While holidaying in the small fishing village of Stanley on the north-west coast of Tasmania, author Josephine Pennicott spied a Georgian-style cottage with a story to tell. That holiday was the starting point of her novel Poet’s Cottage. Part Gothic, part history, part love story, part murder mystery, the work centres around the reportedly haunted house set by the sea and all who chose to pass through its doors. While the novel is fictional, Pennicott is true to the Tasmanian landscape and history and paints a wonderful picture of the goings on in a small village both in the 1930s and present day.
The book moves between two plots, that of writer Sadie who moves from Sydney to Tasmania to escape a messy divorce and wants to uncover the truth about the murder of her notorious grandmother Pearl. Flash back to 1930s Tasmania to Pearl’s world, to a woman who was admired for her beauty but scorned for her reckless ways. It is the house in Poet’s Cottage that is the true star of the book – it holds all of the secrets and lies of each generation. A great escape for those who dream of visiting Tasmania, even for just a chapter or two.
My rating: ★★★★