BOOK CLUB: The Lost Valley

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Author: Jennifer Scoullar
ISBN: 978-1-925827-00-2
RRP: $32.99
Publication Date: 27th August 2018
Publisher: Pilyara Press
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Lost Valley is the second book in The Tasmanian Tales trilogy by Jennifer Scoullar but it is one that I think would stand on its own merits if you came to it without having read Fortune’s Son. It has been so long since I read the first book, and I no longer have the time to go back and re-read, that I don’t remember it clearly so it wasn’t fresh in my mind and that didn’t make a difference. I will be interested to read what our members thought if they hadn’t read Fortune’s Son.

Tom and Harry Abbott are orphaned in 1929, at 10 years old, when their parents are killed in tragic circumstances. They can’t stay in Hobart so they are sent to live with their estranged grandmother, Isabelle Abbott, in the Binburra ranges. The move allowed the boys space to grieve, and to grow. Tom fell in love with the wild woods surrounding his new home and made the most of the room to roam and explore. Harry grew a festering resentment towards his twin and a wildness that would not be tamed.

The Abbott twins are as different as twins could be, and they always have been. Harry was the apple of his father’s eye with his interest in maths and the family businesses where Tom was more interested in aviation and books. The bond Harry shared with his father was much stronger than Tom’s, who shared a special bond with his mother. They both missed their parent’s terribly but it was Harry who vowed to track down the person responsible and seek vengeance.

The Lost Valley spans decades and watches over many changes in the world, yet it is a much smaller page count than I would have expected. The twins grow up in the remote Tasmanian mountains and instead of the isolation bringing them closer it seems to allow cracks to form in their bond and rivalries to grow.

Isabelle Abbott was quite reclusive when she took on the boys, retreating into herself after the death of her husband. Her time with the grandsons she had been estranged from helps to bring her back to life, reignite her passions for life and for conservation.

Once again Scoullar has penned a tale of the untamed Tasmanian wilds, the plight of the Tasmanian tiger and the fight that conservationists and naturalists put up to protect the natural habitats and the process of creating National Parks. This environmental side of the story is deftly woven into a tale of sibling rivalry, love, jealousy and romance against a backdrop much bigger than the Tasmanian forests.

Six years in the mountains and finally things come to a head, it’s clear that they need more than can be offered at Binburra so they head into Hobart. Tom meets Emma, a girl about his age with similar ideals, and they spend some time together until she needs to race home to a sick mother. Harry finds a job and stays on in the city while Isabelle and Tom return to their mountain home.

The Lost Valley is the tale of Tom and Harry through the years of apprenticeships, the second world war, love, courtship, marriage and tragedy. It is a tale of sinister rivalry between brothers and the resounding effect bad blood can have for years, the lengths that some will go to.

Scoullar has penned characters that are real and relatable in situations I don’t even want to fathom. This was a story that definitely set me on an emotional roller coaster.

Emma was a young girl who had to step in when her mum had a stroke, leaving her studies and her job behind; as well as her volunteer work in the Zoo. She was left to support her family, do all she could to support her mum’s recovery and in the end she also had to find work. She found herself in a horrible position with very few options and she did what she had to do for her family. She was young and naïve but she was also strong and resourceful. She was an admirable young lady who had to face far too much in her life.

The Lost Valley takes us far from the valley and into Hobart, London and the middle of World War II where a pilot with nothing left to lose risks it all. This is a story that paints a vibrant picture of the Tasmanian mountains and tells an intriguing tale of twins ripped apart by resentment, jealousy and greed.

The Lost Valley is an historical saga that will capture your heart and your imagination. I would recommend it to fans of intricate family drama, passion and romance with an environmental vein.

I love the ending, and it has left me wanting to know what comes next. Not a cliffhanger must know but a sneaky little tease that leaves it open for another book a decade or two down the track. I will be interested to see where it goes from here, but I’m also satisfied with the way it all wrapped up.

The Lost Valley is #37 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2018.

Jennifer Scoullar can be followed on Facebook, and Twitter.

The Lost Valley is published by Pilyara Press and is available now through Booktopia, Angus & Robertson Bookworld and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Pilyara Press 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading The Lost Valley so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

21 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Lost Valley

  1. A spectacular addition to any library is the novel ‘The Lost Valley’ by Jennifer Scoullar. A tremendous thank you to Beauty & Lace and Pilyara Press for supplying this book for review.

