Under the Midnight Sky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Publication Date: 1st may 2019
Format Read: Paperback - Advanced Reader Copy
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading Preview
When an injured teenager goes missing at a remote bushland campground, local journalist Abby Bardot is determined to expose the area’s dark history. The girl bears a striking resemblance to the victims of three brutal murders that occurred twenty years ago and Abby fears the killer is still on the loose.
But the newspaper Abby works for wants to suppress the story for fear it will scare off tourists to the struggling township. Haunted by her own turbulent memories, Abby is desperate to learn the truth and enlists the help of Tom Gabriel, a reclusive crime writer. At first resentful of Abby’s intrusion, Tom’s reluctance vanishes when they discover a hidden attic room in his house that shows evidence of imprisonment from half a century before.
As Abby and Tom sift through the attic room and discover its tragic history, they become convinced it holds the key to solving the bushland murders and finding the missing girl alive.
But their quest has drawn out a killer, someone with a shocking secret who will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.
Abby is still plagued by nightmares 20 years after her friend was murdered and found in a shallow grave in the gorge.
When a young girl from the area goes missing no-one is too concerned, runaways are all too common in Gundara. Abby is determined to search for this girl hoping she may also find answers to her friend’s murder.
Tom, internationally acclaimed author, has moved to Ravensong, a rambling and remote home in the bush surrounding Gundara. He wants to escape society after a very public and disastrous divorce. A fall from a ladder and a journalist after the interview of a life-time, bring Abby and Tom together.
I thoroughly enjoyed Under the Midnight Sky and was swept away in the remote countryside and the mysteries held in the gorge.
The apathy toward the low socioeconomic community in Gundara and the lack of action by the police in reference to the runaways was disturbing but understandable.
Little hooks of information are delivered to sink you into the story, making the mystery bigger and more compelling, with each new snippet.
The story is narrated in multiple perspectives often changing within a chapter. I usually find this type of narration confusing however Romer pulls it off by changing the scene as well as the narration.
The story holds mysteries within a mystery all layered on top of each other and centred around the murdered girls.
An underlying theme of love runs deep through the novel. The love of a sibling; shows Ennis not being able to let go of his sister, long after her death. With sisters Lilly and Frankie, Romer explores how far a person will go to protect someone they love. We can see Abby’s love for her alcoholic father, even though she denies it. Lil and Joe, an elderly couple nearing the end of their life, epitomise enduring love, not being able to imagine a time when they will not be together. And we also follow the burgeoning love between Abby and Tom.
Under the Midnight Sky is atmospheric and moving. Anna Romer is one of the great story tellers of our time.
My rating 4.5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐½
*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #8 in the Australian Women Writers challenge
Letter 'U' in the 2019 A-Z challenge
I have an advanced reader copy of Under the Midnight Sky to giveaway to one lucky reader.
Enter via the Giveaway form below.
|Photo credit: Goodreads|
Anna Romer was born in Australia to a family of book-lovers. She led a nomadic life for many years, travelling around Europe and Britain in an ancient Kombi van where she discovered a passion for history.
These days she lives in a little old cottage surrounded by bushland, writing stories about dark family secrets, rambling houses, characters haunted by the past, and settings that feature the uniquely beautiful Australian landscape. Anna's debut best-selling novel was Thornwood House followed by Lyrebird Hill and Beyond the Orchard.
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