BOOK CLUB: The Last Truehart

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The Last Truehart is Darry Fraser’s 6th published novel, and the 5th I have had the pleasure to read and review.  I love Fraser’s work and unashamedly admit to awaiting the release of each of her new novels with excited anticipation, and The Last Truehart did not disappoint.

The story commences in 1865 with the Confederates American warship the Shenandoah moored in the Williamstown dock in Victoria.  Alice Truehart and her fiance Leo Smith were down at the docks to see the ship sail. 

When Leo announced ‘And now, me darlin’ golden-haired beauty, … with the doleful brown eyes a man can never forget, I’m  just goin’ on board for another look.’ Alice should have known, but she could never have believed that the man she loved, the man she was to be married to that very afternoon, would enlist and desert her, and their babe that she carried.

1898, Alice Truehart-Smith is dead and her daughter Stella stands at the graves of her mother and grandparents, Ellen and Dr Henry Truehart. As she stands there she is disturbed in her musings by a stranger, an investigator, who introduces himself as Bendigo Barrett and advises her he has information about her father.

At the same time as Mr Barrett manifests in her life, Stella starts to get the feeling that someone is watching her, strange footprints in her garden, half caught glimpses of a person at the edge of her vision.

Meanwhile, Leo, Stella’s father had returned to Sydney and was residing in Manly with his wife and three children.  On his deathbed, the children are advised of another child, his firstborn whose mother he deserted when pregnant. 

Eventually agreeing to accompany Barrett to Sydney to meet the person who has contracted him to find her, Stella finds herself increasingly in danger as a mysterious jewel and its whereabouts take centre stage.

As information is discovered that threatens to tear Leo’s children’s lives apart, Stella finds herself increasingly drawn to Bendigo Barrett, but can she stay alive long enough to resolve the mystery of the missing jewel, and enable her to act on her feelings?

As always Fraser has written a book with strong female characters, and a plotline that grabs you and makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens next, at times with your heart in your mouth.  There is no doubt in my mind that Fraser’s skill as an author increases with every book she writes, already I can’t wait for her next book to be released!

Many thanks to Darry Fraser, Harper Collins Publishers (Mira imprint) and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review The Last Truehart. Highly recommended, I give it 4 stars.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Last Truehart by Darry Fraser. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 978 1489294548 / Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Australia

14 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Last Truehart

  1. The Last Trueheart. By Darry Fraser

    This Australian story is set in Victoria in the late 1800’s.

    Stella Trueheart, after the death of her Grandmother, is going through her late mother and grandparents papers and belongings, and finds a copy of her parents marriage certificate. Her father left her mother before Stella was born, and her mother never spoke about him. Stella’s curiosity is aroused, and at the bottom of the trunk, she finds a photo she has never seen before of both her parents.

    At the cemetery on the day of her Grandmothers funeral, Stella is approached by a man she doesn’t know, who says he has information about her father. Reluctant at first, Stella begins to trust Bendigo Barrett as he tries to find out if Stella is indeed the woman he has been hired to find. He believes the woman who hired him has good intentions, but danger lurks wherever Stella goes, and break-ins and odd happenings disturb even fiercely independent Stella.

    Together Stella and Bendigo travel to Sydney to meet the woman who hired him. Stella will learn much more about her father and the family he had in Sydney. Nothing is as it seems, and someone is after information that they think Stella has.

    The research that must have gone into this storyline shows that Darry Fraser enjoys writing historical novels, perhaps as much as I enjoy reading all she has written.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace Book Club and to Harlequin / Mira books for the chance to read this great book. I could not put it down, and it does not disappoint.

  2. The Last Truehart by Darry Fraser is a wonderful engaging historical fiction.

    It begins with Alice who is engaged to Leo and finds herself pregnant. Then on their
    way to get married Leo boards an American Confederate ship called the Shenandoah
    just to have a look but she never sees him again.

    Fast forward some decades and her daughter Stella is finally free from an abusive marriage
    when her husband dies suddenly in violent circumstances.
    Her mother and grandparents have all died and Stella finds herself totally alone.

    She meets Bendigo Barrett a private detective who has been employed by a Mrs Parkes to
    find Stella. He tells her that his client has information about her father whom she never knew.
    Although very independent, after a number of disturbing events, she agrees to be
    guided by Mr Barrett.

    This is a riveting story which involves mystery and romance and explores various issues at
    a time when women had few rights.

    This is such a remarkable and memorable novel by Darry Fraser with many twists and turns
    that I really wanted to keep reading and not put the book down but then I didn’t want it to
    end either. I will be looking for more novels from this author.

    Many Thanks to Mira Harper Collins and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review
    this book.

  3. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Harper Ollie’s for the opportunity to review ‘The Last Truehart’ by Darry Fraser.
    The book begins in 1865 where Alice Truehart stands at a Victorian port looking at the American ship ‘Shenandoah. She is waiting for her fiance Leo Smith who is eager to inspect the ship. She has told him she is pregnant and they are to be married that afternoon.
    Leo doesn’t return and sensible Alice (as she was known) returns to her parent’s home.
    The next chapter is set in 1898 and Stella (Alice and Leo’s daughter) is at the Geelong Cemetery where her grandparents and Alice are buried.
    As Alice has been gone for 6 years Stella has been very close to her grandmother Ellen.
    Stella has had a short abusive marriage to Lowry Haywood but all that is behind her, or so it would seem.
    At the graveside she is confronted by a private detective Bendigo Barrett who has been hired by a Mrs Parks to locate Stella.
    There is the question of the sketch of a precious jewel, this only adds to the mystery of why Stella and anyone else she knows seems to be the target of some violence.

