The Mistress of Dara Island

Romance and intrigue in tropical Queensland

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Pub Date 3 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 3 Apr 2024

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In the 1960s, a tropical island in the Coral Sea hides dark secrets behind its primordial beauty.

Thalia – ‘Tally’ – Ramsey has grown up barefoot, wild and free on the island purchased by her maternal grandfather. It is a paradise with two faces: an idyllic honeymoon resort for the rich and famous; and an untamed coastline with steeply rising peaks covered in impenetrable jungle.

Tally has always known she will one day become the Mistress of Dara Island in her mother Nerissa’s stead. A belief founded on her mother’s promise. But as she matures, her determination and wilfulness bring her into conflict with her ruthless father, ‘Bullshark’ Richard Ramsey, a powerful figure feared by everyone, including his wife. Ultimately, Tally must face the heartbreaking realisation that her promised future is slipping from her grasp.

After a sudden disappearance from the island, Tally embarks on a desperate search that leads her deep into Dara’s treacherous wilderness – a journey that will challenge all her assumptions about herself, her home and the people she loves.  

In the 1960s, a tropical island in the Coral Sea hides dark secrets behind its primordial beauty.

Thalia – ‘Tally’ – Ramsey has grown up barefoot, wild and free on the island purchased by her...

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EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781760687755
PRICE A$32.99 (AUD)

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Average rating from 6 members

Featured Reviews

I adored Averil's first book, Those Hamilton Sisters so was delighted when I stumbled across The Mistress of Dara Island. Unfortunately I missed her second book, The Girls of Lake Evelyn, but have it on hold with the library.

Averil has written another amazing tale. Set on a fictitious island in tropical North Queensland, an area I'm familiar with seeing as my parents are both from up North, I felt like I was right there with Tally, growing up on the island with her.

Love and loss, mystery and intrigue, this book has it all. What a truly wonderful read.

Thank you to @NetGalley and @EchoPublishing for the digital ARC.

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"If you want the truth, then lie."

I absolutely adored The Mistress of Dara Island by Averil Kenny.

At the beginning, I felt the story was a bit slow paced but soon after, I didn't want to put the book down.
After finishing the story, I am grateful for the slow build and plethora of details as I really felt what Tally felt.
When I did have to put the book down, I hated remembering the characters are fictional, with one of my favourites being Dara Island itself.

Tally, the narrator, is due to inherit her own island in paradise on the Great Barrier Reef.
For some reason, her parents are trying to keep her away from it.
Tally wants to know why she's being constantly taken away from her island home and once you start reading this book, you will want to know why too!

Full of intrigue, I am not at all surprised that Echo Publishing has put out yet another loveable tale!
Averil's other books are now on my WTR list!

Thank you to Echo Publishing and NetGalley for access to this ARC!

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I feel like I’ve been on an island adventure. Averil always delivers a rich, evocative saga that takes you on an enthralling journey filled with wonderfully drawn characters and a mystery to unravel. Loved the main character of Tally and the island setting. Highly recommend

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Thalia Blue Ramsey has grown up on Dara Island in the Far North of Queensland, Australia. Tally’s grandfather Bertie bought the island in 1932, he wanted to escape the rat race of Sydney and he left it to Tally and her mother Nerissa. Tally grew up running bare foot on the sand, investigation rock pools and playing with her friend Lila.

Her father Richard Ramsey has created Mermaid Bay Resort, an idyllic honeymoon destination for the rich and it's his way of showing off the Great Barrier Reef. One day Tally will be the Mistress of Dara Island, her mother is smart and has hidden away the documentation to prove it. Tally hates her father, Richard, his nick name is ‘Bullshark’ he gets his own way and is a bully, everyone is scared of him and the resort turns over a lot of staff.

Tally furious when she’s sent away to school on the mainland, she knows her father doesn’t like her and he wants her out of the way. Tally and with help from Drew Huxley look for clues of what happened on Dara Island and near Mount Teasdale, when and who was involved, why and does it have anything to do with the latest person whose gone missing?

I received a digital copy of The Mistress of Dara Island by Averil Kenny from Echo Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Set in the 1960’s, on a fictional island and Ms. Kenny knows the Great Barrier Reef well, it's coral species and the ocean creatures and it shows in her descriptive writing. The story has elements of intrigue, suspense, secrets, mystery, drama and even a little romance.

I have read the author’s previous book Those Hamilton Sisters, she has certainly upped the ante with her use of characters and prose in The Mistress of Dara Island and five stars from me. The book is released on the 3rd of April and run-out and buy a copy and you won’t be disappointed with this compelling novel.

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Dara Island was a tropical island nestled in the Coral Sea, off Australia, and had been home to Thalia - Tally - Ramsey, her whole life. Her mother, Nerissa, had let Tally know she would be the island's owner, passed down from Nerissa's father to Nerissa, then on to her daughter. Tally just had to reach adulthood, and manage to avoid the father she hated, until it was time to take the reins, caring for the island she loved; the island that was in her blood.

Richard Ramsey, a man most were in fear of, including Nerissa, was determined to own Dara Island outright. He had married Nerissa with his eyes firmly on the prize. Now he had to remove his wild, reckless and wilful daughter for his plan to come to fruition. Tally had finally had enough of her father, leaving the island, her mother and her best friend, behind. Her life in Cairns as a Girl Reporter, was perfect. But one day she heard news from Dara Island that made her drop everything to go there. What would she find? She had been away for so long...

The Mistress of Dara Island is a powerful novel from Aussie author Averil Kenny which holds dark secrets, bitter rivalry and intimidation. Set in a beautiful part of Australia, the small (fictitious) island is covered with vegetation, surrounded by the sea, overlooked by a mountain, and a honeymooners paradise - unless the tourist were to get mixed up in the nefarious events occurring on the island. Tally and Lila are excellent characters, as is Nerissa. But there were a few "not so nice" characters as well. An exceptional read, The Mistress of Dara Island is one I recommend.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

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