The River Picnic was one of the biggest events that ever took place in Coongahoola, and even wilder than the street party the night Malcolm Fraser became Prime Minister. The adults spoke about it in whispers and only when they thought us kids were out of earshot. All I knew for sure, apart from the fact that Stu Bailey’s wife drowned that night in the Bagooli River, was that four times more babies than usual were born the following October and not all of them looked like their dads.

A girl called Gracie.

A small town called Coongahoola, with the dark Bagooli River running through it.

The Bleeders — hundreds of ‘Believers’ who move in and set up on the banks of the river. Who start buying up the town, and winning souls.

The River Children — born in the aftermath of the infamous River Picnic. They start to go missing, one after the other.

Gracie Barrett, the naively savvy spokesperson for her chaotic family (promiscuous dad, angry mum, twins Lucky and Grub, Elijah the River Child and fervent, prayerful Grandma Bett), for the kids who are taken, for the lurking fear that locks down the town and puts everyone under suspicion.

Gracie is funny and kind, bullied and anguished, and her life spirals out of control when she discovers she knows what no one else does: who is responsible.

All Our Secrets is jaunty, quirky and heart-achingly real. Coongahoola is where hope and fear collide, where tender adolescence is confronted by death, where kindness is a glimmer of light in the dark. 

Author

Jennifer Lane

I had my first taste of literary success at the age of eleven when I won St Michael’s Primary School’s Year Six creative writing competition with my dramatic World War II piece, Dominic Finds a Way. Twenty-four comparatively unsuccessful years later, I was one of the winners of NZ Book Month’s Six Pack Twocompetition with Scout’s Honour, an extract from an early draft of what was to become All Our Secrets. My short stories have been published in journals and magazines both here and across the Tasman, including Southerly: Writers and their Journals (Australia), Pulp (NZ), Viola Beadleton’s Compendium (NZ) and Island (Australia).

Country of Origin

Books:

Series:

Blog Rural Noir: small-town tales scoop Ngaio Marsh Awards
Karen Chisholm
Monday, September 3, 2018
Review Review - All Our Secrets, Jennifer Lane
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Year of Publication
Publisher
Blog Rural Noir: small-town tales scoop Ngaio Marsh Awards
Karen Chisholm
Monday, September 3, 2018
Review Review - All Our Secrets, Jennifer Lane
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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