BOOK CLUB: Those Hamilton Sisters

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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 Hamilton sisters

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
ISBN: 9781760686710
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.

6 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Those Hamilton Sisters

  1. It’s always sad when young children become motherless, and when this happens to the Hamilton sisters, they return to their aunt and uncle in Noah Vale, north Queensland. Prickly Sonnet, dreamy Fable and the very young Novella (called Plum). But the town hasn’t forgotten the ‘disgrace’ when their mother left, pregnant and unmarried, and whose baby she carried. The ‘sins’ of the mother are about to be visited on the children, in a hostile and challenging town (for shame). The book travels over a ten year period, dipping in and out while the girls grow up. Normally I’m not a huge fan of this sort of ‘saga’ but this book was compelling to read, and I truly wanted to see how the girls grew and (hopefully) flourished, despite the outdated hostilities from some in town. Never underestimate how special the legacy is of a mother’s love for her daughter, and a daughter’s love for her mother! Got a bit misty eyed at the end. Thanks so much to Beauty & Lace Book Club and Echo Publishing for the review copy.

  2. Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny is the story of three sisters who return to live near their aunt and uncle in a small town where their mother grew up. 20 years ago their mother ran away in disgrace, and her daughters are returning.

    The story covers themes like small town prejudices, how people have long memories, and hold grudges. The sisters have to find their own way, and try to become accepted in their own right.

    I enjoyed the story. As you got into the book you became involved with the characters, and there were some tears towards the end. I look forward to more books by Averil Kenny.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace, and Echo Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  3. Those Hamilton Sisters is a wonderful family saga set in the 1950 and 60s in Queensland. I enjoyed reading about the highs and lows of the three sisters who have to return to their mother’s home town following her death.

    The reader is taken on a journey with each sister trying to find their place in the small town – the scent of scandal around them – their relationship with one another, their aunt and uncle and their wider community.

    This book drew me in from the start, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes historical novels, family dramas or love stories – there is something for most readers. Congratulations to Averil Kenny on this debut novel. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Echo Publishing for enabling me to read this book – it’s a beautiful and quite heart-warming read.

  4. Those Hamilton sisters begins with three sisters, Sonnet, Fable and Plum when they return to their mother’s hometown after her death. Their mother Esther had left the small town of Noah Vale in disgrace. They return to their Aunt Olive and her husband Gavin and live in a small cottage their mother left them which is close by the large house of Olive and Gavin.

    Set in North Queensland at a time when moral and social attitudes were very strong and judgemental, the people of the town have long memories and are unforgiving with gossip and prejudices from years before.

    The Hamilton sisters are strong girls that show much tenacity and never give up no matter what. Sonnet especially shows herself to be independent, capable and outspoken.

    This is a complex and at times confronting novel with intrigue, drama and heartbreak with strong characters you will either love or hate.

    This is a superbly written story by Averil Kenny and I look forward to reading many more from her.

    I really enjoyed this novel and it will stay with me for some time.
    Thanks to BeautyandLace and Echo for the opportunity to read it.

  5. Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny is a beautifully written story about 3 sisters based in far north Queensland. After their mothers death the girls return to her home town of Noah Vale to live on the family property with their aunt and uncle. Their mother had left the town twenty years earlier in disgrace as an unwed mother-to-be.
    The eldest sister Sonnet is fiercely protective of the younger sisters but struggles with the balancing act between big sister and guardian. The middle sister Fable is happiest out in nature and we hear and read a lot about her life. We don’t read much about the youngest sister Plum.

    I really enjoyed reading this story – the writing was descriptive and emotional. I did find I struggled with the timeframe at certain points- some chapters followed on shortly after the last where others were a year or more later. Overall a great read and one I would highly recommend. I look forward to further books from Averil Kenny.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Echo for the chance to read this book.

  6. Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny was a terrific read.
    I loved reading about the 3 sisters Sonnet, Fable and Novella growing up in the 50’s in a small country town in Far North Queensland. They have just arrived at their mother’s hometown after her passing, to live in their inherited cottage next door to their Aunt Olive and Uncle Gav.
    I enjoyed finding out about their mother’s scandalous past and at how well Averil described the small towns judgement on the 3 girls as a result. How easily some children are led to believe and think what their parents tell them.
    I loved ‘watching’ the girls grow up through the chapters and thought that Sonnet was so incredibly independent and forward thinking. She reminded me of my grandmother, an amazingly independent woman who was born before her time also in Far North Queensland!
    Fable was delightful and I could visualise her pictures so well thanks to the writing talents of Averil! I adored her unwavering love and devotion.
    I would have loved to read more about Novella however, being so young I can understand it being hard to bring her into the storyline. Perhaps a sequel is needed! Hehe!
    Aunt Olive was another person I really loved, and I felt quite sorry for her in parts.
    This book was easy to read and you grew to love and hate the different characters. It does make you think about how long people can hold a grudge and how sad that is but small town communities can be extremely harsh like that.
    Thank you Beauty & Lace and to Echo Publishing for allowing me to read this, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and was happy with the ending. Now about that sequel…

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