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Monday, January 24, 2022

Review: The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay

Title: The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay
Author: Julie Brooks

Publisher: 29th December 2021 by Hachette Australia

Pages: 387 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: historical fiction, women’s fiction

My Rating: 4.5 crowns


This darkly gripping dual-time debut, will transport readers from World War One England to present day Australia, with a thrilling story of family secrets to be hidden at all costs...

Two women set sail for a new life in Australia, bound by a secret that will change everything. The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is a gripping dual-time novel, with a wealth of twists, turns and secrets, and an absolute book club treat, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Rachel Rhys and Hannah Richell

England, 1919: Rose and Ivy board a ship bound for Australia.

One is travelling there to marry a man she has never met.

One is destined never to arrive.

Australia, 2016: Amongst her late-grandmother's possessions, Molly uncovers a photograph of two girls dressed in First World War nurses' uniforms, labelled 'Rose and Ivy 1917', and a letter from her grandmother, asking her to find out what happened to her own mother, Rose, who disappeared in the 1960s.

Compelled to carry out her grandmother's last wish, Molly embarks on a journey to England to unravel the mystery of the two girls whose photograph promised they'd be 'together forever'

My Thoughts

The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is a well written generational family drama. A historical narrative from the early years of the 1900s to WWI and then to the present day with family members seeking answers to strange occurrences. Was everything as it appeared in that smiling photograph of Rose and Ivy from 1917?

‘We all have our ghosts, dear. Some take human form, while others are as ephemeral as regrets.’

The story alternates between the dual time narrative of past and present and I am happy to say, I enjoyed both storyline’s. With the historical narrative an assured winner, I was excited to be so invested in the contemporary tale with Molly's (great granddaughter) efforts to unravel past mysteries whilst undergoing her own personal challenges.

‘She didn’t have to live the life that was expected of her. She could live an unexpected life. If she chose to. If she dared to reach out and make it so.’

In the past, the tale of Rose and Ivy - friends from a young age yet grow apart as a consequence of their different social standings - is one fraught with conflict and turmoil. Julie does a great job of leaving clues along the way as you seek to find out which of the girls will arrive on Australian shores. As stated, I enjoyed the current narrative just as much with Molly who is fighting her own demons as she seeks to find peace from her past. Despite readers possibly piecing together the mystery before its conclusion, I still feel that Julie included some unexpected twists that kept me fully engaged until the final chapter. 

‘History is the reason we are what we are. We can’t simply bury it and forget it.’

Julie Brooks first novel with this new publisher is a sure winner. It's a solid dual time narrative in inviting locations with strong characters and a worthy mystery. I was invested from start to finish and would recommend this to lovers of this genre. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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