Saturday, 9 January 2021

Book Review: The Last Truehart by Darry Fraser

The Last Truehart
Darry Fraser


Publisher: Harper Collins 
Imprint: Mira-AU
Publication date: 2nd December 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 416
RRP: $29.99AUD 
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty & Lace book club 
About the book
1898, Geelong, Victoria. Stella Truehart is all alone in the world. Her good-for-nothing husband has died violently at the hands of an unknown assailant. Her mother is dead, her father deserted them before she was born, and now her kindly Truehart grandparents are also in their graves.

Private detective Bendigo Barrett has been tasked with finding Stella. He believes his client's intentions are good, but it is evident that someone with darker motives is also seeking her. For her own part Stella is fiercely independent, but as danger mounts she agrees to work with Bendigo and before long they travel together to Sydney to meet his mysterious client where they discover more questions than answers.

What role do a stolen precious jewel and a long-ago US Civil War ship play in Stella's story? Will sudden bloodshed prevent the resolution of the mystery and stand in the way of her feelings for Bendigo? It is time, at last, for the truth to be revealed...
My review
This was my first book by Australian author Darry Fraser and I was drawn into Alice and Stella's story from page one. Darry Fraser's writing is descriptive and powerfully evocative.
I love reading Historical Fiction set in Australia and The Last Truehart did not disappoint.
Stella is alone after the recent death of her beloved grandparents. Her mother had died years earlier and she had never known  her father. She did have her dear close friends Constance and Isabella Leonard. These young women were great characters, women before their time, confident and full of life, declaring they didn't need a man to complete them.
PI Bendigo Barrett is hired by his Sydney client to find Stella. Bendigo finds himself enamored by the outspoken Stella but he can see a vulnerability behind her tough exterior. however after an abusive marriage Stella is reluctant to open her heart to any man.
Their journey to uncover the mystery of her father is fraught with danger and by the time it is all uncovered more than one life will be lost.
I enjoyed the contrast between the way of life in country Bendigo and Ballarat with that of the characters living in Sydney. 
Darry Fraser effortlessly weaves historical events throughout including lively debates around women's votes and talk of the coming federation of Australia.
The Last Truehart is filled with treachery, murder, family secrets, hidden riches, a dying man's confession and a touch of romance making it a must read for historical fiction fans. 
4.5/5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½ 
Meet the author
Darry Fraser's first novel, Daughter of the Murray, is set on her beloved River Murray where she spent part of her childhood. Where the River Runs, her second novel, is set in Bendigo in the 1890s, and her third novel The Widow of Ballarat, takes place on the Ballarat goldfields in the 1850s. In The Good Woman of Renmark, she takes us to the rural riverland of South Australia, while Elsa Goody, Bushranger, journeys from South Australia into Victoria. Darry currently lives, works and writes on Kangaroo Island, an awe-inspiring place off the coast of South Australia.
Challenges entered:
Aussie Author Challenge  #AussieAuthor21
Historical Fiction challenge #HistFicReadingChallenge 


  1. Followed you here from the Historical Fiction 2021 reading challenge.
    Historical Fiction set in Australia - can't say I've read that before. The closest I came to is Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, but that's set in New Zealand. Glad you liked this one so much, and I'd be interested to know your recommendation for newbies to Australian historical fiction.
    ~ Lex (

    1. A few I enjoyed were Meg Keneally’s The Wreck, Victoria Purman The Women’s Pages, Judy Nunn’s Khaki Town, Mary-Anne O’connor’s In a Great Southern Land and Pamela Hart’s The War Bride. I do read mostly Australian Women writers and I really need to look into some male historical fiction authors.

    2. Saving these names up for checking out on Goodreads! Thanks a ton.
      ~Lex (

  2. This sounds pretty good, actually... maybe a bit too much thriller for me, but still... Thanks.

  3. I have this to read but I haven't done so! I am looking forward to it!

  4. I really enjoyed this one too, I've read all of Darryl's historical novels except her first one which is on my shelf. I really enjoyed the romance between the characters in this one.