Secret Shores is a glorious book. Ella Carey takes us on a journey through the eighties publishing world in New York, the Australian post war modernist movement, romantic Rome and the inner world of her characters through intelligent and enthralling prose.
Our protagonist, Tess Miller finds her editing career floundering when she’s given a new assignment working with an old and obscure poet Edward Russell. His story of Rebecca Swift, an artist of yesteryear, is compelling, but there’s something else that captures Tess. Could the searing and tragic romance of which he writes be true wonders Tess? In a bid to garner publicity she goes on a quest to explore the true story, and ends up both rekindling an old romance and finding a new one herself.
The past and present are carefully intertwined, and both described with acute detail. It’s elegantly written and the themes of art, authenticity, generational conflict and love are delicately explored, but at the same time a captivating plot keeps the compulsive pace. Poignant moments are frequent, but never overused or overwrought, and there’s plenty of dramatic twists to hook you in further.
Secret Shores is Carey’s third novel, The House by the Lake, From a Paris Balcony and Paris Time Capsule all being bestsellers. It’s out now on Lake Union Publishing.