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Cover of Homecoming by Kate MortonHomecoming

by Kate Morton

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959

At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of a grand country house, a local man makes a terrible discovery. Police are called, and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most baffling murder investigations in the history of South Australia.

Many years later and thousands of miles away, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for nearly two decades, she now finds herself unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and is seriously ill in hospital.

At Nora’s house, Jess discovers a true crime book chronicling a long-buried police case: the Turner Family Tragedy of 1959. It is only when Jess skims through its pages that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this notorious event—a murder mystery that has never been satisfactorily resolved.

Discussion Guide

Close-up of Kate Morton sitting on a porch chair, with a dog next to her Author Biography

​Kate Morton is the award-winning, international bestselling author of seven novels: The House at Riverton (The Shifting Fog), The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper, The Lake House, The Clockmaker's Daughter and, most recently, Homecoming. Her books are published in 38 languages across 45 territories and have all been #1 bestsellers around the world. The House at Riverton was one of the most sucessful UK debuts of all time.  - Author's website

More Titles By This Author



It's Christmas 1959, and Isabel Turner is planning a picnic for her four children--Matilda, 15; John, 13; Evie, nine; and baby Thea--on the grounds of their estate, Halcyon, in southern Australia. Percy Summers happens upon the scene, but what he thought was a peaceful tableau was actually a nightmare. The four older Turners are all dead, and baby Thea is missing. In 2018, journalist Jess Turner-Bridges learns that her beloved grandmother, Nora, has taken a bad fall on the treacherous attic stairs, so she flies to Sydney. Nora is barely conscious in the hospital, talking nonsense like "don't let them take her away." Jess finds that Nora has been reading As If They Were Asleep, a true-crime book about the Turner case. And what was Nora doing in the attic after all these years? Morton's skill at the parallel-narrative style is on full display here as she alternates between the perspectives of various townsfolk in 1959, Jess in 2018, and excerpts from As If They Were Asleep. Readers will think they know the connection between the two story lines, but Morton keeps the secrets coming, leading up to a powerful, emotional conclusion. This is storytelling at its finest.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A new book from bestseller Morton is always a treat, and expect the true-crime angle to bring in even more readers.

Publisher's Weekly

Morton (The Clockmaker's Daughter) delivers an eerie epic involving a wealthy family's mysterious deaths in Adelaide Hills, South Australia. It's Christmas Eve 1959, and patriarch Thomas Turner is abroad on business, leaving behind his wife, Isabel, and their four children. One day, neighbor Percy Summers happens upon the family while riding his horse. At first, it appears they're resting on blankets after a swim, but upon closer inspection, he realizes they're dead and that baby Thea is missing from her basket. A painstaking investigation begins, and Percy is grilled by a detective who was brought in from out of town. Morton then cuts to 2018 as journalist Jess Turner leaves her London home to travel back to Adelaide after her grandmother, Nora, injures herself in a bad fall. At Nora's house, she finds an old book about the unresolved Turner deaths, which Jess never knew about, and discovers the family's connection to her own. Jess's gripping inquiry into what happened brings up staggering revelations. Along the way, there are beautiful descriptions of the region's landscape and canny insights into the neighborhood's tight-knit community. This is Morton's best yet. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Assoc. (Apr.)


