a keyboard) when living in London. Now back in Sydney with her husband and daughter, she writes every day.

The Banskia Bay Beach Shack
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released 17th March 2020

6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Banksia Bay Beach Shack by Sandie Docker

  1. I have both of Sandie’s previous novels sitting on my shelf courtesy of my sister and her new one will be joining them soon, I just have to find the time to read them!! This sounds so good, hopefully I get there sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s