HAWKE, Rosanne (text) Zenna Dare Rhiza Press, 2014 247pp $16.99 pbk ISBN 9781925139037 SCIS 1668609
When teenager Jenefer reluctantly moves from the city to an old family home in country Australia she gets more than she bargained for. She stumbles across a family secret that spans five generations from Cornwall to Australia, and learns some life lessons along the way. Jenefer also meets Caleb who, as a first Australian, is also searching for his place in the world. Together they tackle the issue of prejudice and explore the importance of family.
Zenna Dare’s storyline is engaging although it sometimes seemed too many themes were competing for attention at the same time. These included teenage first love, reconciliation, stolen generation, prejudice, peer pressure and the intricacies of negotiating stepfamilies. The storyline flipped between modern Australia and Cornwall/Australia in the mid-1800’s which provided an interesting insight into life at that time for a woman with a secret to hide at all costs. Zenna Dare is a satisfying read that provokes thoughtful exploration of a number of difficult situations. It is suitable for young adults.
reviewed by Jane Carstens