Secrets of the Sea

Nicholas Shakespeare, Author
Nicholas Shakespeare, Author . Ecco/Harper Perennial $14.95 (402p) ISBN 978-0-06-147470-5
Reviewed on: 03/17/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008

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)

The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!