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The Lost Summers of Driftwood

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  149 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Is it more dangerous to forget ... or to remember? A compelling drama about broken dreams, first love and the mystery of a lost sister, for all fans of Hannah Richell and Kate Morton. She remembered this part of the trip during the day time. Her sisters on either side in the back. The sunlight flickering through branches was like looking through a kaleidoscope. How could ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 16th 2019 by HarperCollins - AU
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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I’m always a total sucker for an atmospheric setting, which initially attracted me to THE LOST SUMMERS OF DRIFTWOOD. If the title and the book cover alone evoke a dreamy, melancholy feel, then you will be pleased to hear that the author’s words build on this theme with her beautiful story of family secrets, grief, reinventing yourself and ultimately healing and hope. It brings to life an Australia many of you may remember from your own childhood – holidays in a little cabin by the water, ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
The enticing tagline on the exquisite front cover of Vanessa McCausland’s The Lost Summers of Driftwood asks, is it more dangerous to forget… or to remember? I find this a hard pressed question, throwing all sorts of moral dilemmas. As soon as I took in the front cover of The Lost Summers of Driftwood, I had an inkling that I would be faced with a novel that explores secrets, the past, memories and decisions, within the context of a model Australian setting.
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aww, own
Atmospheric and very moving.
Lesley Moseley
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an amazing debut!... I really felt like I knew these people, and places. Soooo many parallels to my own life, especially towards the end, there were many triggers , and several times I felt very teary. The ending seemed a bit rushed, but I suppose fairly satisfying, on one level. So VERY impressed.
Anna Loder
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was afraid the cover was so beautiful the story wouldn’t be able to live up to it. I so needn’t have worried. A lovely contemporary novel full of today just so lovingly done. It is all about healing, nostalgia, family and friendships, loyalty and betrayal. I so enjoyed this novel. It may be because of the bushfires here in Sydney but for me it is a love letter to the south coast just as much as it is about Phoebe.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Vanessa McCausland has created such an incredible, atmospheric snapshot of Australian life in this book and I absolutely am in awe of it. I tell people that I'm not generally a fan of australian literature but I've been proven wrong on so many occasions, this one included. It's probably more accurate to say that I avoid Australian contemporary literature because it's so incredibly close to home for me that each and every time I've picked up a book, against my emotions better judgement, it's left ...more
3.5 stars I enjoyed this book, I was surprised how easily I was drawn into finding out how everything turned out and what the mystery was involving the sister's death.
Monique Mulligan
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this while holidaying in a log cabin in the bush, deep in Western Australia's Southern Forests region. At one point, the characters prepare to defend their homes from approaching bushfire - as I read these chapters, the south coast of NSW (the setting of this book) was engulfed in flames. I have to say, the real-life setting and events made this reading experience all the more enriching. Like reading in surround sound!

The Lost Summers of Driftwood was all I want in a good read. Secrets,
I absolutely loved The Lost Summers Of Driftwood.
Phoebe returns to her childhood holiday home on the river to grieve the death of her sister and the breakup of her relationship.
This is a beautiful book about memories, friendship, first love and family. I felt so close to all the characters and their emotions which is always what I want in a book and it had such a great sense of time and place, that I could feel myself part of the story.
Five stars from me and such an eye catching cover too. Just
Underground Writers
This review was first published on the Underground Writers website:

From the outside, it seems as though Phoebe has it all. A successful job at luxury champagne company Joet et Halo, a relationship heading for marriage, and the perfect urban lifestyle. That is until a vacation that was set to end in an engagement took a sharp turn and left her feeling lost and alone. When an opportunity arises to visit Driftwood, a small community in which her now-deceased
Mary Ladrick
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a fabulous read. I listened to the audiobook and loved it!
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this book a delightful read, the expressions and turn of phrase were captivating. I could not put this book down, finishing it in a night. I recommended this book to my book club and they are all keen to read it too.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the most beautiful books I have read and has easily become one of my all time favourites!! This novel is so well written that you will become completely immersed in the incredible and rich characters! The Australian landscape amazingly becomes almost character like itself and you honestly will feel as though you are there in the scenes with the characters! Filled with love, loss, family and secrets this book is an absolute must read! I could not put this book down and can’t ...more
Tanya Hunter-Robinson
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a few days, purely because I couldn’t seem to put it down. The writing was beautifully descriptive without being too overwhelming and the characters and their surroundings were made so vivid because of this. The flashbacks to Phoebe’s early childhood were few and far between but I loved that there wasn’t much of it - because the flashbacks all came together as major clues to finding out the mystery of Karin’s death. This book had it all for me; mystery, a bit of crime, ...more
Cass @girlonthebookshelf
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one book you can judge by its cover. It is truly enthralling.

I was hooked from the first chapter, and would have read this in one sitting if I didn't have responsibilities.

Written by Australian author Vanessa McCausland, this book is set in the South Coast of NSW, with a scene so flawlessly described, it is sure to take you back to your Australian summer holidays by the water.

