16 May, 2013

#BookReview :: Secrets From The Dust by George Hamilton

Snatched from her family during the 1960s, Margaret, a headstrong Aboriginal girl, is fostered by the McDonalds, in the Australian outback, under the government sponsored assimilation policies. She stubbornly fights to maintain her culture until she can escape or her real parents find her. But soon she discovers that she is growing to like many of the customs and material possessions of her captors, throwing her into an identity crisis, which rips another fault line through her world.
By the time she grows into a beautiful young woman, she has already suffered the disappointments of unrequited love and a forbidden desire. Encouraged to hide behind the identity of a Southern European, the highly charged political environment of the time, and her love for a political activist, forces her to confront her true identity.

When a friend referred this novel to me, I promptly added it to my TBR list and the author was kind enough to send me a free copy for review purpose. Since this particular friend of mine doesn’t recommend books lightly, I picked up this novel with the expectation of a couple of hours of enjoyable read at the least. But I got much more than just a couple of hours of well invested time. This novel left me speechless… and let me tell you, that doesn’t happen very often.

The story revolves around Margaret, an Aboriginal girl with the plot being set in the 1960’s. At a very young age, Margaret was ‘taken’ from her home and family and first placed in a government school, then with a foster family.  With her own identity, family and culture stripped away from her, Margaret is taught to be like a Southern European. But she isn’t an ordinary girl who can be subdued and dominated easily. She is stubborn and strong-willed. Over the years she struggles with her true identity and confusion, yet she refuses to give in to the society… This is essentially Margaret’s story.

I LOVED Margaret. I smiled and cried with her, I cheered her on, shared her dreams, sympathized with her and continuously wished her success. It was helluva ride to take, but living through all the ups and downs of Margaret’s life was totally worth it. She has had a hard life yet her spirit was never broken, not even at the lowest point of her life. Anne, Sean and Liz have quite a presence in the novel and their lives are so deeply connected.

The plot is so amazingly deep yet handled in an expert manner. Through Margaret, and the people around her, the author has covered a wide array of social issues of the time – from racial tension to child labour to rape and violence. Now that I think of it, things haven’t changed as much, has it? Author’s amazing style of writing and his language only compliments the plot. I do not know much about Australian landscape and culture, yet the author, through his writing, managed to paint a vivid picture of the Australia of 1960s in my mind.

An amazing heart touching and thought provoking piece of work!

Buy the Book

This review also appears on Indie House Books Website.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to read and review SFTD Debdatta. Your review has brought a smile to my face.

    Best wishes
    George Hamilton