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The Secret River by Kate Grenville
In The Secret River, William Thornhill is a good man forced by poverty into petty crime to provide for his wife, Sal, and his son. Once he's caught, he's spared from hanging by the sentence of lifetime transport to Australia. Accompanied by his family, he builds a new life in New South Wales, eventually winning his freedom. He hungers to have a piece of land to call his own and carves out a plot for himself along the Hawkesbury River he calls Thornhill's Point. But it's land that rightly belongs to the aborigines, although they have no concept of ownership. This longing for land that will be his legacy leads to actions that will change him, and his life, forever. Kate Grenville's novel has received positive reviews with Scotland on Sunday saying, "Nonetheless, this is a dramatic, beautiful work - on a par with Patrick White or Sally Morgan - that will ensure Grenville's place on the international market."