This book is the sequel to Kate Grenville's novel, The Secret River, about William Thornhill and his family establishing a settlement on the Hawkesbury River in the early 1800s. This book is a continuation of the story told from the the viewpoint of Sarah Thornhill, William's daughter. Born and bred in New South Wales the independent Sarah sets out to establish her own life but discovers that untold family secrets can impact on the lives of future generations.
As in The Secret River much of the story revolves around the relationships between the settlers and the Aboriginal people living in the area and as in The Secret River a variety of reactions are shown to the tensions that develop. In Sarah Thornhill this thread is expanded to include the attitudes towards Sarah's niece whose father was Sarah's brother, Will, who married a Maori when he was sealing in New Zealand.
Once again this is a beautifully written work of fiction set in New South Wales from the 1830s. The reader, as well becoming involved in Sarah's story, is encouraged to consider the many challenges faced and decisions made by Australian pioneers. Many of the challenges in regard to race relations continue today.
Go to The Lieutenant and The Secret River for my post on the earlier books in this series.
Kate Grenville's website contains summaries and detailed additional information about her books.