The Mystery Woman by Belinda Alexandra. (2020).
**4 out of 5 stars**
Rebecca becomes the postmistress in a sleepy seaside town, needing to be anonymous after a Sydney scandal. But she is immediately confronted with the news that her predecessor committed suicide. Her hopes for a quiet life are soon threatened by the attentions of the dashing local doctor, the unsettling presence of a violent whaling captain, a corrupt shire secretary, and the local gossips. She is also drawn to the local man rumoured to have been a Nazi spy…
Rebecca is quickly caught up in the dangerous mysteries that lie behind Shipwreck Bay’s respectable curtains.
I really enjoyed this Australian historical fiction. I felt for poor Rebecca trying to run away from scandal only to be caught up in this little town full of darkness. The author successfully paints the picture of the small seaside town full of gossipy residents who are quick to judge those they deem unsuitable. Set in the 1950s, the glamorous and intelligent Rebecca toes the line between fitting in and being revealed as the ex-mistress of a prominent Sydney man. What I particularly appreciated was this novel touches on many issues and yet it never feels too much; some of these topics include but are not limited to adultery, domestic violence, suicide, sexual assault, environmentalism and PTSD. These are heavy topics and yet the book felt like a really easy read: truly engaging.
I’d happily recommend this book for those that enjoy historical fiction and/or mystery fiction.