Sunday 25 April 2021

Book Review: Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny

 Those Hamilton Sisters
Averil Kenny

Will their mother's scandalous past decide their futures?

Publisher: Echo Publishing
Publication date: 30th March 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Pages: 464
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Beautiful Esther Hamilton had a reputation in the town of Noah Vale. That was, until she ran away, twenty years ago, under a cloud of shame. 
It's now 1955 and following their mother's death, the Hamilton sisters have returned to Noah Vale to live near their aunt and uncle.

The eldest, Sonnet, has inherited both her mother's fiery hair and her independent streak. The middle child, Fable, at twelve-years-old, is a gifted artist and a dreamer. And three year old Plum, is anxious to please and notices everything.

As the years pass, the three sisters settle into small-town life, but suspicion and judgment seem to follow them wherever they go. And when Fable falls in love with Noah Vale's golden boy, is history destined to repeat itself.

My review

I think 2021 will go down as the year of the debut. The ones I have read lately have all been amazing and diverse in content and writing style. I love that there is so much talent yet to be discovered! Those Hamilton Sisters is no exception.

Averil Kenny's writing is lyrical and poetic. The setting of Far Northern Queensland is ethereal and haunting. Kenny has captured the wonder and seclusion of the area with perfection. She also highlights the danger of the wild storms, cyclones and floods and the relentless heat and humidity of a northern summer. I loved how the characters welcomed these dramatic changes in weather. It was a part of their life to celebrated not endured.

It's 1955, a time of conservative social values. Sonnet, Fable and Novella-Plum arrive in Noah Vale, recently orphaned, they will be living in a small cottage previously owned by their mother. Their Aunt Olive had inherited the family home after their mother was disowned and cast out of the town.
Sonnet, fiercely independent, capable and outspoken is the surrogate mother to Fable and Plum. Fable is wistful and dreamy, a budding artist, she is rejected by the other girls her age and spends her time in the rainforest sketching  and running wild with the boys. Aunt Olive wants nothing more than to smother the girls with love but first she must break through Sonnet's defenses. 
The story has its villains and heroes with each character richly drawn and integral to the overall story.

Averil Kenny has given her readers a coming of age story that incorporates small-town minds, a mother's legacy, misogyny, first love and above all, family.

The novel, spanning ten years, is written in three parts each headed by a quote from Jane Austen's Persuasion. It is then broken down into short chapters that reflect on important events in the girls' lives.

Those Hamilton Sisters is a sobering story of love, legacies and the strive for acceptance. This is one debut novel not to be missed!
5 / 5      ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Photo credit Goodreads
Averil Kenny grew up on a dairy farm and began work in the tourism industry at a young age. She studied Education at James Cook University, before completing a bachelor of Journalism at the University of Queensland. She currently lives in Far North Queensland with her husband and four children. When not dreaming up stories, she can be found nestled in her favourite yellow wingback chair reading and sipping tea, in her library overlooking the rainforest. Those Hamilton Sisters is her first novel.

Challenges entered:  Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2021

                                 Aussie Author Challenge #AussieAuthor21


  1. Another book that I received an advance copy of and thoroughly enjoyed. 5/5 from me and I have shared this book with my friends. Another author added to my list of faves!

    1. I loved this so much I bought Averil's next book The Girls of Lake Evelyn but I haven't had time to read it yet.