The Quarantine Station by Michelle Montebello. (2019).
**5 out of 5 stars**
1918. Londoner Rose lands on the shores of Sydney and takes a job as a parlourmaid at the North Head Quarantine Station. It’s a place of turmoil, segregated classes and strict rules concerning staff fraternisation. But some rules are made to be broken.
2019. Emma lives a secluded life in Sydney. After a devastating loss, her 100 year old grandmother Gwendoline is all she has. Suffering the early stages of dementia, Gwendoline has been wandering at night and searching for something or someone.
Emma’s investigation leads her to the Quarantine Station where she meets Matt, the station’s carpenter, and together they unravel a compelling mystery.
I’ve been waiting for some time to read this one as I had trouble getting my hands on a copy, and I’m so glad I kept persevering because I loved it! Featuring dual timeline storylines, both time periods have intriguing plots. In 1918 we have Rose who has just started work at the Quarantine Station where the Spanish flu influenza has just started appearing. It was a truly fascinating location setting and it has made me want to travel to Sydney and visit the still existing ‘Q Station’. Rose was an intelligent young woman who appreciates having employment but has also broken the rules and fallen in love… In 2019 we have Emma who is trying to track down information about her grandmother Gwendoline’s history, specifically in relation to the Quarantine Station as Gwendoline lived there as a young child. I had a lot of empathy for Emma as Gwendoline is all she had left of her family and she was deteriorating with the dementia which is heartbreaking. Emma and Matt immediately have an attraction as they work together to find Gwendoline’s history but alas, there may be obstacles in their way…
I would not hesitate to highly recommend this extremely interesting and well-written book.