Sarah Thornhill
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sarah Thornhill (Thornhill Family #3)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  1,060 ratings  ·  201 reviews
In the final book of a trilogy that began with her bestselling novel, "The Secret River," Commonwealth Prize-winner Kate Grenville returns to the youngest daughter of the Thornhills and her quest to uncover, at her peril, the family's hidden legacy.
Sarah is the youngest child of William Thornhill, the pioneer at the center of "The Secret River." Unknown to her, her father...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 29th 2011 by Penguin (first published 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sarah Thornhill, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sarah Thornhill

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,941)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Kim

This is the third novel of Grenville’s trilogy set in the colony of New South Wales and links directly back to the first of those novels, The Secret River. Sarah Thornhill is the narrator. The youngest daughter of the wealthy emancipated convict William Thornhill, she had not been born when her father participated in a massacre of local indigenous people near their settlement on the Hawkesbury River. Ignorant of her father’s past, Sarah falls in love with her brother’s friend, Jack Langland, the...more
Lisa
No doubt it will come as a strange observation to make about an experienced author’s work, and it’s not the way I expected to respond to a book by one of my all-time favourite novelists, but Kate Grenville’s latest book, Sarah Thornhill, reads a bit like a debut novel. It comes with too strong a sense of a writer needing to get something off her chest, and the plot goes quite awry, especially at the end.

So what went wrong?

Well, firstly, there is much that went right. I read this novel straight t...more
Cherie
I absolutely love how Kate Grenville can describe a scene and paint a picture with words that make me want to read it over and over to commit it to memory. Maybe it is just me, but I can feel the heat bouncing off the rocks and the dry wind fluttering the leaves on the trees:

“Along from the house was a piece of rising ground, grass and scattered trees, and at the top a cluster of boulders, one just the right shape for your backside. When the day’s work was done I’d walk up and take a breather.

It...more
Kathryn
3.5 stars for this from me. I enjoyed it, the third in the trilogy that started with The Secret River and followed on with lives of the Thornhill family and the interaction between white settlers and native Australians. It suffered a little by being the next book I read after an exceptionally well-crafted book so I took a little while longer than normal to drum up much interest in it, but once I did, I wanted to keep reading to know what happened.

Interestingly enough, one of the themes in the bo...more
Gwendolyn
Sarah Thornhill is a satisfying ending to Kate Grenville's trilogy about the colonization of Australia by British prisoners. The story began in The Secret River (short-listed for the Booker Prize) with William Thornhill's deportation to New South Wales and continued in The Lieutenant with Daniel Rooke's quest to understand the foreign land he is ordered to colonize and civilize. Sarah Thornhill returns to the Thornhill family, now a prosperous family with little connection to their crude beginni...more
Karen Charlton
I have been a huge fan of Kate Grenville’s ‘The Secret River’ for years, and I was really looking forward to reading more about the Thornhill family. However, I have to confess that that I was very disappointed with ‘Sarah Thornhill.’

In my opinion, the better story would have been that of the adopted Maori granddaughter who was brought to the Thornhill household. Yet, Rachel is never anything more than a token character in the book and I got the sense that Grenville took the easy way out by focu...more
Sam Woodfield
This final novel in the trilogy by Kate Grenville follows Sarah Thornhill, the youngest member of the Thornhill family. Sarah, or Dolly as she is known to her family, is the daughter of an ex-convivt who has made a life for himself in the new territory in Australia. Sarah falls in love with a local boy who has a white father and native black mother, but a family secret kept quiet by the Thornhills for years will tear apart their relationship, and affect the course of Sarahs life forever, leaving...more
Laura
A sequel to The Secret River, Kate Grenville's Sarah Thornhill continues the Thornhill family's saga through a second
generation, when the murderous rampage Sarah Thornhill's father secretly participated in against the Australian Aborigines comes to haunt the young woman's life in several unexpected ways. Kate Grenville is a remarkable author with a very distinctive voice for her Australian characters. Her characters are complex and rich, and the stories she tells about their lives are utterly co...more
Melissa Voderberg


Kate, we need to have a chat. 'The Secret River' ignited my interest in Australian colonialism. Never thought I'd say those words, well done Ms Grenville.

