Book Reviews by Kate Younie
Below Deck and The Safe Place
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Kate | Adelaide, AU | English & History Teacher |
Published by Allen and Unwin
Olivia is 21. She comes from a family in which she feels unloved and she has an unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend who does not deserve her. Oli feels lost, alone, adrift.
University is now over and Oli is set to start adulthood and a career she does not particularly like. But as fate would have it, one night Oli passes out on a boat and wakes up to meet its owner ‘Mac’. The decisions she makes after this chance encounter that follow will alter her course … straight into the depths of the ocean.
Oli falls in love with the sea and spends her days working on sailboats. She takes a job on a yacht with an all-man crew sailing from Noumea to Auckland. She becomes injured and they refuse to take her to shore. The events of the trip that ensue have lasting and devastating consequences.
This book is a tale of how the choices we make in our 20’s can drown us forever if we do not let ourselves be free and float away from them. Olivia’s journey is filled with terror and grief; but she eventually heals through art and the support of strong women around her.
This modern fiction book addresses current and relevant female themes. Although confronting and haunting at times, Hardcastle writes with compassion and courage. It is not a surprise that it received such excellent acclaim on its release.
The Safe Place
Published by Affirm Press
Emily Proudman is a struggling actor in London, whose life is falling apart. She is disconnected from her family, and even her agent has given up on her. Emily needs money and a fresh start. So when she is offered a job as a live-in assistant for a family on a remote but luxurious French estate, she jumps at the chance.
She arrives at the stunning coastal property and meets her new boss, Nina. Emily is required to tend to the domestic duties while Nina home-schools her daughter, Aurelia. Initially the job is a dream come true. Emily becomes entranced by Nina, her (absent) husband Scott, the house and the lifestyle.
But her alluring new employers have dangerous secrets. Slowly Emily pieces together what they are hiding. What was at first an escape has become a prison and Emily sets out to set them all free.
The Safe Place is tense and brilliantly moody. Anna Downes has written an unsettling novel about the secrets we keep and the lengths we go to protect them. There are a few plot turns and turns, which makes the book a gripping thriller, the perfect page-turner.