The Silence of Water
It’s the turn of the century when Fan’s mother, Agnes, announces the family is moving to Western Australia to take care of Agnes’s father – a man they’ve never spoken of before now. Fan finds herself a stranger in a new town living in a home whose currents and tensions she cannot read or understand.
Resentful of her mother’s decision to move, Fan forms an alliance with her grandfather, Edwin Salt, a convict transported to Australia in 1861. As she listens to memories of his former life in England, Fan starts snooping around the house, riffling through Edwin’s belongings in an attempt to fill the gaps in his stories. But the secrets Fan uncovers will test the family’s fragile bonds forever, and force Edwin into a final reckoning with the brutality of his past.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
‘Fans of Australian historical fiction (such as the work of Kate Grenville) may be naturally drawn to this City of Fremantle Hungerford Award-shortlisted debut, but it’s a thought-provoking and engrossing read for any general reader.’ Books+Publishing
‘With careful research and sparse, elegant prose Sharron Booth reveals how the life and crimes of a Western Australian convict affect generations of his family. By bringing to life this neglected aspect of our convict history, Booth reminds us it is the secrets and silences of the past which often exert the most power upon the present.’ Kiera Lindsey
‘Wonderful characters provide the foil to the bitterness Edwin suffers and we see the beginning of that Aussie spirit. The writing from this first-time author is captivating … I was totally enthralled by this tale and was very sad when the book ended. I will definitely look for the next book by this talented author.’ Good Reading Magazine
‘The crime that brings Edwin Salt to Australia echoes through this story of three generations, beautifully and powerfully wrought from convict history and a lyrical writerly imagination.’ Amanda Curtin
‘This is a book that approaches the darker elements of its subject matter, including issues such as domestic violence, with sensitivity. It’s also a deeply felt contribution towards efforts to reclaim the dignity and human complexity of women often silenced or maligned in “official” historical narratives.’ Bunbury Herald
‘Full of historical facts woven into a complex story of generations impacted by the past, The Silence of Water is a powerful contribution to WA’s own convict history.’ Subiaco Post
‘It was so refreshing to read the restrained prose of this debut novel …’ ANZ LitLovers
‘We just loved The Silence of Water. Such a satisfying story at so many levels.’ Fremantle Shipping News
‘Booth did her due diligence, researched, and then used that knowledge to write a compelling story … filled with hardships, family, resentment, and love, The Silence of Water was so much more than that. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves to read historical fiction and family drama.’ Beauty and Lace
City of Fremantle Hungerford Award (Shortlisted 2020)
MUD Literary Prize (Shortlisted 2022)