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Skylarking by [Mildenhall, Kate]
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Skylarking Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 294 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'[Mildenhall's] research of life on a remote cape in a young colony manifests in lovingly drawn descriptions of the natural landscape … the novel's strength lies with following Kate's and Harriet's stumbles and skylarking from childhood to womanhood; and their close, sometimes stifling, friendship.' --Thuy On, Sydney Morning Herald

'It's no surprise to learn that debut author Kate Mildenhall counts Geraldine Brooks and Hannah Kent among her favourite writers. Inspired by a true story, Skylarking recreates a particular time and place as evocatively as they do…this is a beautifully written book, with lyrical descriptions of the desolate yet beautiful landscape.' --AFR Magazine

'It's testament to Kate Mildenhall's skill that you become so immersed in the lives of best friends Kate and Harriet you feel the dread, but hope it will not be so … fans of Emily Bitto's The Strays and Favel Parrett's Past the Shallows will find much to admire here.' --Herald Sun

'Mildenhall is at her best when she is exploring the complex relationship between these two young women as their burgeoning sexuality begins to cause problems within their tiny community.' --Books+Publishing

'Kate Mildenhall's impressive debut novel takes an historical case and re-imagines it with such sensitivity and insight that we feel this must be how it truly happened.' --Emily Bitto

'It is hard to believe that Skylarking is Kate Mildenhall's debut novel, as her ability to create both character and atmosphere is impressive.' --Annie Condon, Readings Monthly

'The storm-lashed coastline of the Great Southern Land is the setting for this poetic, slow-moving tale of the friendship … an evocative yarn.' --Australian Women's Weekly

'Skylarking is a strikingly real and deeply moving meditation on adolescent friendship in all its complexities - a heart-wrenching work.' --Olga Lorenzo

'A brave, beautiful and richly textured book that delicately explores the fault lines in love and friendship.' --Lucy Treloar

'Author Kate Mildenhall evocatively brings to the mind's eye the lives of two young girls in Victorian-era Australia.' --Better Reading

Review

‘[Mildenhall’s] research of life on a remote cape in a young colony manifests in lovingly drawn descriptions of the natural landscape … the novel's strength lies with following Kate's and Harriet's stumbles and skylarking from childhood to womanhood; and their close, sometimes stifling, friendship.’ (Thuy On Sydney Morning Herald)

‘It’s testament to Kate Mildenhall’s skill that you become so immersed in the lives of best friends Kate and Harriet you feel the dread, but hope it will not be so … fans of Emily Bitto’s The Strays and Favel Parrett’s Past the Shallows will find much to admire here.’ (Herald Sun)

‘It is hard to believe that Skylarking is Kate Mildenhall’s debut novel, as her ability to create both character and atmosphere is impressive.’ (Annie Condon Readings Monthly)

Skylarking is a strikingly real and deeply moving meditation on adolescent friendship in all its complexities―a heart-wrenching work.’ (Olga Lorenzo)

‘It's no surprise to learn that debut author Kate Mildenhall counts Geraldine Brooks and Hannah Kent among her favourite writers. Inspired by a true story, Skylarking recreates a particular time and place as evocatively as they do…this is a beautifully written book, with lyrical descriptions of the desolate yet beautiful landscape.’ (AFR Magazine)

‘Mildenhall is at her best when she is exploring the complex relationship between these two young women as their burgeoning sexuality begins to cause problems within their tiny community.’ (Books+Publishing)

‘Kate Mildenhall’s impressive debut novel takes an historical case and re-imagines it with such sensitivity and insight that we feel this must be how it truly happened.’ (Emily Bitto)

‘The storm-lashed coastline of the Great Southern Land is the setting for this poetic, slow-moving tale of the friendship … an evocative yarn.’ (Australian Women's Weekly)

‘A brave, beautiful and richly textured book that delicately explores the fault lines in love and friendship.’ (Lucy Treloar)

‘Author Kate Mildenhall evocatively brings to the mind’s eye the lives of two young girls in Victorian-era Australia.’ (Better Reading)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1132 KB
  • Print Length: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (3 July 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01LEZHMCS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,389 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a book of growing up in an enclosed community. It is a book of female friendship and what that may mean for the future. It is a novel of place, time, and essentially of love. Set in a lighthouse community in late nineteenth century Australia, it deals with a time when a woman was judged on her marriage prospects rather than what she actually felt, and the disastrous consequences that could mean for her. I was sent this novel based on real events by Legend Press to review, and it is a stunning debut by an author who has actually thought about life in the circumstances which existed so long ago.
In a way the narrator, Kate, is confined by her father’s job. He is a lighthouse keeper on a cape in Australia, and Kate’s life experience is confined to the families of those who work on the lighthouse with her father. There are the native people who exist on the fringes, and a few fishermen who pick up a small living locally. The most important person in Kate’s life is Harriet Walker, who is slightly older but as an only child, dependent on Kate for company. They grow up together, though Kate takes more risks, leads Harriet into danger in the playground of cliffs, beaches and the natural world around them. As Harriet grows up, meets people, goes to Melbourne, Kate has only her imagination and the books she reads for company, and she makes mistakes.
The research into the period is beautifully incorporated into this novel, as the reader can follow the tiny community in its simple life of near self-sufficiency. I really admired the graceful descriptions of the world enjoyed by Kate and Harriet, including the basic school and struggle to grow even a few vegetables.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The outline sketch of the lighthouse and cape that greets readers of Kate Mildenhall’s debut novel Skylarking is both enigmatic and enticing. It serves to both set the scene and preface the idea that it is a remembered setting, that we are revisiting the past.