The Secret River captured me with the onslaught of terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad deeds. Black and white, you spared no details; I was transfixed. Flies in the eyes and sand in my teeth, I ate up your every word. Awkward wrongings, cultures clashing, stories told.
I couldn't wait for your next book to come out, 'Sarah Thornhill'. Oh de...more
Carol
I loved Kate Grenville's "The Secret River," "The Lieutenant," and "The Idea of Perfection." I was anxious to read this one because it was the last of a trilogy beginning with "The Secret River." However, from the first page, I was disappointed. Where was the beautiful prose I so loved in Kate Grenville's other books? This was a book of half-formed sentences with no notable prose at all. Her other books made me want to BE there, STAY there; this book made me want to LEAVE.

It's difficult to belie...more
KateFromAllGoodBookStore
Aug 14, 2011 KateFromAllGoodBookStore rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: book clubs, readers of Secret River and those who like Australian Historical Literature
A beautiful and sensitively told story from one of Australia's greatest writing talents. Set 15 years after the events of "Secret River", Thomas Thornhill's youngest daughter Sarah is now grown up and unaware of her family's terrible secret. First love, the death of a sibling and the catastrophic repercussions of both shake Sarah to her core.

The narrative style of this book just grabbed me and I polished it off in a single night. An absolute must read (even if you haven't read "Secret River") a...more
Dale Harcombe
Four and a half stars. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to read a book by Kate Grenville, except for her Writing book. I now feel I have been missing out. Even though I hadn’t read The Secret River it didn’t matter a bit as far as understanding the story and the characters of this one.
The writing is beautiful and the setting is evocatively conveyed. From the opening description of the Hawkesbury I loved this story, told in the voice of the uneducated Sarah Thornhill, otherwise known as...more
Paquita
Easy enough read. Kept me in but only just. I can't believe I've just finished it, as it was kind of like 'so that's it'?! I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as The Secret River. Sarah's life story didn't really enthrall me and I kept wondering why she made the choices she did. Like the ending which I thought was an unnecessary risk.
Banafsheh Serov
Sarah Thornhill completes a loose trilogy which includes the highly acclaimed The Secret River and The Lieutenant. While there are romantic elements, they are weighed by remorse and guilt for atrocities committed against Aborigines during colonisation.

Sarah, the daughter of William Thornhill, is independent, resourceful, feisty, and in love. Told through her eyes, the novel is narrated as it might be thought or spoken, in bits of sentences. Though illiterate, Sarah is sensitive and highly observ...more
Jen
I loved this sequel to The secret river. It tells the story of the youngest Thornhill, Sarah, who falls in love with Jack Langlands, a half white and half aboriginal sealer. They have an understanding that they are meant for each other. This is overturned when Sarah's brother Will is drowned in New Zealand, leaving a young daughter. Sarah's father presuades Jack to bring the girl back to live with his family. When she arrives, however, she cannot settle into the house and Sarah's promise to look...more
Annabel Smith
The youngest child of a man who was once a convict but is now a landowner, the title character grows up in a life of relative privilege. “Blacks” are at the edges of her world but their way of life is largely unknown to her, and she makes no connection between that world and the man she falls in love with, Jack Langland, the son of her father’s friend. But Jack’s mother was indigenous, and eventually Sarah realises that he will never be truly accepted in her world.

The novel is a coming-of-age s...more
Liza Perrat
As she did in the first book of this trilogy - The Secret River - Kate Grenville delves into her family history to recreate the past in Sarah Thornhill. Sarah is the youngest child of William Thornhill, the central character in The Secret River, who was shipped to Australia as a convict and eventually made a decent life for his family.
Sarah grows up in ignorant bliss of the troubles that took place between her father and the local Aboriginals, her eyes firmly set on the handsome Jack Langland....more
Diane S.
The white colonists have pushed the original Aborigines to the fringes of society, poor and begging for food and clothing. We first meet Sarah Thornhill as a young girl, her father an ex-convict turned colonist and landowner and the amazing thing about this novel is that the words and what she feels is that of a young girl. As a teenager, the dialog and observations mature somewhat, and she falls in love with her brothers friend and seal hunting partner, but a boy who her stepmother does not con...more
CuteBadger
Sarah Thornhill grows up in the primitive Australia of the early 19th century and knows the family history of how her father was transported from England, but is now doing well and considered respectable. But there are family secrets which she cannot understand and which threaten the love she has for Jack Langland, a friend of her brother's. The past is not always content to stay where it is and sometimes changes how the future turns out.

This is the third in Kate Grenville's trilogy, which start...more
RoughDraftHero
What the hell? What. The. Hell???