    Not a large book but it’s certainly packed with drama. Ultimately the story of twin brothers, Tom and Harry Abbott who lose their parents tragically at the age of 10 and are raised by their nurturing grandmother in a rural property in Tasmania’s wilderness.

    Such complicated relationships these two very different boys have. Their stories continue on into adulthood, World War II fighting, their respective romances and marriages. The author presents really gritty characters, the reader learning intricate details of the twin boys and their chosen partners. How people’s lives divert through life and find their way back to their true loves.

    Elegantly portraying the beauty of a pristine Tasmanian landscape and the unexpected connection with the existence of the Tasmanian Tiger.

    It is a book of life, turmoil, strength of character, resentments, resilience and love.

    Giving it the highest of recommendations.

  2. What an amazing book to receive as my introduction to Beauty and the Lace!

    Set in the early part of the last century, it is the story of the Abbott twins, Harry and Tom, and how different twins can be. They both had many bumps in the road, but they both were drawn to their childhood home “Binburra’. One wanted the farm for its potential wealth and the other had hopes to save some of the last remaining Tasmanian Tigers.
    Greed, love and death all featured throughout the book and helped to tie it all together.
    Having not read the first book of the series, “Fortunes Son’, I was worried that I wouldn’t pick up the story straight away, but as soon as I finished the first page, I couldn’t put it down! (And I then wanted more! So I quickly purchased fortunes son, which was just as amazing!)

    Jennifer Scoullar was able to vividly write the environment that the story was based in, and often felt that you were also walking alongside the Tasmanian Tigers! She has reinvigorated my hope that there may be some tigers in the far South West of Tasmania!

    I would HIGHLY recommend reading the story!

    I hope there is more to the Tasmanian Tales!


  3. A really good read about twin brothers whose circumstances and reactions to events in their lives end up giving them very different lives.
    The author gave a very vivid description of Tasmania in the early 20th century. Including the early environment movement and particularly the Tasmanian Tiger which linked several of the characters.
    It was such an easy and interesting read that I did it in two sittings

  4. 4.5***** Thanks to Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pilyara Press for providing me with an ARC of this fabulous book.

    This book certainly put my emotions through the wringer, being an empath I tend to really feel for the characters I connect with in books and Jennifer doesn’t shy away from putting her characters through some highly emotional and trying situations. This is the second book in the series, though it can be read as a standalone.
    This story covers quite a few years, concentrating on the lives of twin brothers Tom and Harry who couldn’t be more different from the other. Set in Tasmania and stretching to the UK during WW2 we follow these boys who become men as they pursue their dreams, fall in love and fight the demons they’ve carried with them.
    Focusing once again on the protection of the environment, we fall in love with Binburra and its flora and fauna.
    The ending of this book was very enjoyable and hopefully we get to visit this family and the land again somewhere in the future.

  5. The Lost Valley by Jennifer Scoullar is the second book in The Tasmanian Tales, but don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book (Fortunes Son) it’s completely standalone.
    After reading Fortunes Son (also thanks to Beauty and Lace) it was nice to read the next one, The Lost Valley follows on a good 20 years later from where Fortunes Son ended.
    Ten year old twins Tom and Harry Abbott are left orphaned after a tragedy that claims their parents, the troublesome twins are sent to live with there Grandmother at her remote property Binburra in Tasmanians wilderness.
    Although twins the boys couldn’t be more different, sweet caring Tom loves nature and has a strong connection with his grandmother, Harry is very competitive especially with Tom, he also harbours a dark side which grows as he gets older. There different natures and circumstances lead the brothers to having a falling out and as World War II starts they lose all contact.
    Both brothers fall in love and marry two vastly different women, but have they married the right women for them.
    The brothers reunite again, can they put aside for there differences and heal their rift, especially as Binburra reveals its long held secrets which has the potential to forever separate them.
    I enjoyed reading The Lost Valley, although maybe not quite as much as Fortunes Son, some of the story line was predictable but there were a couple of twists I didn’t quite see coming.
    Thanks to Pilyara Press and Beauty and Lace for the chance to review The Lost Valley.

  6. The Lost Valley is full of drama with love and lost of love ones. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster ride with the story I enjoyed it.
    The Tasmanian tiger and the zoo animals were good to read about in the 1929s.
    We have Harry and Tom who are very different from each other Harry has a temper Tom is gentle they both love Emma but Emma has her own troubles trying to live.

