About the Book:
A moving and heart-warming story about taking risks and finding a new lease on life, by the bestselling author of The Banksia Bay Beach Shack.
Is it ever too late to rewrite your own story?
In 1950, teenager Anne flees Wattle Island for the big city, where she learns that establishing the life she’s always dreamed of isn’t as easy as she thought. When a secret she’s been keeping is discovered, she has no choice but to retreat home and live a quiet life. But when tragedy strikes, establishing the Wattle Island book club is the only thing that offers her solace.
In 2018, spirited librarian Grace has been writing bucket lists since she was a child, and is ticking off as many challenges as she can now that life has handed her a hefty dose of perspective. Heading to Wattle Island on one of her adventures, she is determined to uncover a long-held mystery surrounding the town’s historic book club, unlocking a buried truth that has been trapped between the dusty pages of secrecy for years.
All too aware of how fragile life is, Anne and Grace must come together to help the residents of Wattle Island find the bravery to move beyond the trauma that tore the book club apart. Budding relationships offer new hope, along with a library project for the town’s future – but it will take more than a few lively literary debates to break the silence and heal the past.
Welcome to the Wattle Island Book Club, where some chapters may end, but others are just beginning…
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released 31st August 2021
A new release from Sandie Docker is always welcome. Her stories are perfect for book clubs, the range of issues she explores and the way she weaves secrets into communities provides the perfect fodder for long discussions over tea and cake. It makes perfect sense to me that her latest release is a book about a book club! This novel is very much a tribute to the love of books, sharing them and discussing them, passing them on to one another, and drawing comfort from them. It pays homage to libraries and the vital role they play in keeping people connected. I adored the book discussions within this novel and loved the care and attention to detail that went into the selections for the book club. Book lovers will love this – and it really shone through just how much of a book lover the author, Sandie Docker, must be as well.
I have read and enjoyed all of Sandie Docker’s novels to date, she is a guaranteed good read for me. Her novels offer a lot of depth in terms of issues explored and character development. The narrative in this one swings between 2018 and the late 1940s, post-war Australia, an historical period that is of particular interest to me. Issues of xenophobia and misogyny merged to produce a compelling historical narrative. I particularly liked the friendships that were born out of this era. Where the novel fell down for me was in the contemporary narrative, specifically the ending. To give details would simply spoil the book and I’m not a fan of doing that for anyone. Suffice to say, the entire ending relating to Sam and Grace rang hollow for me. I liked them both as characters and had a lot of empathy for each of them, but I think that friendship is underrated in contemporary fiction, and I honestly feel like it would have been a better way to go in this instance. There were too many factors at play for both characters and I just felt that the direction the author went in was far too implausible for so many reasons.
The Wattle Island Book Club is recommended for fans of contemporary fiction and romance, along with those who enjoy reading books about books.
Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.
You can read other reviews on this book by visiting the blogs below.