About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Straggler's Reef by Elaine Forrestal

Straggler's Reef
(Fremantle Arts Centre
Press, 1999)
Straggler's Reef is a complex story which is surprising for such a short book. There is the lost treasure, the ghost, the snippets of text from old Grella's family history book and the present tense shipwreck of Karri, her brother and their father on the reef, all of which are woven together to good effect.
     The story is a ficticious account of an actual shipwreck and treasure hunt off the coast of Western Australia in 1839. A chest of silver coins was allegedly lost at sea during this shipwreck. Elaine Forrestal has done well to provide a link between past and present by using the family history book. Karri and her brother are decendants of the Captain who organised the rescue of the striken craft. Legend of the lost treasure is part of their family lore, but the children never really believed the treasure existed until they meet the young girl Caroline, who is in fact a ghost.
    The Scottish accents are a 'wee' too overdone for my taste as I found myself re-reading chunks of the dialogue to get the full meaning. Perhaps some younger readers may have similar trouble.
   I found the story slow at first but when the ghost starts to interact with Karri the whole tale takes off at a cracking pace.
   The book is suitable for children in the 8-12 age bracket.

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