  7. The Lost Valley has drama love and the lost of love ones. I found the story to be a rollercoaster ride I like the story about the zoo, Tasmanian Tiger.
    We have two brothers who are very different from each other Harry has a temper Tom is gentle they both fall in love with Emma but Emma has her own problems trying to live in the 1929s.
    A good read you wont be bored with this one.

  8. Absolutely loved every little bit of this book!! Have always been fascinated with the Tasmanian Tiger and I really do hope that they do exist exactly as described by the book in a little forgotten corner in the tasmanian wilderness! The magical , mystical tale of this wonderful beast is just a part of the wonderful story! The characters are so real so human so full of life with their frailties and strength in times of hardship. The complex relationship between the two brothers is brilliantly told. The book brings to life Tasmania just before and after the second world war. My favourite bits of the book is at the family homestead Binburra as the author really brings to life the richness and solitude and magic of the Tasmanian bush.
    A thoroughly entertaining read on so many levels! Really glad I got to review this book!!

  9. I really loved this story and found that even though this is the second book in a trilogy it is great as a stand alone book and you dont have to worry that you have not read the first book.
    The story is set in Tasmania in the 1920’s. Twins, Tom and Harry end up living with their grandmother in her homestead Binburra. Tom is very kind and gentle while Harry is one thats not so trustworthy. The boys have their battles which dont end as they enter adulthood. Tom’s attraction to the beautiful Emma is something he holds close to his heart and he feels that she is his special love but things happen in Emma’s life and she has to leave to care for her mother but even so Tom feels that in time they will reunite.
    This story takes many turns and really is a fantastic read. I loved how we heard about the Tasmanian Tiger and the zoo.
    I would very much love to read the other two books in this series.

  10. Tom and Jack Abbott are orphaned at the tender age of 10 under very sad circumstances. After boarding school and money of no concern they are placed in the charge of their paternal grandmother who has had nothing to do with the twins after being estranged from the family many years ago.
    The twins are like chalk and cheese with much animosity,jealousy and greed along with their goals being very diverse. Tom is quiet and passionate in continuing with his grandmothers legacy of maintaining the natural environment of her property Binburra as well as being as free as a bird and flying whilst Harry is entrenched in rebuilding his fathers empire and being rich along with other things.
    The story is set in the first half of the 20th century encompassing the depression , ww11, the desperately poor and what they do to make a living and of course their love lives.
    I loved this well written book from start to finish being totally unaware that it was the 2nd book in The Tasmanian Tales. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pilyara Press for the opportunity to read and Review this great book.

  11. The Lost Valley is a superb novel by an amazing writer.

    This is the first time I have read the works of Jennifer Scoullar
    but wow this was outstanding. Jennifer has the ability with her
    writing to take you there and make you feel a part of it, it’s
    almost magical.

    This is set mainly in Tasmania stretching to the UK and back.

    It is the story of twin boys, Harry the troubled twin and Tom the gentle
    twin who were orphaned at ten years of age in dramatic circumstances.
    There is much rivalry between these two boys as they grow from children into men.

    They are taken to Binburra in the southern highlands of Tasmania where
    their grandmother Isabelle resides.

    After a while they visit the township of Hobart and they meet up with Emma,
    a working class girl who wants to become a doctor. Emma is there through their teens and into adulthood and becomes a very strong likeable character in this story.

    Life and war turn all their dreams upside down with a whole lot of heartbreak and pain but also joy and hope.

    Your emotions will be stretched as you enjoy this drama in a beautiful setting of enchanting environment and animal life that is so brought to life by the author.

    From the first page you will be transfixed as I was.

    Thank you so much to Pilyara Press and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this wonderful novel.

  12. The Lost Valley is the second book by Jennifer Scoullar in the Tasmanian Tales series. I had read the first book in the series, Fortune’s Son’ last year, and when I saw another book by Jennifer Scoullar, I jumped at the chance to read it. While you can read ‘The Lost Valley’ in isolation, I would recommend reading ‘Fortune’s Son’ first as it does give more to the background of the characters, and I believe that you will get more from the book (apart from ‘Fortune’s Son’ being another excellent book to read).

