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Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter: An Atmospheric Historical Mystery With a Courageous Heroine Intent on the Truth

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This is an outstanding debut novel that will capture the hearts of many readers, especially those who love historical fiction. However, the Starling doesn't come in until late in the day, and her father is not on board, he has gone missing and the assumption is that he went overboard, although rumours abound of murder and mutiny. For Eliza Brightwell, the quick-witted young protagonist of Lizzie Pook’s debut, “Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter,” the pearl rush makes a bracing change.

In that city, Nico Krispis is an 11-year-old Jewish boy whose blue eyes and blond hair deceive, but whose words do not. Lizzie Pook’s novel about a young woman in the 19th-century outback, “Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter,” examines the perils — moral, physical and otherwise — of the pearling industry. It was a dreary tale, and the only person with any integrity seemed to be the often nigh-suicidal Eliza. I found myself completely immersed in the rich, atmospheric, and riveting storytelling, in the time and place, the twists and turns, the vibrant and unflinching portrayal of the corruption, deceptions, blackmail, and violence that underpin the Bannin Bay community and the pearling business, the criminal underbelly, and the numerous unsavoury individuals. Her friend Min helped while a new friend, Axel, stayed by Eliza’s side, support and comfort in his manner.I also really liked Confucius, Gill the Bosun’s chatty and mischievous Cockatoo who provided some much needed light relief to the tense and more emotional scenes. Her family moves to Bannin Bay from London because of this new industry and opportunity to seek fortune with pearl diving. Though I could clearly visualise Eliza’s environment, I would have liked to learn more about the daily operations of a pearling fleet.

Moonlight and the Pearler's Daughter by Aussie author Lizzie Pook is a historical fiction set in Western Australia in 1886. If you’re a fan of historical fiction and nature (more particularly aquatic life or sea(side) settings), this one is definitely for you! She cannot even pester Thomas about it as he immediately heads off to another town saying he has business to attend to. The story of Eliza’s journey to find the truth of her father’s disappearance is not the strength of the story.I just wish there was more than one of those instances but honestly it’s just me nitpicking right now). Lizzie Pook is right up there with this totally immersive story, bringing mystery and subterfuge, and heart stoppingly thrilling journeys aboard storm ravaged pearl diving luggers. The writing is wildly atmospheric, creating a clear image of this strange, raw place where the Brightwells live. Further complications are numerous: North has control over the Ballard family's lease on their property; Rebecca is carrying the child of one of her rapists; Martha’s son was seen fighting with Joshua Burgess on the day of his death. The stench of death is a part of this coastal town, with the butcher of animals, fish, birds, and sometimes the humans that are considered less than human.

There can be conflict, the president of the Pearlers’ Association warns the Brightwells, between the bay’s “Europeans, Malays, Manilamen, Koepangers, countless Japanese.This is an astonishing debut from Lizzie Pook, Australian historical fiction set in the latter part of the 19th century with a memorable, strong and independent eponymous pearler's daughter in 20 year old Eliza Brightwell. The author's novel is based on actual Aussie history, and many of her characters are inspired by real historical figures.

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