Spindrift by Tamara McKinley

After the death of her husband, Christy wants to travel alone from Australia to the Scottish Isle of Skye, where she was born. Her family doesn’t like the idea and so her granddaughter Kathryn and daughter Anne, with whom Christy is at odds, join her on this journey. Once they arrive at Skye, Christy is faced with her past. It’s time to reveal her story.

I once enjoyed Mckinley’s ‘Oceana trilogy’ immensely. Because I was in the mood for something light, I decided to try another of her books. I chose this one because it was set on Skye.

Among other things, Spindrift is about the highland clearances in the 19th century, emigration to Australia and the gold rush in their new homeland. I don’t read a lot about Australia, which makes McKinley my go-to-author for that.

But in terms of structure, this was very different from what I was used to from McKinley. The whole story revolves around a family secret that is talked around throughout the whole book, even though I guessed the truth early on. This was quite frustrating to read as the pace was slow. There are also fewer different perspectives than in the Oceana books. Christy tells her story and at the same time we follow her son-in-law Harold who is in search of the truth back in Australia.

Some characters are a bit caricatured and the pacing is odd, but the descriptions of Skye were very vivid and therefore I still enjoyed the book. Undoubtedly not McKinley’s best book though. I do recommend to start with her Oceana books, of which ‘Lands beyond the sea‘ is the first.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Can you recommend some other books set in Australia? Have you read anything from McKinley?


One thought on “Spindrift by Tamara McKinley

  1. If you’re interested in Australian literature and haven’t read We of the Never-Never by Jeannie Gunn yet, you should. It’s non-fiction, but so interesting. It’s the memoir of a woman (from Melbourne I think) that moves to a Northern Territory cattle station with her husband in the early twentieth century. The culture shock etc… It’s of its time, but easy to read and gives such great insight in the times. I read it when I was travelling the area and actually visited the cattle station at the time, but I would highly recommend it! And don’t let the fact that it’s a non-fiction classic put you off!


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