    The story is mostly set in Tasmania, and follows the lives of twin boys who are orphaned when they are only 8 years old. They meet a girl called Emma when they are young, and it then follows her life too. It is written so sensitively and beautifully that I never wanted the story to end.

    Intertwined within the first plot, is the story of the plight of the Tasmanian Tiger (or Thylacine). This was done so expertly so we as readers are able to learn about the history of this amazing animal. I felt deeply saddened to read about this creature, and know that the early immigrants brought about the extinction of this unique animal.

    I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, romance, Tasmania and our native animals. To Jennifer Scoullar, please write more in this series. I can not rate this book high enough. I loved reading it.

  13. What an interesting read!

    I have not read the prequel to this book but would love to, I found the characters interesting and the storyline exciting. The historical element and reading of the Tasmanian tiger was fantastic.

    Would highly recommend this book for a great read

  14. The Lost Valley by Jennifer Scoullar was a very enjoyable read with many twists and turns, and some natural history education thrown in. The main characters are twins, Tom and Harry, raised by their grandmother from the age of 10 years, in the remote Binaburra ranges in Tasmania. The boys both develop a connection with the property, but for different reasons. The story focuses on their lives, and their women and their rivalries. A book you can’t put down.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace club and Pilyara Press for the opportunity to read this book.

  15. The Lost Valley by author Jennifer Scoullar is the first book I have read by her and look forward to reading more of her books.

    The Lost Valley is set in the Tasmanian Highlands. The story is set around the lives of Tom and Harry Abbott who are orphaned when tragedy strikes their family. They are then to live with their grandmother Isabelle at Binburra. They meet a girl, Emma when they are young and the story also then follows her life too.

    The story follows all three lives of Tom, Harry and Emma and the different paths they take. With Tom and Harry’s family relationship falling apart, Tom leaving and going to join the Air Force and leaving Tasmania. Harry who works in the shipping industry and wanting to get the family business back stays in Tasmania. Emma moves to Launceston to look after her unwell mother. From here Emma moves into the world of servings gentlemen’s needs in a Madam’s house trying to earn money to look after her mum and brother. As time goes by Harry tries to rekindle a friendship with Emma, and finds out what she is really doing and in time marry. Tom and Harry still have no contact. Tom is injured in the War and undergoes much treatment for substantial burns, and unfortunately his wife Kitty a movie star does not support him.

    Eventually Tom comes back to Tasmania with Kitty to check out his grandmother’s property and has contact with Harry and Emma. When Harry and Kitty meet life takes a further change. You will need to read the story to really see what happens or love or money!

    I really enjoyed the story and would highly recommend.

  16. The Lost Valley is the second book in The Tasmanian Tales series by Jennifer Scoullar. While I hadn’t read the first book Fortune’s Son, this didn’t affect my reading of this novel, as past elements from the first book are easily linked into this novel.

    The story begins in 1929 and follows twin brothers Tom and Harry, who are sent to live to live with their estranged grandmother after being orphaned. Growing up in the remote and wild Binburra Ranges, Tom develops a love for the wild landscape, while Harry harbors a growing resentment towards his twin brother.

    Set against a background of Tasmanian wilderness, WWII, Hollywood and a Hobart of yesteryear, this family saga is cleverly intertwined with the environmental plight facing Tasmania during those years.

    The ending, while not a cliffhanger, has left me eagerly anticipating the next novel in the series. A brilliantly engrossing and well-written story!

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace, and Pilyara Press, for allowing me to review this novel.

  17. Thank you once again for the opportunity to read The Lost Valley it was an exceptional read and it didn’t matter that I hadn’t read the first one – Fortunes Son – although I definitely will be chasing it up.
    The Lost Valley centres around twin brothers Tom and Harry Abbott and the tragedy that befalls them and then their respective lives with the introduction of Emma to their lives, the rift in their relationship and then the preservation of the Tasmanian Tiger. The Lost Valley follows their ups and downs and then culminates in an edge of the seat conclusion.
    4.5 stars for me I thoroughly enjoyed it – thank you Jennifer Scoullar I definitely will be on the lookout for more of your stories

  18. This was a fabulously well written novel!
    Huge congratulations to Jennifer Scoullar.

    The novel was set in the 1920s with young twin brothers tragically loosing their parents.
    The story sees them grow up into men and how their lives drift apart from greed and hatred.

    The characters are based in Tasmania and set around the War.