A woman discovers that everything she knows about her family is a lie. When journalist Jess Turner-Bridges receives a call that her grandmother Nora is in the hospital following a fall, she leaves her chosen home of London and returns to Darling House in Sydney, Australia. Nora, who raised Jess for much of her childhood, suffered her fall when climbing to the attic. Jess is perplexed by this--what could her elderly grandmother have needed so badly that she couldn't wait for her home aide to help her?--and when she arrives at the hospital, her confusion is heightened by Nora's panicked utterances: "The pages," she says. "Help me....He's going to take her from me." Jess is determined to seek out answers to help comfort her grandmother, which leads her to find Nora's copy of a book called As If They Were Asleep by Daniel Miller. This journalistic work details the story of the shocking deaths in 1959 of Nora's sister-in-law Isabel and three of Isabel's children and the disappearance and presumed death of Isabel's baby. Jess knew nothing about the deaths--presumed to be murder-suicide--and while she does feel betrayed that her grandmother kept this from her, she immediately vows to do whatever it takes to learn more about her family. Morton weaves together Jess' sleuthing with segments of Daniel Miller's book along with flashbacks from 1959 and moments told from Jess' estranged mother Polly's perspective. At times Morton's pacing could use some tightening. And while mystery readers will likely figure out a big twist long before it's revealed, Morton's layered writing--realized most successfully in the scenes from the past--leaves surprises for even the keenest of detectives. A slow-paced novel that rewards patient readers. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Cover of Exiles by Jane HarperExiles
by Jane Harper

A mother disappears from a busy festival on a warm spring night.

Her baby lies alone in the pram, her mother's possessions surrounding her, waiting for a return which never comes.

A year later, Kim Gillespie's absence still casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather to welcome a new addition to the family.

Joining the celebrations on a rare break from work is federal investigator Aaron Falk, who begins to suspect that all is not as it seems.

As he looks into Kim's case, long-held secrets and resentments begin to come to the fore, secrets that show that her community is not as close as it appears.

Falk will have to tread carefully if he is to expose the dark fractures at its heart, but sometimes it takes an outsider to get to the truth...

Cover of The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant by Kayte NunnThe Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant
by Kayte Nunn

1951. Esther Durrant, a young mother, is committed to an isolated mental asylum by her husband. Run by a pioneering psychiatrist, the hospital is at first Esther’s prison but soon surprisingly becomes her refuge.

2018. Free-spirited marine scientist Rachel Parker embarks on a research posting in the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast. When a violent storm forces her to take shelter on a far-flung island, she discovers a collection of hidden love letters. Captivated by their passion and tenderness, Rachel determines to track down the intended recipient. But she has no idea of the far-reaching consequences her decision will bring.

Meanwhile, in London, Eve is helping her grandmother, a renowned mountaineer, write her memoirs. When she is contacted by Rachel, it sets in motion a chain of events that threatens to reveal secrets kept buried for more than sixty years.

Cover of The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen WhiteThe Lost Summers of Newport
by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

2019: Andie Figuero has just landed her dream job as a producer of Mansion Makeover, a popular reality show about restoring America’s most lavish historic houses. Andie has high hopes for her latest project: the once glorious but gently crumbling Sprague Hall in Newport, Rhode Island, summer resort of America’s gilded class—famous for the lavish “summer cottages” of Vanderbilts and Belmonts. But Andie runs into trouble: the reclusive heiress who still lives in the mansion, Lucia “Lucky” Sprague, will only allow the show to go forward on two conditions: One, nobody speaks to her. Two, nobody touches the mansion’s ruined boathouse.

1899: Ellen Daniels has been hired to give singing lessons to Miss Maybelle Sprague, a naive young Colorado mining heiress whose stepbrother John has poured their new money into buying a place among Newport’s elite. John is determined to see Maybelle married off to a fortune-hunting Italian prince, and Ellen is supposed to polish up the girl for her launch into society. But the deceptively demure Ellen has her own checkered past, and she’s hiding in plain sight at Sprague Hall.

1958: Lucia “Lucky” Sprague has always felt like an outsider at Sprague Hall. When she and her grandmother—the American-born Princess di Conti—fled Mussolini’s Italy, it seemed natural to go back to the imposing Newport house Nana owned but hadn’t seen since her marriage in 1899. Over the years, Lucky's lost her Italian accent and found a place for herself among the yachting set by marrying Stuyvesant Sprague, the alcoholic scion of her Sprague stepfamily. But one fateful night in the mansion’s old boathouse will uncover a devastating truth...and change everything she thought she knew about her past.

As the cameras roll on Mansion Makeover, the house begins to yield up the dark secrets the Spragues thought would stay hidden forever...