Bereft: A Novel by Chris Womersley
The year is 1919 and the Great War has ended. Sergeant Quinn Walker--with a damaged body and soul from his wartime experiences--decides to return home to the small and desolate town of Flint, Australia, to set right the past. Ten years earlier, he had fled following the horrific rape and murder of his beloved younger sister Sarah--a crime that everyone, including his family, believed Quinn committed.
When he arrives on the outskirts of Flint, Quinn learns the town has not escaped the deadly flu epidemic sweeping the globe. And though he is in danger of being hanged if his identity is discovered, Quinn feels compelled to convince his mother (dying of the flu) of his innocence. As he hides out, working up the courage to confront the tragedy that shattered his life, Quinn meets a mysterious orphan girl, Sadie Fox, whose powers verge on magical and who seems to know more about the evil that lives in Flint than any child should.
In gorgeously spare, poetic language, Bereft tells a powerful story about love and loss in a world ravaged by war and disease.
Silver Oak: 2012.
ISBN: 9781402798139. 272 pp.
Hardcover. Very good.