Overview

Torn by tragedy from his early life on a remote farm in Tasmania, Alex Dove has returned years later to start over. A chance encounter with quiet, alluring Merridy Bowman—a young woman similarly haunted by a tangled and catastrophic history—results in marriage, as two damaged souls unite to build a home, family, and livelihood far removed from civilization's bustle. Soon they are drawn into the unpredictable dynamics of small-town island life—and into the destructive orbit of an unscrupulous real estate agent who...

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Secrets of the Sea

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Overview

Torn by tragedy from his early life on a remote farm in Tasmania, Alex Dove has returned years later to start over. A chance encounter with quiet, alluring Merridy Bowman—a young woman similarly haunted by a tangled and catastrophic history—results in marriage, as two damaged souls unite to build a home, family, and livelihood far removed from civilization's bustle. Soon they are drawn into the unpredictable dynamics of small-town island life—and into the destructive orbit of an unscrupulous real estate agent who maintains a secret hold over both Doves. But when a shipwreck off the shore thrusts a troubled, possibly criminal teenage castaway into their world, Alex and Merridy's tenuously forged happiness is suddenly at grave risk, as they are forced to confront deeper questions about the true meaning of fulfillment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Shakespeare's quiet and moving fifth novel is a story as brooding and insular as the Tasmanian town in which it is set. Alex Dove, who left remote Wellington Point as a child, returns after college to deal with his deceased parents' failing farm. Merridy Bowman is on leave from university to nurse her dying father, who has moved into a Wellington Point retirement community. The two outsiders forge a relationship (despite the brief but spirited attempt of a townie to win Merridy) and marry, settling on Alex's family farm, where they eke out a modest living. Although the novel's sympathies lie with Alex, it is his ambitious wife who drives the novel. Their struggle to conceive leads to Merridy's unlikely return to her studies and, eventually, to rescuing a mysterious, troubled child from a shipwrecked boat. Trouble, as ever, is in the offing, and when it arrives, Shakespeare allows it to run its natural course without dipping into melodrama. Expertly crafted, the novel illuminates love's craggy depths. (July)

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Kirkus Reviews
Set in Tasmania, an accomplished love story by British author Shakespeare (Snowleg, 2004, etc.). Shakespeare's perceptive, gently comic and lovingly visual novel charts the evolution of love in an out-of-the-way place-Wellington Point, population 327-where two people marked by tragedy meet. After Alex Dove's farmer parents were killed there in a car accident when he was 11, he was brought up in England. Returning to Tasmania as an adult to close the farm down, he decides instead to stay. Merridy Bowman, in town to care for her dying father, is scarred by the unresolved mystery of her brother Hector's disappearance when she was a child-an event which caused her to decide she would not allow herself to love again. But Alex's courtship persuades her that love will come and she marries him. Initially happy, the couple starts to drift apart due to barrenness and the farm's shaky finances, until Merridy saves the day by starting up a successful oyster business. One stormy night, Alex rescues a shipwrecked problem teenager, Kish, and the couple tames some of his violence, but when Merridy confuses him with Hector he smashes up their home. Then she falls pregnant and Alex thinks the baby is Kish's. Separation follows, but Kish apologizes for the destruction and Alex chooses to accept and love the child as his own. Although oddly paced and occasionally quirky, this is both a skillful, empathetic tale and an affectionate portrait of a place and its community...
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061881923
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,209,417
  • File size: 629 KB

Meet the Author

Nicholas Shakespeare's books have been translated into twenty languages. They include The Vision of Elena Silves, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award, and The Dancer Upstairs, which was made into a film of the same name by John Malkovich. His nonfiction includes the critically acclaimed authorized biography of Bruce Chatwin. Shakespeare is married with two sons and lives in Oxford.

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