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  • Location: Western Australia

Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter

Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter

Why a Booktrail?

1886: A pearl is the shimmering jewel of the ocean, but for those who work to find them, there are very dark sides to it.

  • ISBN: 978-1529072846
  • Genre: Historical

What you need to know before your trail

The Brightwell family has sailed from England to make their new home in Western Australia. Ten-year-old Eliza knows little of what awaits them on these shores beyond shining pearls and shells like soup plates – the things her father has promised will make their fortune.

Ten years later and Charles Brightwell, now the bay’s most prolific pearler, goes missing from his ship while out at sea. Whispers from the townsfolk suggest mutiny and murder, but headstrong Eliza, convinced there is more to the story, refuses to believe her father is dead, and it falls to her to ask the questions no one else dares consider.

But in a town teeming with corruption, prejudice and blackmail, Eliza soon learns that the truth can cost more than pearls, and she must decide just how much she is willing to pay – and how far she is willing to go – to find it . . .

Travel Guide

Booktrail a tour of the pear landscapes of Australia

The author explains in her author note that BAnnin Bay is fictional as are the inhabitants, but its geography is modelledo parts of the north-west Kimberley coastline, Saltwater Country.

She took her inspiration from Bannin Bay from Austrlia’s early pearling hubs which came to sweltering, stinking life in the nineteenth century. Places which have inspired the setting include Shark Bay, Gascoyne, Cossack near Roebourne and Broome. The geography of the islands surrounding Bannin Bay is also mostly fictional, but she took inspiration for the landmasses and coastline from Barrow Island, the Lacepedes and the Burrup Peninsula.

The pearling industry

The pearl oyster was first commercially harvested at Shark Bay in 1850 but it was the 1861 discovery of the larger pearl shell beds at Nickol Bay that made people flock to the area in the hope of them finding the pearl that would make them rich. By 1900, pearling was the fourth largest export industry after gold, rimber and wool.

There are many characters in the book inspired by real people including Conrad Gill who was from the West Indies and who patrolled the streets of Broome with his pet parrot.

The themes of taking Indigenous people from Australia to America are also sadly true. Many were taken and recruited as Australian cannibals and paraded in shows for the masses in the USA. Slavery and its consequences are also explored in the novel as are police  brutality and chain gangs, stealing of land etc. The tragedy of what they call ‘blackbirding’ is particularly horrific.

 

Booktrailer Review

So good I could not wait until next year to post this review! Highly recommended as I loved every part of this!

The Book Trail Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter set in Australia bookreview

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter

Destination/Location: WA, Australia, “Bannin Bay”   Author: Lizzie Pook  Departure: 1886

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