Review | Monday 11 April 2011
For Cubby and her ten young classmates, 1967 is an eventful year: Ronald Ryan is hanged in Melbourne, a place that seems impossibly far away to the Sydney schoolgirls; they are introduced to Morgan, the wispy haired gardener who teaches them about poetry amongst the gardens; and most shocking of all, Miss Renshaw, their springy-haired, slightly mad teacher goes missing.
After an outing led by Morgan to explore some nearby beach caves, the girls wait for their teacher to return. But she never does. The girls are subject to questioning by their parents and their headmistress, but should they tell what happened that day, or remain loyal to Miss Renshaw? After all, didn’t she tell them not to say anything about Morgan? ‘I know I can trust you girls. It will be our little secret.’
This wonderfully atmospheric book is immediately reminiscent of Picnic at Hanging Rock, though its cast of memorable characters will ensure you’ll be drawn into a story that has a life of its own. Ursula Dubosarsky’s elegant writing captures the imagination and perfectly conveys the sense of fear, friendship and bewilderment these girls share over what really happened on that golden day.