BOOK CLUB: Jewel Sea

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Jewel Sea by Kim Kelly is a historical tale that entwines three tales into one relatively short story, I hadn’t checked it out completely so wasn’t expecting it to end quite as soon as it did.

Another thing I didn’t realise going in is that this story is based on the actual disappearance of the SS Koombana in a cyclone, that may well be where the basis ends but still an interesting point to note.

Irene Everley is a young woman dreaming of more out of life than is generally expected from a woman of her class at that time. She’s not happy to just find a husband, sit at home and breed. Irene wants to travel, and write and have a career but she’s not quite sure how to begin pursuing those dreams.

She’s on her way to the family property in the Kimberley with her long-time friend and assistant Marg. We learn a lot about Irene and the behaviour she engages in that is completely unbecoming of a young woman of her class but I thought was really quite natural.

Irene is just one of our main characters, and some of the secondary characters actually play quite a major role in the culmination of the story. Jewel Sea brings together a cast of characters that are not all that they seem, we learn about their public and their private personas as all of the threads are woven together in an intriguing story of a time long since past.


I found it quite difficult to get immersed in the story, it seemed to be quite a slow build up but I’m having the same issue getting involved in the next one so perhaps it’s just me at the moment.

Jewel Sea is an intriguing tale in that one of the characters is not human but has a voice and a personality and emotion, it was interesting to follow the unfolding of that thread and see where it led.

Greed, theft, betrayal and fraud were as prevalent in 1912 as they are now and revenge was still satisfying, though sometimes hard to stomach.

You will be entranced by the way all the strands of this story come together, and the significance of pearls to so many of the major players in our story.

Jewel Sea is book #46 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.

Thanks to The Author People 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading Jewel Sea so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I look forward to hearing what our readers think.

11 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Jewel Sea

  1. Jewel Sea starts off slowly. I struggled a little until I had read a few pages. Initially I did not realise that part of the narrative is told by Miya (the pearl)
    This is a short book and tells of 3 people and the impact that Miya has on them.
    It is set on board the steamship Koombana. In the early 1900’s This steamship was actually lost during a cyclone.
    This is a very colorful book, 3 people with secrets and one thing in common

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