Those Hamilton Sisters is the debut novel of Australian author Averil Kenny, a historical fiction of loss, determination, love, and acceptance.
Whatever happened next, they’d face it together. It was what Hamilton sisters did.
1955, the recently orphaned Hamilton sisters, Sonnet, Fable, and Novella-Plum, leave their home in Canberra and move to Noah Vale a small town in rural Queensland to live at Hartwood cottage previously owned by their mother, Esther Hamilton.
Twenty years ago, Esther left Noah Vale in shameful circumstances, she had a reputation in the small town and was scorned. The girl’s Aunt Olive and Uncle Gavin live nearby in the inherited family home whilst keeping a careful watch over them.
Sonnet is made legal guardian to her younger sisters. She’s independent, forthright, and determined to raise her sisters differently from the life they were used to. During their upbringing, their mother had extreme moods swings from loving and caring to being very detached.
Sonnet is happy to put her life on hold to raise her sisters. Fable, twelve is a gifted artist, she spends most of her time drawing and daydreaming in the rainforest, while three-year-old Novella-Plum is full of innocence. The sisters have limited knowledge about their mother’s indiscretion, but the small town has not forgotten, the girls are faced with gossip and judgement as they try to settle into their new lives.
The novel follows the sister’s lives over a ten-year period whilst looking back on Esther’s past. Aunt Olive who had no children of her own is a great side character, she is supportive and wants to be the nurturing mother, a role she missed out on. Sonnet does not always agree with her which made the links between the characters very believable.
I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of the sisters and the paths they took which provided a deeper layer of entertainment, propelling the plot forward while unveiling character traits. From losing their mother and moving to a place where they were treated so badly, they had to stand up for themselves and put their best foot forward, hoping everything would turn out for the best.
With all trials they faced coming of age, they were determined to persevere. They never gave up, no matter what life threw at them. The strong bond between the sisters was undeniable.
The backdrop of this story brings nature to life. If you have not travelled to far north Queensland, through these pages you will be able to feel the heat in the summer and the humidity during the tropical downpours along with electric storms and cyclones.
There are not enough words to praise Averil Kenny. The Hamilton Sisters is an artfully crafted and cleverly plotted novel that draws the reader into the twisty events from the very first page. Filled with intrigue, passion, and drama, it is a mesmerizing story that explores the journey of three sisters. The general manner in which young women were treated at the time is skilfully captured in the story.
I will certainly be keeping a keen eye out for more works in the future from this talented author. This is a book that I can highly recommend.
Thank you Beauty and Lace and Echo publishing for the opportunity to read and review.
Author: Averil Kenny
Copy courtesy of Echo Publishing
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
My love of books started at a very young age. My mum has always been a reader and encouraged me to read, buying me endless book from classic fairy tales advancing to the world of Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, Kathryn Kenny, Carolyn Keene, Francine Pascal. In my adult years the list of authors is endless and every room in my house is filled with books.
One of my favourite novels is Narnia which has always has a special place in my heart. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1978 and when I was given this book to read it let me escape to another world where I felt like I was in the book with all the characters, it wasfun and exciting to escape from reality and eased the ups and downs of the disease at such a young age.
In books nothing is impossible and there is endless potential and hundreds of places to explore or being taken to places that are only made up from the authors’ great minds, the past and future to navigate, characters lives you step into taking you on an emotional rollercoaster ride or being scared out of your wits. I can experience things that I can’t in real life because they’re not possible or real. It challenges my perspective and mindset expanding my worldview.
I find joy, comfort and peace with books, many people may not get it, but I know bookworms like me truly understand. Reading makes my heart happy.