“Gritty, lyrical, breathtaking. I couldn’t put it down, drawn in by its vividly drawn characters and wealth of historical detail.” —Fiona Valpy, author of The Dressmaker's Gift
For readers of The Light Between Oceans and The Island of Sea Women, a feminist adventure story set against the backdrop of the dangerous pearl-diving industry in nineteenth-century Western Australia, about a young English woman who sets off to uncover the truth about the disappearance of her eccentric father
Western Australia, 1886. After months at sea, a slow boat makes its passage from London to the shores of Bannin Bay. From the deck, young Eliza Brightwell and her family eye their strange new home. Here is an unforgiving land where fortune sits patiently at the bottom of the ocean, waiting to be claimed by those brave enough to venture into its depths. An ocean where pearl shells bloom to the size of soup plates, where men are coaxed into unthinkable places and unspeakable acts by the promise of unimaginable riches.
Ten years later, the pearl-diving boat captained by Eliza’s eccentric father returns after months at sea—without Eliza’s father on it. Whispers from townsfolk point to mutiny or murder. Headstrong Eliza knows it’s up to her to discover who, or what, is really responsible.
As she searches for the truth, Eliza discovers that beneath the glamorous veneer of the pearling industry lies a dark underbelly of sweltering, stinking decay. The sun-scorched streets of Bannin Bay, a place she once thought she knew so well, are teeming with corruption, prejudice, and blackmail. Just how far is Eliza willing to push herself in order to solve the mystery of her missing father? And what family secrets will come to haunt her along the way?
A transporting feminist adventure story based on Lizzie Pook’s deep research into the pearling industry and the era of British colonial rule in Australia, Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter is ultimately about the lengths one woman will travel to save her family.
“A lush mystery with a vivid and unique setting, wonderous prose, layered characters, and a satisfying end. Pook has crafted a historical adventure I won't forget!” —T. A. Willberg, author of Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder
“Lizzie Pook’s meticulous research delivers an extraordinarily vivid tale in Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter. Readers will fall in love with the characters in this book, especially the courageous, stubborn Eliza, and will find themselves transported to Bannin Bay in the late 1800s. I could not put this book down. Lizzie Pook is an author to watch!” —Kelly Rimmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan
“Lizzie Pook has written a luscious, mysterious adventure novel set in the halcyon days of Australia’s lucrative pearling industry in the late 1800s…Pook spins an expert tale of corruption, fate, and family in this dazzling debut.” —Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Good Left Undone
“This is a stunning debut. From the very first line, this novel drew me fully into its gritty yet captivating world. Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter paints a memorable picture of ambition, sacrifice, and corruption while exploring personal loss as driving force. I will never look at a string of pearls in quite the same way.” —Charmaine Wilkerson, author of Black Cake
Lizzie Pook is a London-based travel writer and journalist whose work has taken her to some of the farthest-flung parts of the planet, from the trans-Himalayas in search of elusive snow leopards to the vast, uninhabited east coast of Greenland. She has written for the London papers The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, the Evening Standard, and Stylist. Moonlight and the Pearler’s Daughter is her first novel.