Tuesday, March 9, 2021

The Girl in the Painting by Tea Cooper

The Girl in the Painting
by Tea Cooper
Published March 2021 by Thomas Nelson 
Source: courtesy of the publisher, through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review

Publisher's Summary:
Australia, 1906 Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship— having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were. 

Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business. 

But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and the present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel Elizabeth’s story before it is too late. 

From the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, this compelling novel takes us on a mystery across continents and decades as both women finally discover a place to call home.

My Thoughts:
I read one word when I received the pitch for this book...Australia. I've told you before that we have several Australian families we count as friends. Because of them, I have a special fondness for that country. Book written by Australian authors, especially historical fiction books, aren't that easy to find so I was excited to have a chance to read one. 

This is a story of immigration to Australia and how those immigrants helped build the country...how they worked together and fought each other and became Australians. Cooper clearly sets the her story in Australia, describing the landscape and referencing landmarks; I always have an extra appreciation for a book that can do that, especially when I am so hoping for it. She's also used a number of historical events to place her story in a time and place. 

Cooper has crafted a book with multiple time and story lines. If you've been reading this blog long, you'll know that I often have problems with that but Cooper makes it work because all of the time lines revolve around the same core story line. Running throughout the timelines is the thread of a mystery but solving the mystery isn't the point of the book. Cooper includes the themes of prejudice, love, and honesty. At it's heart, thought, this is a book about the bonds of family and what makes a family. I loved that Cooper's leading ladies were intelligent, educated, and strong. 

This was just the book I needed right now, even though I couldn't help but keep thinking of my mom as I read it because I know she would have really enjoyed it. I was completely caught up in the story and couldn't put the book down. 

Thanks to the ladies from TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. For other opinions about the book, check out the full tour here.

About Tea Cooper:

Tea Cooper is an Australian author of historical and contemporary fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling.

Connect with Tea

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1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you connected with this one. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours