Ember Island by Kimberly Freeman. Published by Touchstone

In 1876, Tilly has been humiliated. Her new marriage falls apart when she discovers that her husband is a fortune hunter who has only married her for her money. She takes a position as a governess on Ember Island in far off Australia, hoping to leave her shame behind. She will be caring for the daughter of prison superintendent Sterling Holt. Her charge, Nell is a precocious young girl and keeps Tilly on her toes. She tries to ignore her growing attraction to Sterling and soon becomes friends with a female prisoner. Unbeknownst to Tilly, Nell is watching and writing down everything she sees in her journals and then hiding them around the house.

In 2012 Nina Jones, a successful writer cannot think of another book idea to save her life, her boyfriend has dumped her, and now some journalist wants to talk to her about her grandmother Nell’s secret past. Needing a break, Nina returns home to the family estate, Starwater on Ember Island. While she’s there, she finds Nell’s diaries hidden in the walls of the old home and becomes caught up in the story of her grandmother’s life and is determined to solve the mystery the journalist hinted at.

Nobody writes grand sweeping Australian sagas like Freeman. Readers will be unable to put this mesmerizing novel down

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