In 1891, Tilly Kirkland is reeling with shock and guilt after her tempestuous marriage ends in horrific circumstances. Fleeing to the farthest place she knows, Tilly takes a job on Ember Island in Moreton Bay, Australia, where she becomes the governess to the prison superintendent’s precocious young daughter, Nell. Tilly knows she must keep the past hidden in order to start a new life, but she doesn’t know that Nell is watching her every move and writing it all down, hiding tiny journals all over their rambling manor home.
More than one hundred years later, bestselling novelist Nina Jones is struggling to complete her next book. A reporter asking questions about her great-grandmother sends Nina retreating to her family’s home on Ember Island, where she hopes to find her lost inspiration somewhere in the crumbling walls.
Though they are separated by years, both Tilly and Nina must learn that some secrets never stay buried, but what matters most is learning to trust your heart.
Kimberly Freeman’s latest novel, Ember Island, is a true gem. It is a story about a bestselling writer, Nina Jones, who is struggling to complete a contracted novel after her marriage sadly ends. To overcome her writer's block and heal from her failed marriage, she heads to Ember Island off the coast of Australia where her family maintains a home that used to be a prison. She contracts a neighbour named Joe to complete some repairs. Nina is intrigued when he finds some hidden diary pages in a wall. Nina is thrilled to learn they were written by her great grandmother, Nell. In 1891, a woman named Tilly fled to Ember Island to run from her past. There she found work as a governess to Nell. What unfolds are two intriguing tales about two women linked by their past through the diary of a young girl named Nell.
The story is a beautiful one to read, completely engrossing from start to finish. There is a fascinating mystery, a beautiful old home, blooming romances, and plenty of dark secrets to keep you reading to the end. The characters are memorable and courageous, expertly linked together through a clever plot. I've read all of Kimberly Freeman's books, and I have to say, this is my favourite. The unpredictable storyline, coupled with lovely prose, and a touch of romance, really make this book unforgettable. Perfectly written, I very highly recommend it.