Past the Shallows – Favel Parrett

Parrett does it again with Past the Shallows (yes, technically this one was written first, I know). Past the Shallows is a tragic and haunting novel of a broken family. Three brothers, Joe, Miles and Harry, regrowing up in Tasmania with their unbalanced father. His tempestuous relationship with the boy has already caused Joe to flee the house. Miles tries to hold the family together and keep young Harry safe from their father’s wrath but eventually it all builds to a climax, but will their love for each other be enough?

Parrett had me hooked on Past the Shallows from the very beginning, staying up way past my bedtime immersed in the story. She has a beautiful and simple way with words that draws the reader in and keeps them lost within the pages. The character she creates are each complex and compelling. Beautiful sweet Harry, struggling Miles, mysterious  George. They were all so memorable and I found myself caring way too much about them. Parrett creates just enough mystery and tension to keep the pace of the novel moving quickly and yet not feeling rushed.

The setting of cold and moody Tasmania is a highlight of Parrett’s novels and I can picture myself in the beautiful city of Hobart in the rough wilderness of the southern tip of Australia. Do prepare yourself, this is a heart-breaking novel. Definitely keep the tissues on hand – I know I sobbed by the end of the story. I know that this tragic tale will stay with me and I’ll long be haunted by these memorable characters. Another impressive Aussie offering I implore you to read, you will not be disappointed or, as I discovered, the illustrious and well-loved David Denham narrates the audiobook so perhaps give that a go.

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