Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Reef - Di Morrissey

Di Morrissey is a best-selling Australian author, but for some reason her books are hard to find over here in the UK. Most of her books are set in Australia, and some are historical. She often intertwines an historical storyline with one set in modern times. If I had to compare her to an author known in the UK, it would be Victoria Holt (showing my age!).

The Reef is the story of an island on the Great Barrier Reef called Branch and of a young woman called Jennifer, who had not had an easy life. She had been brought up on a small country farm in Victoria, but when she was still a small child her only brother had been swept away by a rogue wave on a seaside holiday and drowned. Jennifer was left with a dread of the sea and swimming and was further devastated when a eighteen months later her beloved father was killed in a fishing accident on the same beach.

Her controlling mother, Christina, sold up the farm and moved into a small town. Jennifer grew up and moved to Sydney, where she went to University and stayed with her Auntie Vi and Uncle Don. She met a chef in a cafe called Blair and after a few years they got married.

Jennifer's course at University was Environmental Science, which was something she loved. Blair's career in Hospitality and Hotel Catering came first, however, and he moved them both to the resort on the island of Branch.

Branch was a tropical paradise, but from the moment they arrived Jennifer realised that there were strange undercurrents and her marriage to Blair started to crumble. He expected her to live in a small resort unit and help with his career, but Jennifer discovered that there was another side to the island when she found Gideon and the Shark Bar.

Gideon introduces her to the crowd at the Research Centre, and Jennifer finds herself being drawn into their work and interests. She is introduced to Isobel Belitas, an internationally renowned marine biologist, who takes a keen interest in Jennifer and helps her to see the world in a different way.

Jennifer's unexpected pregnancy drives a further wedge in her marriage to Blair, who dreams of working in Europe. Also there are strange happenings at the Resort, and Jennifer does not know how deeply involved her husband is.

So what was happening on Branch and threatening the Research Centre? And would investigative journalist Tony Adams be able to get to the truth? Will Jennifer be able to protect herself and her unborn child from the dangers that swirl around them, deal with her controlling mother and put her fears of the sea to rest once and for all?

A good poolside book, so order a bottle of ice-cold dry white and a big bowl of peanuts and read it in one gulp!

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