Book review of ‘Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter’ by Lizzie Pook

In this novel, we find ourselves in Western Australia in 1886. Eliza Brightwell has been living with her family at Bannin Bay since their arrival when she was ten years old.

Ten years later, and Eliza’s eccentric father has become a successful and respected captain of a pearl-diving boat. When the boat returns after months at sea – without Eliza’s father on it – there are rumours of both mutiny and murder. Eliza knows that it’s up to her to discover who, or what, is really responsible.

As she searches for the truth, Eliza leads below the glamorous veneer of the pearling industry, and into it’s dark underbelly. This is a world of corruption, prejudice and blackmail.

‘Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter’ is a feminist adventure story based in the era of British colonial rule in Australia. I was both delighted and appalled, in equal measures, by the well-researched depiction of this world of pearling which was previously unknown to me.

Eliza is a strong female lead, and readers will enjoy watching her battle against the misogyny and corruption in order to find the answers that she needs. I think that there may well be a sequel here – I’d love to see Eliza battle again in the future.

‘Moonlight and Pearler’s Daughter’ is published on 3rd March 2022.

Thank you to NetGalley UK, Pan MacMillan, Mantle and the author for this ARC in return for my honest review.

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