Saturday, 14 November 2020

Book Review: THE VALLEY OF LOST STORIES by Vanessa McCausland



Author:  Vanessa McCausland

Publisher:  HarperCollins Australia

Read: November 2020

Expected publication: 2 December 2020

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Book Description:


Four women and their children are invited to the beautiful but remote Capertee Valley for a much-needed holiday.

Once home to a burgeoning mining industry, now all that remains are ruins slowly being swallowed by the bush and the jewel of the valley, a stunning, renovated Art Deco hotel. This is a place haunted by secrets. In 1948 Clara Black walked into the night, never to be seen again.

As the valley beguiles these four friends, and haunts them in equal measure, each has to confront secrets of her own: Nathalie with a damaged marriage; Emmie yearning for another child; Pen struggling as a single parent; and Alexandra hiding in the shadow of her famous husband.

But as the mystery of what happened seventy years earlier unravels, one of the women also vanishes into this bewitching but wild place, forcing devastating truths to the surface.

My musings:

Vanessa McCausland shows that stories about women’s friendships can really be spiced up with an element of mystery and a spooky atmospheric setting – I loved this even more because her descriptions of the Australian landscape were so vivid and relatable. I wasn’t surprised to read that the place she describes in her latest book was inspired by a real valley she visited with her daughter before writing the novel. I felt instantly transported there!


Lovers of Liane Moriarty’s books featuring female friendships will be pleased to hear that THE VALLEY OF LOST STORIES  offers an equally compelling tale. Four women who are each facing their own challenges in their marriages and motherhood role are thrown together in an impromptu holiday in a grand hotel in a secluded valley near the Blue Mountains. And even though the trip was meant to give them an escape from their present troubles, they soon find themselves embroiled in a century old secret that has left its mark on the abandoned mining town.


If you have read and loved McCausland’s previous book, THE LOST SUMMERS OF DRIFTWOOD, then you will be pleased to hear that the author uses her skills to create another beguiling atmospheric backdrop to her latest book. Among the four different protagonists, there will be one every reader will be able to relate to at some level, even if it’s just the theme of female friendship dynamics. Although my kids have long grown up, I could instantly recall those days of early motherhood, beautiful and yet sometimes utterly exhausting and so very lonely had it not been for some amazing friends who listened and understood. I appreciated the author’s honesty without ever straying across the lines of soppy, whiny or preachy, as each character stayed true to herself and utterly relatable. It’s not an easy balance to achieve by any means!





THE VALLEY OF LOST STORIES encompasses a mix of genres that will appeal to a wide audience. Part mystery, part historical fiction, all wrapped into a compelling story about female friendship and motherhood against a spooky atmospheric backdrop. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great summer read.


Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins Australia for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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