(view spoiler)...more
Kate Loveday
This book is the sequel to ‘The Secret River’. Sarah Thornhill is the daughter of William Thornhill, once a convict but now an ‘old colonist’, as those who have become free and have prospered in Australia are now called. Sarah grows up in the fine house William has built with his new wealth and lives a happy childhood. She and her siblings have always been friends with Jack Langland, the half-aboriginal son of a neighbor. Jack has been is treated no differently by the William and his snobbish se...more
Sue
Quite a disappointment compared to the 2 previous books in this loose trilogy "The Secret River" and "The Lieutenant", both of which I found masterly, restrained and moving. It reads more like a moderately well-written colonial romance. It lacks the presence and stories of the indigenous people who made the earlier works come to life. See also the comparison with "That Deadman Dance" which may have spoiled alternative versions of such stories for me. Have I also bought into the criticism that wh...more
Stephanie
I had not read the other two in the trilogy, and yet found myself still so taken with Sarah and the quiet determination she shows throughout the story. This is her story, and stands well on its own. She is a wonderful character, and the story so wonderfully spare and melancholy. I was both motivated to read more about the time in Australian history as portrayed here, as well as to pick up the other titles. Compared with the richness and complexity often seen in historical fiction, this might see...more
Marguerite Kaye
I'd read the first in this trilogy, though I didn't actually realise it was part of a series when I bought it, and it really didn't matter.

Beautifully written and evocative, this book really brought to life the early days of settlers in New South Wales. The descriptions of the landscape are amazing, so rich you felt you were on the river sometimes, and fuzzy with damp heat.

Told in the first person, it's the story of Sarah (obviously) youngest daughter of a 'broad arrow' - ex-con - who has made...more
Laura
Another excellent read from one of Australia's greatest literary authors. Like all of Grenville's books, this is extremely well written and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. Along with "The Secret River" and "The Lieutenant", this title forms a loose historical trilogy set in the days of early Australian settlement. Told through the eyes of Sarah Thornhill, daughter of William Thornhill (from The Secret River), this is a fascinating story of love, friendship and conflict.
MaryannC.Book Fiend
A beautifully written novel. I wanted to read this so badly that I started this book which is the last of a trilogy. Now, having read this I need to read the first two books. Sarah Thornhill is a haunting story of regrets and long kept secrets that come back to affect The Thornhill family. It felt melancholy, but not in a negative sense, you could just feel the deep emotions of the main character Sarah.
Lou
Ok read, and the protagonist has a unique voice. But - there's always a but isn't there - Grenville doesn't use punctuation in her dialogue. And this annoys me because it makes reading dialogue tricky. I'm never sure what's dialogue, and what's description. And the plot was abit thin too. But apart from that, it was ok.
Charlotte
3rd book in Grenville's colonial Australia set--the critics adored the first, SECRET RIVER, my favorite still stands, THE LIEUTENANT, but I also liked SARAH THORNHILL. Grenville gave it a somewhat (and unusual for her) tidy ending.
Steve lovell
Whereas Henry Reynolds and James Boyce are in the process of putting the meat on the bones of the factual storyline for the Frontier Wars of this country, it is novelist Kate Grenville who attends to the fictional counterpart. The conflict's earliest incarnation, the Hawkesbury/Nepean Wars, formed the background to her first book in her trilogy, 'The Secret River'. 'Sarah Thornhill' is the third instalment. Presumably the 'goings on' referred to in this, the tome under review, was the Bathurst W...more
Glynis
I had never heard of Kate Grenville before but picked up this book as it interested me with its references to New Zealand as I have a Kiwi son in law. When I first started reading I was initially disappointed and felt that I didn´t like the style of writing and quite honestly felt a little bored to the extent I was going to give up. However I then went on to Goodreads and read some of the reviews and decided to carry on. I am so glad I did, I fell in to the trap of wanting to know what was going...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 64 65 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Five Bells
  • Autumn Laing
  • That Deadman Dance
  • Animal People
  • The World Beneath
  • Foal's Bread
  • Blood
  • Floundering
  • The Conductor
  • Gilgamesh
  • Wanting
  • Tirra Lirra by the River
  • Past the Shallows
  • The Spare Room
  • The Railwayman's Wife
  • Carpentaria
  • Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living
  • Secrecy
132420
Kate Grenville is one of Australia's best-known authors. She's published eight books of fiction and four books about the writing process. Her best-known works are the international best-seller The Secret River, The Idea of Perfection, The Lieutenant and Lilian's Story (details about all Kate Grenville's books are elsewhere on this site). Her novels have won many awards both in Australia and the UK...more
More about Kate Grenville...
The Secret River The Idea of Perfection The Lieutenant Lilian's Story Dark Places

Share This Book