Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville: a Book Beginnings post

Book Beginnings Button

Book Beginnings on Friday at Gilion’s blog Rose City Reader is the place to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I’m currently reading Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville. It begins:

The Hawkesbury was a lovely river, wide and calm, the water dimply green, the cliffs golden in the sun, and white birds roosting in the trees like so much washing. It was a sweet thing of a still morning, the river-oaks whispering and the land standing upside down in the water.

They called us the Colony of New South Wales. I never liked that. We wasn’t new anything. We was ourselves. (page 3)

I heaved a sigh of relief when I read these opening paragraphs. They paint such a beautiful picture in the first paragraph – I love the peaceful image of a dimply green river reflecting the world upside down – and then the contrast of the strongly individual statements in the second paragraph. The narrator is Sarah Thornhill, a young girl at the beginning of the book, the youngest daughter of William Thornhill, who had been transported to Australia for stealing timber and whose story is told in Kate Grenville’s book The Secret River.

My sigh of relief is because recently I’ve been rather disappointed in my choice of books. Sarah Thornhill is the follow up book to The Secret River, a book I absolutely loved and I was concerned that this book wouldn’t live up to my expectations (see my previous post on Joanne Harris’s book The Lollipop Shoes).

I’m now over half way through the book and although it’s written in different style from The Secret River, so far it’s living up to its early promise. My sigh of relief is now a sigh of contentment.

13 thoughts on “Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville: a Book Beginnings post”

  1. I’ve never read anything by Kate Grenville but I do like the way that this book begins – can definitely picture the scene in my mind.

    Here’s my Friday Meme

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  2. The author paints such a lovely picture in her opening sentences that I want to read more. I like the way she showed the character’s distinct way of speaking too. Sounds like a terrific book.

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  3. I read this as soon as it came out because so far I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Grenville. This was no exception. Have you read ‘The Idea of Perfection’? Very different from the Thornhill books but still superb.

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  4. This beginning makes me want to read about Sarah Thornhill too. It fits in with my current obsession of reading books set in other times, other places as well. Thanks for the tip.

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