    In the novel you learn of a young girl, who faces poverty but will do anything to help her mother, even if that means selling herself.

    The novel has 3 strong characters, it keeps you interested and begging you to read more!

    I loved this book. Can’t wait to read more!

  19. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have read and review this book.

    The Lost Valley actually surprised me. I must admit I was a little hesitant about it, unsure whether it was really going to capture my attention but I was so wrong!

    Within days of starting, I was messaging Jennifer Scoullar to discuss certain aspects! I am a massive Tasmanian Devil fan so fell in love with those scenes and also love the idea that there are potentially still Tasmanian Tigers in existence.

    Some of the treatment of animals made me sad and mad, as did some of the characters especially in regards to the way they treated others, but there were also characters I loved!

    I now want to go back and read the first book in the trilogy. Highly recommended!

  20. Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pilyara press for the opportunity to read and review The Lost Valley by Jennifer Scoullar.

    This is the second book in The Tasmanian Tales by Scoullar, the first being Fortune’s Son which I was also privileged to have had the opportunity to read and review. Embarrassingly, I did not realise until I saw a comment by Michelle from Beauty and Lace that this was the second book in a series! On a positive note however, it does mean that this book clearly is able to be read and thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone book.

    The tale begins in extraordinary fashion. A beautiful scenario of a couple in love celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary, crystal vases crammed with roses, a silver ice bucket with her favourite French champagne, oysters and poached salmon as the sun sets, an evening dancing to their favourite tunes in the drawing room, just the two of them, the twins away at boarding school, staff having the night off. The perfect evening, oh, apart from the first paragraph of the tale:

    “Mr Robert Abbott, close friend of the Premier and Hobart’s most prominent businessman, was forty-one-years old when he took a rifle and shot his wife in the head. He then turned the gun on himself.”

    Suddenly for 10-year-old twins, Henry (known as Harry) and Tom, their world is turned upside down. The official line is that a mysterious intruder burst into the family home blasting their parent’s lives from them. As a result, they have been removed from boarding school and sent to live with their father’s mother Isabelle, the black sheep off the family who they haven’t had any contact with since they were four, at Binburra, her remote homestead in the Tasmanian highlands.

    We watch as the boys grow into young men with very divergent personalities, Tom loves the rugged landscape, Harry feels trapped and begins to develop a growing resentment towards Tom, culminating in an incident that nearly costs Tom his life and sets in motion a lifelong division between the twins.
    In addition to the boys, Scoullar also develops the characters of 3 women who will have a significant impact on Harry and Tom’s lives. Their father’s mother Isabelle, who ran off with another man leading to a long estrangement from the rest of the family, Emma, who idolises Tom and shares his deep love of animals, and Kitty, an actress beauty who sees Tom as the perfect accessory as she breaks into Hollywood.

    As the mountains of Tasmania and Binburra yield up their long-held secrets, events from World War II have a cataclysmic effect on Harry and Tom’s lives and relationships.

    Scoullar’s love of Tasmania is again evident in this tale, as is her fascination with the Thylacine, the presumed extinct Tasmanian Tiger. A wonderfully written book that leaves you enraptured by her descriptions of the environment, riding a roller coaster of emotions as you experience the lengths Emma is forced to go to in order to provide medical help to her beloved mother, and the unforeseen impacts this will have on her life, the highs and lows experienced by Harry and Tom and the impact that their parent’s untimely death has on them.

    A highly recommended read. I give it 4.5 stars.

  21. The Lost Valley by Jennifer Scoullar was the favourite book I have read during the past year.

    It follows the lives of twins Harry and Tom from a young age, after the sudden death of their parents. The boys are taken into the home of their grandmother on a property in Tasmania. The storyline is quite fast paced and I really liked this, as often I can find myself getting bored if the story is stuck in the same place for too long.

    Before you know it, Harry and Tom have grown into young men both trying to find their place in the world. However there is tension between them from childhood issues that were left unresolved and this transcends into their future.

    There is a unique relationship to the natural Australian environment and particular that of Tasmania and the elusive Tasmanian Tiger.

    Jennifer Scoullar kept my attention throughout the book, touching on elements of romance, war and the struggle to find ones identity and passion in life.

    I would highly recommend ‘The Lost Valley’ and will be looking up the other books in ‘The Tasmanian Tales’.

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