    If you enjoy historical novels, intrigue and mystery with just a touch of romance then you’ll enjoy this!

  4. I’m sorry about the mis-spelling, the thankyou should go to HarperCollins, I have now turned off spell check which thought it knew best.

  5. The Last Truehart is the first Darry Fraser book I’ve read, I couldn’t put it down and will definitely be reading her other books!!
    The story follows Stella Truehart and detective Bendigo Barrett with many secrets and mysteries to keep you turning the pages, it features strong independent women.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace & Harper Collins for the chance to read and Review The Last Truehart

  6. The Last Truehart is my first read by Darry Fraser but won’t be my last!
    From 1865 beginning with a relationship between Alice Truehart and Leo Smith. A daughter, Stella, from this relationship to Leo’s life aboard the American ship Shenandoahand his children from his marriage. A private detective in Bendigo Barrett, mystery, searching, robbery and bloodshed all over a piece of jewellery. Romance!!! Do I make sense? No, because I don’t want to reveal what this amazing story has to offer before you get a chance to read it!
    It’s a great story to read to finish 2020 on.

  7. This book was a great read. Mystery and romance…a great holiday read! I couldn’t put it down. I really enjoy Australian historical novels based and this was no exception. I look forward to reading more of Darry Fraser’s novels.

  8. The Last Truehart by Darry Fraser is an Australian story set in Victoria in the late 1800’s.

    The story begins with Alice Truehart who is engaged to Leo Smith. They are on a Victorian port where Leo is eager to look on board the “Shenandoah”. He boards the ship, and this is the last time that Alice sees her fiancé who she was to marry that afternoon. She is also pregnant.

    From this relationship Stella their daughter was born. Stella never got to know her father. After many years and an abusive marriage, the sudden death of her husband Stella is finally free. Now Stella finds herself alone as her mother and her grandparents have all died.

    Her father Leo did marry and one of his children Mrs Parkes employs a private detective to find Stella. Bendigo Barrett is this detective, and he tells Stella that his client has information about her father. Being unsure what to do Stella who likes to keep to herself and not really knowing whether to follow up on her father’s family agrees to be guided by Bendigo and see what she can find out about her father.

    This is a remarkable story full of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages until the very last one!

  9. This was my first book by Australian author Darry Fraser and I was drawn into Alice and Stella’s story from page one. Darry Fraser’s writing is descriptive and powerfully evocative.
    I love reading Historical Fiction set in Australia and The Last Truehart did not disappoint.

    Stella is alone after the recent death of her beloved grandparents. Her mother had died years earlier and she had never known  her father. She did have her dear close friends Constance and Isabella Leonard. These young women were great characters, women before their time, confident and full of life, declaring they didn’t need a man to complete them.

    PI Bendigo Barrett is hired by his Sydney client to find Stella. Bendigo finds himself enamoured by the outspoken Stella but he can see a vulnerability behind her tough exterior. However after an abusive marriage Stella is reluctant to open her heart to any man.

    Their journey to uncover the mystery of her father is fraught with danger and by the time it is all uncovered more than one life will be lost.
    I enjoyed the contrast between the way of life in country Bendigo and Ballarat with that of the characters living in Sydney.

    Darry Fraser effortlessly weaves historical events throughout including lively debates around women’s votes and talk of the coming federation of Australia.
    The Last Truehart is filled with treachery, murder, family secrets, hidden riches, a dying man’s confession and a touch of romance making it a must read for historical fiction fans. 

  10. Thankyou Beauty and Lace and Harper Ollie’s for the opportunity to review ‘The Last Truehart’ by Darry Fraser. This is Fraser’s 6th book, I had previously read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the Widow of Ballarat. Both books ae set in Victoria in 1880’s
    The author is very good at research and the book rings true to its time. She cleverly weave some historical facts and events into the novel.
    It is a story of love and betrayal, treachery and murder. I was totally absorbed in the story and kept wanting to know what the outcome would be of the legacy left to Stella by her father
    The Last Trueheart is a great Australian novel and I recommend it to everyone.

  11. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review The Last Truehart.

    This was my first book by Darry Fraser, I struggled to get into it at first and had to put it down a few times to try again laster. I am glad I persisted as it was a really interesting read!

  12. Thank you to Beauty and Lace book club for the opportunity to read The Last Truehart by Darry Fraser – I have read a few of Darry’s novels and I thoroughly enjoy them.
    The Last Truehart is Stella and we follow her adventures to discover who her father was and the trials and tribulations she has to go thru to eventually make contact with his ‘new’ family with the help of a private detective Bendigo Barrett – the story takes place in Geelong, Bendigo and Manly and is set in the late 1800’s: a great 4* read.

  13. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review The Last Truehart.

    I did struggle at first to get into this book. I am a slow reader at the best of times but I persisted and I am so glad I did. A very interesting read. I love that Darry Fraser thoroughly researchers her books and includes Australian history throughout. A must read for fans of Darry Fraser and Australian novels.

  14. Thanks as always to Beauty and lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read The last Truehart.

    As a newbie to Darry Fraser I really wasn’t sure what to expect! I don’t read a lot of historical fiction so this for me was also a different experience.

    I overall enjoyed The Last Truehart. It was very easy to read, easy to follow and the characters were believable. A reason I don’t usually read historical fiction is because it often jumps back and forth during generations and I find that extremely hard to follow.
    The last Truehart did not do this to me which I really enjoyed.

    My favourite character was Bendigo, he seemed like such a genuine, down to earth guy that only wanted the best for everyone, including his sisters. Stella was also a great main character who I really liked.

    Although I hadn’t read any of Darry’s books before I will definitely keep an eye out for more, and have recommended to older ladies in my book club as I feel Darrys books would be great for the older reader.

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