BOOK CLUB: The Prodigal Sister

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I was very excited to dive into Darry Fraser’s latest book, ‘The Prodigal Sister.’

Set in 1900, Prudence North has traveled home to Melbourne from Scotland where she has been living with her uncle, aunt, and cousins while she furthered her education. When her uncle passed away, her aunt no longer welcomed Prudence in their home, and as her mother was sick she headed for home. 

When she arrived home, she had to deal with the passing of her mother from Huntington’s, an inherited and degenerative disease. Prudence is concerned to learn from Everard Bankston that her father is at risk of great trouble with the law, as he has been dabbling in illegal activities. 

Everard is a long-standing family friend and high-ranking police officer. He enlists Prudence’s help to spy on a Mr. Jasper Darke.  Prudence soon discovers that Mr. Darke is very good-looking, charming, and gentlemanly.  As much as she fights her emotions she finds she is falling for the handsome Mr. Darke.

But she knows that she can not allow herself to have these feelings as she is at risk of Huntington’s just like her mother. Prudence is well aware that if her father is charged with the crime that their family friend has said he is guilty of, then the family’s income will be at risk.

And it will fall to Prudence to earn the money to be able to look after her sister. To ensure that her family, as well as her future, is looked after she must find out as much as she can about Mr. Darke. When Prudence discovers the body of a man after hours at her father’s doctor’s clinic things start to become more intense and more and more questions run through her mind.

Why is her father not answering her questions?  Can she really trust Everard?  Is the Handsome Mr. Darke really not to be trusted?

I was instantly dragged into Prudence’s story and every time I thought I had it all worked out I was to be proven wrong. I hated to have to put this book down and just wanted to keep reading so that I could find out what was to happen next. 

This is a wonderful holiday read.

ISBN:  9781489294562
Copy courtesy of Harpercollins

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

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Prodigal Sister

  1. Darry Fraser always provides an entertaining historical fiction read. This new book tells the story of Prudence North who has not long returned to Melbourne from studying at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. Her father needs her support as her mother is suffering from Huntingtons and her sister is showing signs of the same disease . Her father is the local Doctor and Prudence is keen to follow in his footsteps but in the forensics of medicine, an unusual choice for a young woman of this period of time. Prudence is approached by a friend of the family and a high ranking police officer to gather information on a local wealthy landowner Jasper Darke or he will report her father for illegal medical practices.
    Prudence agrees as she worried her father will lose his licence and income. Prudence finds there is more going on than she realises when an unexplained dead body turns up in her fathers surgery.
    There is plenty of mystery, intrigue and suspense in The Prodigal Sister. I really enjoyed it. I love how the author portrays a strong willed and very determined woman as the protagonist.

  2. 1900, Melbourne, Victoria. Prudence abandoned her medical forensics studies overseas (very unusual for a woman) to come home to Australia to care for her mother and sister – both have Huntingdon’s Disease. In Prudence’s mind, she will also probably get the disease. Sadly this means she’ll end up with a similar fate, so she can never marry and definitely never have children of her own. So sad. Her mother passes away, but Prudence continues to care for her sister and father, who is a doctor, until she is blackmailed by a family friend – a policeman – to get some information on a certain man of interest to him, a Mr Darke. If she refuses this policeman will reveal certain things her father has allegedly been doing in his practice that will ensure his arrest – and no income for the family. With her sister so unwell, Prudence is in a complete dilemma. Then a dead body turns up in her father’s practice, totally unexpected. A murder! Prudence is torn. She believes her father hasn’t done anything wrong in his professional capacity, but the blackmail is also very real. And as she gets to know Mr Darke she finds him attractive and good and seemingly honest. There is a real mystery here, high stakes and danger, and I loved all the twists and turns in the plot – and there were many. I do love Darry Fraser’s books, she always features strong women, surprises (understatement), and they are chockful of Australian history without ramming it down your throat. This one emphasizes the plight of women overlooked in society because of difficult health situations, no wealth, or just because they’re a woman…
    With thanks to Beauty & Lace Bookclub and Mira for the review copy.

  3. I was delighted to be selected to read Darry Fraser’s The Prodigal Sister during my holiday break (great timing!). This Australian historical fiction is set in Melbourne. When Prudence returns home to her father and sister after her mother’s passing it is only the beginning of her turmoil. Prudence is headstrong, determined, and independent, a very likable character. Her studies in forensics will help her navigate through the many twists and turns that this story lends.

    The Prodigal Sister is an easy-paced and entertaining read. The author has covered some interesting historical themes.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace Book Club for the reading and reviewing opportunity.

  4. In a time where women and education was limiting, where jobs lay in teaching, governesses and cleaning, Prudence returned from studying abroad to her family. Her mother was very unwell due to Huntington’s disease and on her last days. Her sister sadly showing escalating signs of the same disease, Prue was needed home to help and support. Her dream was to study and go into forensics, but she was a woman.
    An odd encounter with police man Bankston gave her hope in putting her skills to work, but under threat of her family, of her father under investigation for illegal medical procedures. Torn Prue does all she can for her family. Little did she know all that would entail.
    Darry Fraser has the right levels of detail and carries you along well with this easy read. Some surprises along the way. A good book to sit under a tree or cuddled on the couch!
    Thanks to the author & beauty & lace for the opportunity.

  5. It was actually Beauty and Lace that introduced me to this genre that I had never read before and it was Darry Fraser’s Where The Murray River Runs, that got me hooked! So I am always excited to see new books coming from her!

    I just love her style of writing and the way she effortlessly pulls you into the story. I also enjoy the strong female leads that dominate her books.

    The Prodigal Sister is another fantastic Australian novel to add to your shelves, something to read over and over again.

    Overall a beautifully written, heart warming story thats hard to put down.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and HarperCollins for the chance to read and review another fantastic book by Darry Fraser!

  6. Another gripping story by Darry Fraser!
    Prudence North returns home from Scotland to find her mother in a rapid decline from Huntingtons disease and her sister deep in the grips of the disease as well.
    When family friend and high ranking police officer Everard Bankstown approach Prudence telling her, her father (a doctor) is in trouble with the law, and if she wants to keep him out of trouble she needs to spy on the mysterious Jasper Drake.
    Backed into a corner Prudence does just that but is very taken with the mysterious Mr Drake.
    Full of mystery and intrigue, I enjoyed reading The Prodigal Sister, thanks Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the chance to read and review.

  7. The Prodigal Sister by Darry Fraser takes it’s place on the top shelf with her other stunning books.
    Another strong female character who strives to take her place in the male dominated world she lives in.
    The difference class structure features strongly and the conventional roles for women in the 1900’s.
    Miss Prudence North strives to take her place in the male dominated world of forensic science after returning home from studying in Scotland.
    Valerie, her sister is suffering from Huntington’s Chorea – in the future known as Huntington’s Disease.
    Their mother died from this disease, that little is known about, and Prudence discovers that is is an inherited gene that is fatal and can be passed onto future generations.
    Prudence world is turned upside down when she realises she may have the gene.
    A high ranking Policeman blackmails her into looking for information against a gentleman by spying for him.
    He threatens to have her father charged for illegal practices and this will cripple his medical practice.
    Prudence will try her hardest to uncover the truth and clear her fathers name who she believes is innocent.
    We follow the journey of the North’s, Huntington’s impact on the family and the strength of Prudence and her beliefs.

    A wonderful read that is hard to put down.

  8. A fantastic story of family and how tough it was for women to follow their dreams to be educated in mainly male dominated jobs. Really enjoyed reading this book

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