Those Hamilton Sisters by Averil Kenny. (2021).
**4 out of 5 stars**
The beautiful Esther Hamilton had a reputation in the small town of Noah Vale, and ended up running away twenty years ago under a cloud of shame. It’s now 1955 and following their mother’s death, the Hamilton sisters have returned to live near their aunt and uncle. The eldest, Sonnet, has her mum’s fiery hair and independence. The middle, Fable, is a gifted artist and dreamer. And the youngest, Plum, is anxious to please and notices everything. As the years pass, the sisters settle into small-town life but are followed by suspicion and judgement. And when Fable falls in love with Noah Vale’s golden boy, is history destined to repeat itself?
Wow, what a well-written debut for this author! The author paints the picture of this small town and its surroundings so well that it felt like I was there. The descriptions of the nature are particularly stunning. The narrative primarily alternates between the perspectives of Sonnet and Fable, who have travelled with their baby sister Novella Plum to their mother Esther’s hometown. Given the time period of the book, it is realistic but still very sad that the girls are immediately looked down upon by the town purely for their mother’s actions before they were even born. I loved Sonnet and Fable, who had completely different personalities and yet both had such strength, intelligence and independence. They had such courage in facing down the nasty gossips and judgemental residents, and I was cheering them on while hoping life would eventually become easier for them.
Overall: an amazing debut for the author, and I highly recommend for fans of historical fiction family sagas/family domestic dramas.