The story follows Phoebe as she grieves a failed marriage proposal to Nathaniel, and the passing of her sister
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's rare for a writer to successfully make landscape a character, but Hesse does it, Heather Rose does it, Tim Winton does, and it now seems Vanessa McCausland joins that list too. The opening scene hooked me in from the very start - I felt a physical recognition of place, of water, of the sun on our skin - this is certainly a scene that for many Australians will ring authentic.

The plot took me by surprise - I am not going to say much because I do not want to give anything away, but I was
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia for a kindle version of this book to review. It comes out on 16th December!

Phoebe is feeling completely adrift after a broken ‘almost’ engagement and the suicide of her beloved older sister a year earlier, so she escapes to her family’s old holiday house on the river in a seaside town in Australia.

There she discovers her childhood friend (and first love) Jez is living at his old family home Driftwood with his wife and a couple of boarders.
Emma Jane
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Phoebe drinks super smoothies for breakfast and wears trendy dresses worth a week’s wage. Her job is glamorous, fiancé tanned and broad, and he’s about to propose during their romantic getaway.
You’re excited for her.

Then your own heart breaks when Phoebe returns home without the ring on her finger, and so begins thejourney to the abandoned cottage where Summers were spent as a child. The cottage where tragedy took place, shadowing her existence. No amount of perfect Instagram posts could mask
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brief synopsis from the book cover:

Phoebe's life has fallen apart and there's only one place left to go. Alone and adrift after a failed marriage proposal, she flees Sydney to her family's abandoned holiday cottage.

On the slow-moving river Phoebe is confronted with the legacy of her older sister's suicide, a year before. Why did Karin leave a note written in flowers and walk into the water?

Phoebe's childhood love, Jez, has moved back to the beautiful old house, Driftwood, one jetty down. He's
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An evocative and beautifully written story about the power of relationships, memories, connections to places, and grief.

The author has captured the beauty of the Australian landscape with such vivid and poetic language that you feel apart of the protagonist’s journey and memories. The south coast town becomes a central character: it is critical in the success of this narrative and a powerful component of the plot. Many moments will spark memories for Australian readers, or anyone who has
Janneke Thurlow
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A gripping story full of secrets to be discovered, family ties, divided loyalties and love. A page turner with a fantastic ending!
Highly recommend. The time passed very quickly with this book in my hands.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow , what an absolute fantastic first novel . Storyline , character development and prose all fantastic . I will be recommending this book to everyone and following this author in the future . Massive thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins Australia for the ARC in exchange for an honest reviews !
Bree T
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book arrived wrapped up like a Christmas present and inside were beautiful flower petals as well, sprinkled all over the cover. This book has a phenomenally beautiful cover – it really draws the eye and the two colours are so striking together. I was looking forward to reading it a lot so I decided to squeeze it in before I left for holidays (today! We are driving north as this post goes up). It’s a relatively quick read and not difficult to get involved in.

Phoebe was supposed to get
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
4.5 stars
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
There are two stories running in parallel in this book. Pheobe trying to work out her life, and the death of Karin, Pheobe's sister. Both of these are interesting and beautifully written. Yet there is a deeper thread, about love and the things we hold dear and the steps you might take to protect them. I liked the way the book moved along gently, all the while moving to the significant ending.
This book is perplexing. I liked the story and McCausland does a good job of portraying the atmosphere of the Australian bush. But having recently read The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, which was published in March 2018, one can't help but think The Lost Summers of Driftwood is directly based upon and much of the material was drawn from The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

The portrayal of the autistic character is disappointing at best. At worst it's ableist and perpetuates the neurotypical view of
Susan Lane
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved The Lost Summers of Driftwood from the very first sentence. “The sun is hot and syrupy on their young bodies” took me back to the summers of my childhood, staying at our aunt’s holiday cottage above the beach at Bonny Hills.

The story switches back and forth in time between childhood holidays and the adult friends now living in the lovely Driftwood on a quiet south coast river. Phoebe escapes her corporate world and a failed relationship to spend time in her family holiday house,
Michelle Taylor
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found this book quite slow. I thought the main character went over and over the same thoughts and subsequently the plot didn’t seem to progress as quickly as I would have liked. I found it started to get more interesting around the 300 page mark, when the climax was reached, and then I found some aspects of ending intriguing. Overall, a bit too slow for my taste.
Rachael Dobson
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Phoebe’s life has just fallen apart - a cancelled engagement makes her leave her current life and runaway to the family’s holiday home to get away from everything.
That was her plan ..... until she arrives there and memories of her sisters suicide from the previous year come flooding back.
Phoebe also meets back up with her childhood love Jez, now happily married and living in his family’s shack “Driftwood”.
Phoebe starts questioning everything she believes, did her sister really commit suicide
Ugh, that became so sordid I regretted ever starting it. Gorgeous imagery but that was the only good thing. The emotions were so clumsily handled and stiffly described, all these idiot white people floundering around in their own mess. I did appreciate the self-awareness about superficiality but then the idyllic retreat into bush river life seemed like a whole other fantasy of white urban privilege. And ugh I never can stomach infidelity, however poignantly described.

Again, that bizarre lack of
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