The Secret River

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Canongate U.S., 2005 - Fiction - 334 pages
10 Reviews
The Orange Prize-winning author Kate Grenville recalls her family's history in an astounding novel about the pioneers of New South Wales. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the story of Grenville's ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people. London, 1806. William Thornhill, a Thames bargeman, is deported to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. In this new world of convicts and charlatans, Thornhill tries to pull his family into a position of power and comfort. When he rounds a bend in the Hawkesbury River and sees a gentle slope of land, he becomes determined to make the place his own. But, as uninhabited as the island appears, Australia is full of native people, and they do not take kindly to Thornhill's theft of their home.

The Secret River is the tale of Thornhill's deep love for his small corner of the new world, and his slow realization that if he wants to settle there, he must ally himself with the most despicable of the white settlers, and to keep his family safe, he must permit terrifying cruelty to come to innocent people.

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Review: The Secret River (Thornhill Family #1)

User Review  - Glenn T. Ryan - Goodreads

The Secret River follows the life of young convict, William Thornhill, and his progression from a Thames waterman to a convict in colonial Australia. Will wants nothing more than to own his own patch ... Read full review

Review: The Secret River (Thornhill Family #1)

User Review  - Glee - Goodreads

Heart-breaking, difficult telling of the early settlment of New South Wales (now Australia) by English convicts. As horrifying as it gets at times, it feels like an emotionally truthful telling. The ... Read full review

Selected pages


A Clearing in the Forest
A Hundred Acres
Drawing a Line
The Secret River
Thornhills Place

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About the author (2005)

Kate Grenville was born in Sydney in 1950. She currently lives in Sydney.

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