Author: Holly Throsby
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
My Rating: 4.5/5
Goodwood is the debut novel for Australian author and musician Holly Thorsby. Throsby is better known for her songwriting and music talent, having released four critically acclaimed solo albums, and also a children’s album. After reading Goodwood, I’m glad she has turned her writing ability to books.
I was totally captivated by Throsby’s unique voice from the very first page. She has such a mesmerizing way with prose, that is not found very often. As an aspiring writer, I was in awe of the simplicity, yet power of her words, that metaphorically grabbed me by the hand and pulled me deep into the story.
The story is narrated by seventeen-year-old Jean, where in 1992, her small home town of Goodwood is shocked after the disappearance of not one, but two members of their community, one-week apart. Secrets, and town gossip pepper the story as it unravels before Jean’s eyes.
Throsby has perfectly captured the all-knowing feeling of life in a small town. Where everybody knows everyone, or at least they think they do. All too often, the reality is secrets are barricaded behind closed doors, and hidden behind social masks. With some secrets more harrowing than others.
Jean is a realiable narrator, and she too comes of age in this story, experiencing the challenges and myriad thoughts and feelings that all seventeen-year-old’s encounter. I especially loved the small-town setting, the way Jean introduces the characters and their interactions, and the feel of 1992 small-town Australia which she captures beautifully. My only criticism would be that there are a lot of characters, which at times can be hard to get a handle on who is who, but each one has their place in the story.
Goodwood is a compelling read, one where complex issues intertwined authentically with the mystery element. It’s not a thriller, or a fast-paced murder-mystery, but more of an in-depth dissection of life in a moment of entanglement and grief. I was captivated by Throsby’s writing, so much so, that I inhaled the story within 24 hours. I hope to read more from this talented author.