There is a simplicity to the book which makes it an easy and enjoyable read. There is a single narrator, also called Kate, who manages to capture a quality of mature, thoughtful reflection as well as the childish certainties of her remembered youth. There is a confessional feel at times when she reveals secret shame and innermost thoughts. At other moments a broad brush sweeps great swathes of personal and social history into a few concise lines.
I hesitate to use the word nice in reviews in case it is taken as a criticism or perceived as unimaginative but this is a genuinely nice book. It does not try too hard to be clever or confusing. It presents a personal history with a nice balance of truth and subjectivity. It captures the human condition and a recognisable range of experiences and emotions.
There isn’t much to this book and, if anything, I would have liked a little more but if that is the worst thing I can say about a novel, it must be doing pretty well. I had not heard of the true story on which Skylarking is based so cannot really comment on its accuracy but it is certainly worth a read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Two young girls, Kate and Harriet, are growing up on a remote Australian lighthouse station. Isolated from the wider world it is not surprising that the arrival of a rather mysterious fisherman into their small community has a big effect on both girls and leads to their hitherto deep friendship being put under strain. Based on a true story, this is an unusual and enjoyable read overall but I felt that psychological depth was lacking and I found neither of the two main protagonists particularly convincing which meant I remained unengaged. The writing is plain and straightforward and the narrative rattles along at a good pace, but that fact that it is all going to end badly is perhaps too heavily foreshadowed. I enjoyed the portrait of a lighthouse keeping community and the details of daily life, but as a coming-of-age novel found it less successful. Nevertheless, an interesting and original novel and a glimpse into a forgotten historical event.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book is set in Northern Australia on the coast and is based on a true story from 1887. It is about the friendship of two young girls; Kate and Harriet who live in an isolated area where their fathers are lighthouse keepers. Only three families live on the Point, so the girls are isolated from modern society. Some may think they live an idyllic life, whilst other readers may think the girls have very limited horizons and experience.
McPhail, a handsome fisherman comes to live in the shack a little way from the Point. The girls are fascinated by him and Kate thinks that he is in love with Harriet.

The scenery and nuances of daily life are painted with exquisite detail.

Aborigines come into the story in a small way, perhaps this could have been explored a little more? A whale gets washed up on to the beach and it’s quite thrillingly described – will she be washed back into the sea to be reunited with her calf, or killed by a group of local farmers for meat and oil?
Harriet is sent to Melbourne to stay with her aunt and to find a husband. When she comes back, Kate feels that their relationship is not the same.
A loss/misadventure is indicated from the beginning of the book. There is an accident near the end of the book with shocking consequences.

This is a good book, interesting and set in a very different time and place.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars inspired by a true historical incident 20 Jun. 2017
By Andrea R - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Set in a tiny lighthouse community in the Jervis Bay area towards the end of the 19th century, this is the story of best friends, Kate and Harriet. Kate is the younger by a couple of years; smart, bookish, quite wilful, and supremely confident in the physical environment where her father is the head lighthouse keeper. In many ways Harriet - the blond, beautiful, only child - seems less mature. But this probably helps to make their relationship more equal. The story is told from Kate's point of view, and Mildenhall has managed to provide her with a really strong, consistent voice over the 6-7 years in which the story unfolds.

As the girls begin to blossom into young women, the arrival a handsome fisherman in the settlement causes strain between the friends. He only has eyes for one, but it is the other who has disquieting dreams about kissing him. The tension builds steadily until the situation is resolved in the most dreaded way.

I enjoyed every page of this debut novel by Kate Mildenhall. After hearing her speak at MWF 2016, I thought I had a pretty good idea of how this story, inspired by a true historical incident, was going to play out, but I had it all wrong and that made the tragic climax all the more quietly devastating for me.
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight from start to finish 18 July 2017
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everything about Skylarking rings true: the girls, their relationship, idyllic yet difficult life tending a lighthouse off eastern Australia in the 19th century. A coming of age story, a mystery and beautiful writing flow seemingly effortlessly in this imagining inspired by a real event.
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written true story 25 Jan. 2017
By steven walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an unexpected book, I had no idea what I was reading but the first page just grabbed me. Beautifully written and words perfectly captured the time, the emotions and the story that grips. Loved it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 31 Oct. 2016
By S. P. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely loved this book and didn't want to finish the story. Beautifully written and wonderful story.
5.0 out of 5 stars suspenseful and beautifully written story about friendship and a tragic incident 13 Oct. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A compelling, suspenseful and beautifully written story about friendship and a tragic incident. A must read!!
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